After a wonderful five month long summer, it is finally time to crack down and concentrate on my third/final year of University!

During the majority of my summer break I have been thinking long and hard about ideas for what to base my Degree Project on… I could paint flowers? I could build a sculpture? I could work with projection? I could  make something out of string? But I mean, who am I kidding?! Of course I’m going to concentrate on portraiture.

For as long as I remember, I have always loved the elderly. Their faces intrigue me. The lines on their faces that tell me a story. The bags under their eyes that show me how tiresome their life has been. The smile on their faces that show me how grateful they are about the smallest of things. Their rough hands that have been through years of working hard.

Over the past few years, I have found a great love towards drawing with biro pens, they make me feel more confident when it comes to producing art work. I like how I can’t rub out a mistake and I just have to work with what I am creating.

Recently, I came across Mark Powell’s work, he is an artist that merges 2 of my favourite things together – Drawing with biro pens and drawing the elderly. I have decided to begin my new sketch book for University with some artist research on Mark Powell and I am currently working on an artist study inspired by the artist himself.

Now that I have began working on some ideas and drawings within my sketchbook, it is time to begin challenging myself and start thinking about going larger scale with the sizes of my drawings. It’s time to climb out of my comfort zone.


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Most days whilst I’m working on a study, I often get asked ‘Why biro?’, and honestly? I’m not too sure. I’ve been drawing with biro pens for the last 5 years, and I find it utterly satisfying looking back on my drawings from a few years ago, and seeing how much I have improved. However, I still don’t really have an answer as to why I like drawing in a biro pen.

Its strange, isn’t it? How something so simple and an everyday object, can become something so special to me. I stock up on bic biro pens, so I know I will always have another waiting in line when I finish the ink in the pen I am using. I often get asked whether the pen gets blotchy of it leaks on me. No, no it doesn’t leak.. and of course they tend to go blotchy as you’re beginning to reach the end of the pen, and that’s when you decide whether or not to move onto the next pen, or whether to  dab the pen tip and hope for the best. Seeing a empty pen is ever so satisfying. It’s not often that someone, if anyone, manages to complete a pen, until the very last bit of ink is on your page; The pens tend to go missing, or you can never remember what pen you were previously using, so you grab whatever one is at the top of your pencil case.

I love how bold the blue ink makes my drawings look. Blue. Yes, always blue. Medium blue bic biro pen. I have tried drawing in other colours, black, red and green to be prescise. But there’s just something about the blue biro pen. I can get so many different shades and it captures the eye instantly with the bold colour.

Using biro pens to draw tends to shock people, they don’t expect me to draw with such a common object. People always assume I paint or draw with pencils, I love creating a piece of art out of something so simple and unexpected.


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I want to challenge myself. I need to stop sticking to the same frame of work and throw myself in the deep end. People just expect a certain style of art from me; They know what I’m going to produce, and they know that I’m just going to draw small detailed portraits using biro pen. Why is that so wrong? Should I be mixing up my art work more? Am I not allowed to have my own style? Am I not allowed to stick to using the same media? I’m not really sure. All I know is that I love working with biro pens, and people aren’t surprised by my art work anymore. I want to shock people. I want a positive reaction from people. I want people to gaze at my drawings in amazement.

This is why I am challenging myself to not only one, but two 6ft drawings. Yes, of course I am drawing them using biro pen, but I’m not drawing them A5 size… I’m drawing them 6ft! I want people to walk into a building and be able to see my drawings from the other side of the room. I want people to stand back and admire my drawings in awe and admiration. I want people to be able to see all of the time and effort that I put into my drawings. I have 7 months to produce these two portraits of my Dad. 7 months to show everyone that I CAN push myself. 7 months to astonish everyone. I like my style of art, and I am extremely proud of how far I have come since I first started drawing with biro pens 5 years ago, so why do people still want me to differentiate my artwork? Is becoming an artist about discovering your one love towards a particular media or style? Or is being an artist about forever experiencing new techniques and mixing up styles?

Am I even an artist?

I want to be my own person. I want to produce the style of art I want to produce. I want people to stop asking questions about my art and just look at it. I want people to stop telling me what I ‘should’ be doing differently. I will improve myself. I will become a better artist. I will show everyone that I can do better. I will draw larger. I will make people enjoy my art. I will work harder. I will draw for longer. I will spend more hours at University. I will complete these two portraits. I will show everyone I can work larger. I will challenge myself. I will graduate University with a Fine Art degree. I will succeed.


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