cubist portrait graphite pencil drawing
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Louise Brooks – 11-10-22 (sold)

A Great Honor

Enter my graphite pencil drawing ‘Louise Brooks – 11-10-22’. After an interlude of two drawings of my regular model and a nude it was time for something different. Some time ago a progressive rock band called Timelock reissued their 1992 album, named after her and using my oil. Together we were noticed by the Louise Brooks Society and featured in their blogspot. A great honor and a reminder of art works I made 8 years ago. Strangely and perhaps coincidentally Louise was the start of my Sans Titre series. After the conclusion of the Darja Collin series I thought it was fun to do another drawing of Louise. Why not?


The internet is stacked with pictures of her, making her timelessly iconic. Throughout the decades she apparently doesn’t lose meaningfullness and her life story keeps on inspiring us. It’s the longing for freedom and the struggle to get it, I guess. Perhaps it’s about women entering modern times as we know them now. Equally endowed with the same rights as men, still remembering the struggle and occasionally hitting an invisible roof. Surely the struggle is not over yet, so Louise still remains important. She stands for true woke, not the phoney self-endulged navel-gazers who confuse the search for freedom with sheer egocentrism. Enough about the negative, now the positive. Because of her bob hair cut she looks a bit boyish, yet so female at the same time.

Smashing Array of Tonal Values

There you have it, so many images of her. Which one should I select for a drawing? Finally I picked out one that caught my eye almost immediately. Naturally that would be one with a smashing array of tonal values. I had it in my mind to draw her not so obviously as an enthusiast would love to depict her. Instead I chose to render her portrait in subdued values, focusing on the glittering silverish jacket. At the same time I wanted to introduce colored pencil to the Fabriano Ingres paper. See how they communicate. I like the texture of Ingres in this particular case by the way. It gives expression to the ribbed appearance of the jacket. I would not have known how to mimic it on Bristol paper.

Natalie Wood

Then I remembered ‘Sans Titre – 06-10-16’ featuring Natalie Wood. It was done in colorful red and black swirls. However, soon I discovered the subdueness of the tonal values didn’t allow such spectacular geometrical patterns. I only slightly indicated some geometrics and focused on the relation between the soft skin gradients in contrast to the shiny garment. It also sets her to the back of the depiction, living up to her reputation of being an enigma. Unlike Darja it took quite a while to capture her facial resemblance. A lot of erasing about and putting back lines again. Whew!

Click here to read about the sale of this art work to a German collector.

Pitt Graphite Matt pencil (Faber-Castell) drawing on Fabriano Ingres paper (28.2 x 21 x 0.1 cm)

Artist: Corné Akkers

Sales info: