Working Large on Smaller Pages, and That Amazing Nineteenth Century Hair

January 24, 2014


Above: Parallel Pen sketch from a 19th century photo. I started as I typically do with the right eye (on my left as I look down) and when I started with the first stroke I knew the other eye would fall in the gutter. But at least I eeked out one full side wing of hair. (5.5 x 8 inch softbound Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media journal.)

I think I might have said everything I needed to say about this image in the caption. I wrote about working in this smaller-sized commercially bound journal on Wednesday.

OK, two more obvious things.

It's been very cold here in Minnesota the past few weeks. I haven't been able to get over to Como Zoo and sketch the animals. (With 20 below zero temps, and stiff winds, I think I might freeze just walking from my parked car to the entrance! And before you think I'm totally nuts for going to a zoo in the winter whatever the temperature, I'll just tell you that there are many indoor exhibit spaces that are actually quite warm.)

Instead of zoo trips, however, sketching from a collection of 19th century photos has been a way to distract my mind from the cold.

It always amazes me that without "modern" hairsprays the women can get their hair piled up so high and wide on their heads. It's a mystery to me.

The other thing I want to say about this sketch is that while there are bits about it that I'm not fond of (like the eye placement) I'm absolutely thrilled with the negative space, particularly that narrow bit on the recto page that wraps up and around the hair and promises the eye so much more, in that zone off the page where we can't see, but where our eye and brain in unison tell us reality exists. Reality. 

Have fun cropping your sketches this weekend—play with negative space. Find models past and present with wonderful hair!

    • Miss T
    • January 24, 2014

    Roz, this is how they did it:

  1. Reply

    Miss T, thank you for sending this to me. It’s amazing. I guess if I’d thought about it I would have realized it was something like this. And now I know what all those “rat dishes” are I keep seeing in collectibles shops!

    • Karen
    • January 24, 2014

    I’ve wondered about this for a long time, too! The rolled up hair, yes, but mostly that dish and its cover with the hole in it! Mystery solved. My grandmother must have used rats.

    • Karen
    • January 24, 2014

    btw, I love what you’re doing with the parallel pen!

    • Miss T
    • January 24, 2014

    Ditto what Karen said about the pen. It looks like fun!

  2. Reply

    Karen, I love it, now we all know what those dishes with the holes in them were for.

  3. Reply

    Thanks Karen, it has been a sort of subtractive process, letting go of the marks I can make with the PPBP or the calligraphy tip from F-C.

  4. Reply

    Thanks Miss T. I have to stop short of calling it fun because making the pen do this is akin to nails on a blackboard, not the happy feel of using a good pen on good paper that I’m used to. But the process is fun and some of the results are turning out spooky weird. It’s easier to do it with birds because the editing is easier.

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