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Graphite Imaginings

artist n. 1. one who is skilled in any of the fine arts, especially painting, sculpture, etc. 2. one who does anything very well

Once upon a time I wanted to be a great many things (a Chemist was strangely not one of them). Of those possible careers, my longtime favorite was an artist. I have been drawing since I learned the joy of holding a writing utensil in my hand, but only recently have those drawings actually become something I am completely pleased with. I find it rather ironic that I do my best work with mechanical pencils on Enterprise Rent-A-Car notepads in my college dorm room, instead of with drawing pencils on actual sketchpads in expensive art classes. Not that I'm complaining!

Please be patient -- the images have a tendency to load slowly, but I at least like to think that they're worth the wait! This page is also best viewed in a resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels or higher, since that's what I used in creating it and lower resolution will make the pictures overlap the text. Enjoy!






Hobbit boys

Here we have the tiny sketch that started it all. It was a quiet October afternoon, I was bored, Steve was asking to scan one of his drawings... and suddenly an idea occurred to me. Why not take up my old habit and draw a picture of my own? I glanced about the general area for inspiration before my eyes alighted on the picture that graced my computer desktop. It was an image of the four hobbits from The Fellowship of the Ring, huddled fearfully together on Weathertop as the terrible Ringwraiths were approaching. Grabbing my drawing pencils, eraser, and a sticky note, I proceded to sketch. 62 minutes later I had finished, as determined from the timestamp feature on the AIM conversation that I continued to have while I drew. It was a major turning point in my life: the first time I'd ever managed to get a sketch to look remotely like the actual person (or hobbit) it was modeled after.

Caspian of Narnia

"...a golden-headed boy some years older than herself. 'Ca--Ca--Caspian,' gasped Lucy, as soon as she had breath enough. For Caspian it was, Caspian the boy king of Narnia with his cheerful smile."

Yes, dear old Caspian of C.S. Lewis' famous Chronicles of Narnia was the character I tackled next. I had been re-reading the books at home, as well as watching the movies. It was there that I noticed Caspian, in the film version of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Feeling "sketchy," I dug up a photograph of the actor on the Internet and proceded to transform him back into the young king I knew and loved. My efforts were so successful that I scanned the final product and used photo-editing software to paste a dim copy of the original on top of my sketch. The match was amazingly perfect, so I kept it and did a bit more tweaking. The result is what you see here.

Aragorn, son of Arathorn

"'...a Man, lean, dark, tall, by some called Strider. Make sure that it is the real Strider. His true name is Aragorn.'

'But I am the real Strider, fortunately,' he said, looking down at them with his face softened by a sudden smile. 'I am Aragorn son of Arathorn; and if by life or by death I can save you, I will.'"

Ohh! That gives me the shivers every time I read it. I think Aragorn is my favorite character in the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy. He grows up among the elves, falls in love with a seemingly unattainable girl (Arwen), goes out into the wilderness to spend nearly forty years in exile (which entails defending ungrateful people from the terrors of Mordor), before finally claiming his rightful place as the heir to the throne of Gondor. What a King!

Liv Tyler as Arwen at Cerin Amroth

"But Arwen went forth from the House, and the light of her eyes was quenched, and it seemed to her people that she had become cold and gray as nightfall in winter that comes without a star. At last, when the mallorn-leaves were falling, but spring had not yet come, she laid herself to rest upon Cerin Amroth; and there is her green grave, until the world is changed, and all the days of her life are utterly forgotten by men that come after, and elanor and niphredil bloom no more east of the Sea."

I found this movie still online, and, liking both the image and the story it portrays, I decided to try my hand at it.

Me!

I've tried the challenging art of self-portraiture in the past, but I've certainly never had much luck. It takes a considerable amount of skill to be able to see yourself, figure out exactly what it is about you (physically) that makes you uniquely you, and then hang onto it long enough to transfer it to paper. Elated by my recent successes, I decided to give it another try. I found a photograph of myself in my backyard, arrayed in my gorgeous periwinkle blue Jr. Prom gown (three cheers for the great seamstress mom!) and evidently feeling quite photogenic. This was the perfect thing to start from. I snatched up my chosen drawing paper (an Enterprise Rent-a-Car notepad) and began to sketch. I had it almost finished when I realized that the proportions were a tad off, necessitating the reworking of the entire thing. I stubbornly persisted until I was satisfied with it.

Jo and Laurie

"Both peeped and criticized and chatted, till they felt like old acquaintences. Laurie's bashfulness soon wore off; for Jo's gentlemanly demeanour amused and set him at his ease, and Jo was her merry self again, because her dress was forgotten and nobody lifted their eyebrows at her. She liked the 'Laurence boy' better than ever..."

Dear, sweet, crazy Jo March, heroine of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women -- and my fictional twin. She loves acting out her own plays, riding horses, reading books in apple trees, and staying up half the night to pour her soul out on paper; plus, she's a tall brunette and has her birthday in November. It's almost uncanny!

