Atelier drawings – portrait 1, ‘Jamaal’

This felt very much like jumping in at the deep end despite completing the run-up exercises. I find blocking-in quite tricky with the examples hard to transfer to new material; too many lines seem to scramble my brain and I lose the ends of them and their position in space. Maybe practice will improve that but for now I have used some of the guiding instructions alongside my own more intuitive grasp of shape and position. The result is a portrait of a passable woman who should actually be a young man. In my defence, the small drawing above mine, illustrating the blocking-in technique look to me more girl than boy, but still, not quite what I was aiming for.


I used graphite powder, graphite pencil (8B), 7B ordinary pencil, putty rubber, Derwent eraser, and a spot of white conte. The original is as given in the text above:  ‘Jamal’ by Colleen Barry, 2014. In this, Jamal has a quiet assured dignity, looking slightly down at the observer, while here my ‘Jamala’ looks less self assured, slightly worried, and not really looking at the observer at all.

This is the most complex copy I’ve ever done as copying has not been part of my practice, and so it still feels like quite an achievement.

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