Myself in fineliner

Myself in fineliner

When I was on a drawing class in Croatia more than five years ago, I've somehow discovered the hatching technique I call "hectic wiggly marks". I've employed it while drawing a cast torso, out of disregard to the preciousness of the form, and quickly fell in love with it because I could relax about my next mark. It is an almost uninterrupted, but hardly intentional kind of mark making. The gist of it is building up tone in areas to create a form in front of you.

I am failing in finding whether the technique has a name, let alone a tradition, but I did come upon a self-trained artist called Hom Nguyen who creates gorgeous drawing in a similar technique. Seon Glib also does little sketches in a similar style, but they are truly an uninterrupted line with an astounding level of intentional mark-making.

I wanted to draw a portrait like this with a fineliner, so the marks would be more obvious that they were in my portrait of M. Since I started working on it while traveling, and at night, I opted for the first and only time so far for an old selfie photo. Usually I intentionally take photos, people pose for sketches and so on, but this time I was in an experimental mode and I just went for it without much expectation.

I first opened the chosen photo in Procreate on my iPad, reduced opacity and started wiggling my way with the pen on a layer above it. I liked where this was going so I again, without much intention, quickly finished the shoulders and pulled out an A3 paper to start working on the drawing.

I was in Toronto at the time, and bought three Micron pens for this purpose: 2, 0.8 and 0.05. I vaguely sketched out outlines of the form and took the medium pen to start with the face shape.

Working like this covers areas quite quickly, so I learned I should slow down before i filled up the face too much. I switched to a smaller tip and changed my marks into vertical, large swaths to outline the hair shape. Then I started with the clouds and found I needed to change marks to differentiate from the sky.

As I worked on this one, I've enjoyed the squiggly marks a little too much and came to the realisation I've almost completely covered the highlights of the face, leaving it in a complete shadow as a result.

Weeks passed working on my other projects, and I decided go back to this one and redo it. This time I used my Staedtler fine liners, as they give out a less rich black, and I figured the buildup will be slower. I've also allocated the highlight shapes and wouldn't go over them.

When i showed the work like this to my mentor, Jake Spicer, he noted that maybe this time the highlights were a little too clear, perhaps, and that I should perhaps consider "blending" them in. My Foundation OCA mentor, Rachel Forster noted that she loved the messy shoulder of the digital sketch so i repeated the technique for this one.

Everything combined together, I ended up employing a variety of marks and different felt tip sizes. I am eager to try out different styles with these so I will definitely keep an eye out for more inspiration from other artists.


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