Legolas, Elven archer

"Legolas laid down his paddle and took up the bow that he had brought from Lorien. Frodo looked up at the Elf standing tall above him, as he gazed into the night, seeking a mark to shoot at. His head was dark, crowned with sharp white stars that glittered in the black pools of the sky beyond. Stringing the bow and fitting an arrow he turned, peering back over the River into the darkness. Even as he did so, a dark shape, like a cloud and yet not a cloud, for it moved far more swiftly, came our of the blackness in the south, and sped towards the Company, blotting out all light as it approached. Soon it appeared as a great winged creature, blacker than the pits of night. Suddenly the great bow of Lorien sang. Shrill went the arrow from the elven-string. There was a harsh croaking scream, as the winged shape swerved and fell out of the air, vanishing down into the gloom of the eastern shore."

This one is dedicated to Erin, the great Eldamelda

Narnian Dryad

"Lucy's eyes began to grow accustomed to the light, and she saw the trees that were nearest to her more distinctly. A great longing for the old days when the trees could talk in Narnia came over her. She knew exactly how each of these trees would talk if only she could wake them, and what sort of human form it would put on. She looked at a silver birch: it would have a soft, showery voice and would look like a slender girl, with hair blown all about her face, and fond of dancing..."

Prima Ballerina

I suffered a long bout of artist's block (hey, writers have it, so why can't artists? methinks it has the same sort of cause) after the completion of the Dryad sketch... perhaps I became too tree-like myself and slowed time, or perhaps I just got too caught up in studying for O Chem. At any rate, I drew nothing from the end of January 'til the middle of June. It was then that a flyer arrived in the mail from the Orange County Performing Arts Center -- we had apparently gotten on their mailing list, and now they felt it was their duty to inform us of any upcoming events, not realizing that we had no interest in such things. Luckily for me, they placed one of their best pictures on the front cover. A photograph of a pirouetting ballerina caught my eye and served as a nice antedote to my artist's block. Within a week I was sketching again, producing my finest work so far.

"Scope for the Imagination"

"It was Anne's idea that they dramatize Elaine. They had studied Tennyson's poem in the school the preceding winter, the Superintendent of Education having prescribed it in the English course for the Prince Edward Island schools. They had analyzed and parsed it and torn it to pieces in general until it was a wonder that there was any meaning at all left in it for them, but at least the fair lily maid and Launcelot and Guinevere and King Arthur had become very real people to them, and Anne was devoured by a secret regret that she had not been born in Camelot. Those days, she said, were so much more romantic than the present."

Anne Shirley of Green Gable's, L.M. Montgomery's famous verbose, redhaired orphan, is just another of my fictional twins... and was thus deemed deserving of a sketch of her own.

Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy

"But no sooner had he made it clear to himself and his friends that she had hardly a good feature in her face, than he began to find that it was rendered uncommonly intelligent by the beautiful expression of her dark eyes. To this discovery succeeded some others equally mortifying. Though he had detected with a critical eye more than one failure of symmetry in her form, he was forced to acknowledge her figure to be light and pleasing; and in spite of his asserting that her manners were not those of the fashionable world, he was caught by their easy playfulness. Of this she was perfectly unaware; to her he was only the man who made himself agreeable nowhere, and who had not thought her handsome enough to dance with."

Elizabeth Bennet, heroine of Jane Austen's epic Pride and Prejudice, is the latest of my fictional twins that I've sketched. Love that book! (and the movie)

Arwen at Cerin Amroth

TheOneRing.net hosted its second annual Tolkien Fan Art Contest... and, as I am both an avid reader of all things Tolkien as well as an aspiring artist, I jumped at the chance to create something worthy of an entry. Yes, add another "Arwen" sketch to my repertoire... the first was simply a copy of Liv Tyler in the film, whereas this one is the Arwen that I saw in my mind's eye as I read. Can you tell which one I prefer? *grin* I am proud to say that it found its source completely in my imagination (plus an inspection or two of my arm in the mirror). I am thoroughly satisfied with the result, in spite of the fact that it didn't win a prize.

Here we have our Elven queen at the end of her days, lying tranquilly on the green grass of Cerin Amroth as she takes the final journey in the path of the mortal life she has chosen.

Headphone Baby

This little awe-struck bundle of joy was the little daughter of my mother's kindergarten aide last year. Isn't she cute? She came to class along with the 5 and 6 year-olds, and loved to listen to music or stories on tape with a borrowed pair of headphones, albeit large ones. Her adorable reaction of wonder was caught on film, drool included, and I decided to try my hand at drawing it. The result is my first satisfactory baby sketch.

Janay

After a long break (mid-August through late November), I escaped artist's block while I was looking at some of Leonardo da Vinci's work for a presentation for my art class. Viewing such finely executed drawings got me in a very sketchish mood... so I plunked myself down on the couch with a clipboard full of computer paper with no immediate goal in mind. Somehow an idea of doing eye studies turned into a full head portrait of my compliant roommate, who was working on a paper at her computer and thus holding still enough to pose with ease. Half an hour later, I presented her with this, which she promptly confiscated and displayed beneath the clear plastic of her binder cover. I'm certainly no da Vinci, but I would like to think that my artistic skills are improving -- it actually looks quite a bit like her, and I did it in less time than all the others!




Wisefoolishness | Heart Spoken | Lens Flair | Horse-Shaped | Words Underlined
This page last updated at 12:44 a.m., December 2, 2002
Copyright 2002, A.J.S. All Rights Reserved.