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How to draw people who aren’t there!

As often happens in life, with my batch theory of things happening together, and also don’t happen together, I realise as I write this that I have actually had the same request from two different men this week. Neither are connected in the slightest. Both of them I have done artwork for in the last couple of years, and both are asking me to draw something that will certainly be a challenge.

Of course, as an artist I am used to leaving things out of paintings from the reality of what’s infront of me – for instance if its a street scene of a pretty village I will remove dustbins, TV aerials, cars, yellow lines, and For Sale boards because their removal makes the picture far better, far more appealing and delightful to look at.

And occasionally I will add things to enhance a painting… but not usually to this degree…

The first guy who contacted me this week I have drawn before, from life, on his own, and just drew what was infront of me during the sitting. Since then he has asked if I know of  various women who would pose with him doing specific things (of a non sexual nature before you presume!) and I have told him that I don’t. Infact it has intrigued me why he seems to want the experience of posing in a position that will probably be uncomfortable for a few hours, when I have offered to draw the women in, as if they were there, so that he would imagine when he looked at the picture that they had been there. His reply was that he wanted to remember the reality of doing it, not imagine that he had done it. As someone who is used to drawing images for people to imagine what happened next, whether its erotic, or a landscape of what is around the corner, I found his answer intriguing.

But, to follow on from that, he has since come to the conclusion that he can actually have the woman he wants within the painting, looking however he chooses her to look, and I can draw her in to fit his instructions. For me, that makes far more sense. She will exist on paper, if not in reality. Because, and this is the whole point I think, if I had found a woman who would pose in the way he wanted her to, he may have found her unappealing. Surely that matters hugely to the end result I would think?

Man of mystery

The second guy who contacted me rang to discuss his ideas. I have done some drawings before, of his wife, and again the request was for another drawing of her. Ok, yes, no problem. He said that I might not say that when he told me what it was of. I smiled and said its not often that I am flummoxed by a commissioned piece of artwork for a client. He described that she would be virtually naked, and described the pose she would be in. Ok, yes, I can do that for you I said, obviously working from photos. But, there would be  a second person within the drawing who would be interacting with her, and this second person was quite specific in looks, and age, and body type. Okay I said, making notes, and did he have a photo of this person? No, he didn’t. Ok, so you want me to draw someone who doesn’t exist, in a certain position, doing something specific to your wife in the drawing? Yes, that was it.

Okay, I said, I think I can do that…..  after all I did this “Man of mystery” painting last year for another guy who wasn’t sitting on this red leather sofa, or wearing the red and gold venetian mask when I painted him..!

Its going to be an interesting one !

As is the first picture…. !

I’ve got to draw four people, and two of them don’t exist, at all!



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