Monday, March 07, 2011

Drawing Craig

We're coming up on the second anniversary of Craig's passing. I had the idea, a while back, that I'd like to draw a picture of him for his wife Shellee, but it took me a long time to get it done.  (A lot of my ideas are like this.  I'm full of ideas--less full of actually doing.  I admire people who are good at Getting Things Done!)

I started the drawing almost a year ago. Back in May of last year, I was asked to give the Young Women (at church) a drawing lesson for their weekly activity. I thought this would be a great time to start on my drawing of Craig. I could show them how to do a graphite transfer tracing, and how to draw eyes.

Step one: print out two copies of the photo. Scribble all over the back of one copy with a dark pencil, making sure to cover the whole area that you'll be tracing.

Step two: tape printout, pencil side down, onto your drawing paper. I do have some drafting tape but it's hard to find these days. You can also take some regular masking tape and stick it to your clothes a few times to get it fuzzy. The idea is to have tape that will come off without tearing the paper. (I suppose you could use temporary Hermafix or something like that, too.)

Step three: trace over all the outlines on the photo, making sure not to shift the paper. I generally use a mechanical pencil for this part. If you can, try not to press too hard because you'll make grooves in your paper that can affect the drawing.

Step four: remove printout. You now have all the outlines of the photo transferred to your drawing paper, and all you have to do is fill in the shading.

(That's the tricky part, of course!)

I got the drawing partly done, and then didn't touch it for months. Then I saw that there was going to be an art show at the church. (Motivation!) The submission deadline was two weeks before the show, so I finished it up enough to look presentable, took a picture to submit (and got accepted), and then I had two more weeks to really finish.

When I draw, Doug is my consultant. He's got a good eye for this sort of thing. After I've been staring at something for hours (or days), sometimes he can see something that I haven't noticed. So I'm used to giving him a how-does-this-look a few times, when I'm finishing up a drawing. This one was a little unusual, being his brother. Not just "Does this shading look right to you?" but "Is this Craig? Did I get him?" Kind of a different experience.

We got the drawing packed up and mailed last week. In the end, I think two years was just right for something like this. A friend on Two Peas said, "The first year as a widow is such a fog, the second year is when you begin to feel all the real anniversaries and the third year is usually is when you can begin to breathe again." I know Craig's family still misses him terribly.


Heather T. said...


Jackietex said...

I saw it on 2Peas. It really is beautiful and a wonderful gift.

scrapper al said...

This is a beautiful gift.

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness! It's gorgeous. What a sweet, personal gift that will mean so much to them. You're so talented!

Kim Jensen said...

So beautifully done, and such a lovely gift.

Denise said...

it is breathtaking helena. was a thoughtful momento.

When we lost our baby, my brother in law had a drawing made for us...and it is very dear.

Barbie said...

I shouldn't read stuff like that last paragraph when I'm pregnant.

Beautiful, as always. I'm impressed at how real your drawings look, you truly have a gift, and not just of taking infinite pains. One of these days I need to get you to do one for us, but for a very different reason.

Helen in Australia said...

That is truly wonderful.

Master Tang said...

I never knew how to do a transfer like that. super neat. The picture is awesome! Craig would be proud!
Brian (Yeah me)

Kathey said...

Helena, this is so very lovely. I'm glad you were able to do it for them. It was also a great explanation.

Wingnut said...

I already knew you did amazing work, but this blew me away. And has me in tears too. What a fabulously touching memorial to a man who obviously meant a lot to the ones he love.

TaniaJPS said...

You really are a TRUE talent and artist.