Chinese Terracotta Warriors

January 8, 2011

On Thursday night after work, I went off to Newtown Art Supplies and scored some Sakura Pigma pens 0.03, 0.05 and 0.08 and some Warm Grey COPIC markers to help me move off my dependency on pencils. Rather too hot after a working week to work plein air today and weekends are traditionally times for portraits and the figure for me. I usually comb the weekend Sydney Morning Herald for interesting visuals and today came upon a large publicity photo for the AGNSW exhibition currently of Chiense terracotta warriors. Did a detailed Derwent H pencil background and tugging furiously against an Innate Desire to throw in tonal contrast, picked up the Sakura Micron and went to work. I normally associated this whimsical character of line with David Hockney but I thought it would work in this case. Amazingly nothing was affected when I rubbed out the pencil background; it bears quite some resemblance to Pen & Ink to my surprise! My first all-pen drawing in ages, perhaps decades. Drawing on-site at the gallery would have been impossible.

Continued the idea for a two-page spread, but in contrasting style. A different style of Warrior – the only example from this Chinese-printed catalogue showing the pre-existing coloured clay overlay on the Warriors, which instantly called for coloured Conte-type pencils. All of my 12 Lyra Skin Tones got a go, over a graphite pencil underdrawing: used in a painterly style rather than a cross-hatching or tonal pencil style.  Would have worked visually better on a coloured paper background. Not totally unhappy with three-quarter head but know it can and will improve with more practice.

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