Technical Tuesdays – Woman with long hair shopping on The Shambles, York (II)

By 10 March 2020October 25th, 2020No Comments

Graphite drawing of woman with long hair shopping on the Shambles in York in winter

Final one of these for a minute, rounding off a short revival of my 2016 graphite works.

Even in the years that have followed, I maintain that this “Street Photo” series is the most challenging project I’ve done so far. Around 2013 I read about a chap called Paul Cadden (juuuust look him up), and I was hooked, everafter trying to cram more and more detail into smaller spaces.

Time to take a dive.

Trying to recreate evidence of “ghosting” (middle left of main image), a photographic artefact I’m not even sure how to define, but which causes semi-transparency in some objects, and I think happened here. This was part of my whole deal; recreate everything I see, including photographic faults. It’s a big nod to an entirely different sport.

A little more faffing required with background faces than anything else. I remember having to be very careful with this fella. One smudge in the wrong direction, and this wouldn’t have looked like a person at all. More like your nightmare of a person.

Building jazz. Narrow facades to chip my interpretation into. Shiny windows or reflective fascia etc needed 2B laid on thick, resulting in smooth, shiny glare. Just like reality.

Hair, a job kind of destroyed by the embossing tool. I was really keen for neg hairs to stand out, but this was a bit of a hack’s job. I’d like to try hair again now with graphite, see if I can take a more mature and patient angle with it.

Oh you bugger. I couldn’t quite get over how long this took. No use trying the Tombow erasor on the jacket’s 8B pencil, so it was a case of drawing round many of the hair shapes. Wear a different bloody coat, Caroline!

Finally, my favourite bit. I had such little space to get in the details, and it would have made or broken the piece. A few little telling lines and shapes, hopefully coming out wife-like. Probably my proudest moment, as it turned out – a mystifying flash of her beauty. That’s her!

A great way to end the series, and a very happy chap I was.

Graphite drawing of woman with long hair shopping on the Shambles in York in winter


This piece is still for sale (original and print), with £5 per print sent directly to the Yemen Crisis Appeal.

Noted: I’ve still to reach Cadden’s dizzying levels of competence, and may well never get there (especially when I decide to take a full 12 months away from the medium), but this was a formative, deliberate series of work which set a decent standard to try and live by.

Masters in monochrome to note – Kelvin Okafor, Paul Cadden, Emanuele Dascanio, Charlotte Vovan, Dylan Eakin, Dirk Dzimirsky, Arinze Stanley, Diego Fazio, Cath Riley. I’ll always look up to these people!

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