In 2005 I began art classes with Kathy through the Warren Fine Arts Center (WFAC). It was really more of a workshop where a group of people met once a week to chat and work on their art. Kathy was our mentor, guiding us through our own personal journey. Some worked in pen and ink while others worked with pastels. I had no experience with the latter, so I stuck with something familiar.

As a new mom, I wanted to do a portrait of my baby. I fished out one of my very favorite photos of Dylan at 8 months. It was taken when we were on a mini vacation up north with my mom. Dylan was playing in his saucer and smiling for the camera.

12″x14″ Pen & Ink on Bristol Board Adapted from Personal Photograph

The first step was to blow-up the image to the desired size and lightly transfer it to the bristol board with graphite. Next, I carefully outlined the shadows and highlights. I started by stippling the eyes. As Kathy taught us, the eyes are the most important part in a portrait. If you get those right, then you’ve captured the person’s essence. And if you don’t, you haven’t wasted hours of work. From there it was a matter of focusing on the shapes formed by the shadows and highlights rather than thinking about the actual part of the body. After the dots were all applied, I used very straight thin lines to convey his hair.

Dot…dot…dot…