Louise Byng is an enthusiastic advocate of intuitive mark making, which clearly comes through in her pencil portraits.
Movement and energy in the dashes and shading really make the faces jump off the page.
As she describes below, an importance is given to expressing her own reaction to the subject as much as accurately depicting what is in front of her. Maybe this comes from her love of drawing as documenting, visually recording thoughts and ideas. Bringing the same mixture of expression and portrayal from her journals into her finished work is what seems to make them so engaging.
Louise talks about this and more as describes how not only what she uses to draw but the way in which she draws is important.
Drawing is a big part of my life, as a means of communicating, learning, planning and remembering things.
I love working with pencils as they allow me to ‘feel’ my way around the page and make marks in a very expressive way. At the start of any new drawing, I find myself feeling quite tentative, faced with the blaring blankness of a new page, but smudgy pencils and vibrant pencil crayons soon make these worries fade away and I start to have a lot of fun.
The materials I use have remained similar to when I was younger and I like to be resourceful and stay imaginative by surrounding myself with crafty apparatus for making as a form of play.
A hands-on approach of cutting out shapes from paper or using masking tape and marker pens to make maquettes and try out compositions gets my creative juices flowing and maintains a sense of curiosity when creating. Sometimes, the simplest tools open up the most explorative form of thinking.
A lover of reportage, I try to take a journal or sketchbook with me and love recording what I see in a combination of note-taking and sketches. To achieve the level of detail I want in my illustrations, I also take a lot of photographs to draw from. I would compare this to stopping time, and I enjoy transporting these moments home with me to recreate them in my own way back at my desk.
Having developed a recent interest in portraiture, I have also turned my hand to existing imagery, enjoying putting my own stamp on something recognisable.
Scanning my drawings and adjusting them on Photoshop is now an essential part of my illustration process as it allows me to reproduce them and share them on the web, but I always want to respect the physical process of making a drawing, not just the final outcome.
This amalgamates through the aesthetic of my work remaining tactile and intuitive, almost looking as if it is ‘unfinished’ at times, and my work is laced with a desire to make something of quality or traditional value in an increasingly consumerist culture.
By embracing the value of idiosyncratic marks on paper rather than striving to achieve perfection, I also hope to encourage others to give drawing a go!
© Louise Byng, 2013