This graphite pencil drawing ‘Louise Brooks – 12-07-23’ is something different. That is, compared to the previous one. Up to now I used only regular reference pictures of her. There are thousand to be found on the internet. Then I saw a still from a movie and I was fascinated my the hefty play of light and dark. Just right up my alley I’d say. What I also liked was the open mouth. In all pictures of her you’d see the pouty closed lips and bobcut making up for that iconic look. This screen shot I used for the current drawing still resembles her but also reveals a tender side. Next to this, there were lots of little planes of dark and light I could employ as cubist abstractions.
There were some hurdles to take though. The shot was taken from her movie Pandora’s Box. There was this kind of feathery umbrella attached to her hair at the back of her head. It looked very ‘off’ and in my mind I already saw people would be confused by it. So I reconstructed that side of her head a bit. Then there was the issue of the thumb. In the photo it looked confusingly short. Evidentially the foreshortening would not ever look convincing, even though copied correctly. As if she was missing the tip. Therefor I used my own and drew it a bit more credible. The light reflected on her front tooth is lovely but made her a bit of an odd-looking pirate. We have Madonna for that. That’s why I made it a bit darker.
In many occasions reference pictures can be very deceptive. I always tell my students photos are the least worst thing next to the real thing. Unfortunately Louise came from another era and can’t sit for me anymore. That would be something! I’d tell her about her cubist qualities. How I wanted to incorporate contrasts between soft and hard edges, lines and planes. You can see the result in this drawing. Of course I’d tell her also other things but these I keep to myself (and her).
Graphite pencil (Faber Castell Pitt Graphite Matt pencil 14B) drawing on Fabriano Ingres paper (21 x 29.7 x 0.1 cm)
Artist: Corné Akkers
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