Taken from the first chapter to my book:
Collector's Edition Pencil Drawings - A look into the art of David J. Vanderpool
Standing at a distance and looking into the eyes of the couple displayed before you, it’s easy to want to question how much of the artist was put into that piece, what motivated him to create such beauty, and why was this subject chosen over another? However doing so, we often over look the beauty and subject for what it is - art.
Art isn’t always about who the artist is but rather who catches his attention at the moment. No hidden messages. Nothing to reveal to the world in regard to secrets or unspoken desires. Just art, for the sake of art.
Just a drawing for the sake of taking on a challenge of duplicating what God had already blessed us with.
Well - just a drawing most of the time.
Hidden messages or bold statements can and often are found in today’s pop culture art, as the artist uses his skills to express himself. However, in a more classic or traditional form of art, the sole purpose can be as simple as just trying to capture the beauty around him.
Traditional art, or classical revival pieces, are rare in today’s art scene as art galleries focus on nearly mass produced pieces and those they can easily sell without having to educate the public.
Not to hold or say anything against such art galleries and those who favor modern or contemporary art, but as explained to me by an art gallery in London; a gallery will sell a painting at a higher margin than a drawing because of the time put into a painting can be, and often is, far less than the time put into a drawing.
Therefore, as an artist, one must make a choice; to create for himself and focus on the overall quality of his work with the hope it becomes an heirloom for the generations to come, or create to meet the demands of the current market.
I suppose this statement could easily explain what separates commercial artists from fine art artists, and why taking on commissioned assignments are not for every one.
No matter the creative level an artists is at, or the reason behind what motivates him, without passion for what he does the desire to improve and the over all quality will become a challenge that will either make the piece or break the artist.
My drawings have evolved and changed through the years - they had to! For without growth and learning from ourselves, what is the point in doing what we do?
And of course - life and the circumstance put before us effects the outcome to what we do, how well we do, and whether or not we allow it to tear us down or turn that obstacle into a challenge that makes it work for us.
Fine examples of adapting to ones circumstance are the four drawings seen in the first eleven pages of this book. The drawings of “Garrett”, “Courting”, and “Kevin - Repose” were all drawn on 25” x 18” Bristol paper. “Rodeo”, was a smaller piece on the same type of paper, at 15” x 11”.
A paper I had never used, but had waited several years to try my hand at.
Why the need to change?
As a diabetic, and dealing with it’s effects, I was diagnosed in April of 2012 with the early stages of Diabetic Neuropathy, Diabetic Retinopathy, and Posterior Subscapular Cataract. This explained why it was becoming harder to see and capture the detail I had become known for.
And yes - the first thing to come to mind was, “Oh great, I get my hearing restored in time to go blind!”
Then it really hit me! If I don’t take this serious and work at getting rid of this curse I had inherited from my mother’s family, not only will it kill me, but far worse - it will prevent me from drawing!
The use of Bristol paper came highly recommended from an artist friend by the name of Cory Wilaby. Not only had he been the subject of a few of my earlier drawings, but a fine pencil artist in his own right.
With this paper I was able to enhance my drawing skills, since I draw with all lines and never smear the graphite, as well as pull out more of the detail on this smooth hard pressed surface.
An instant hit for me as an artist and for those who call themselves fans of my work.
The drawings of “Courting” and “Rodeo” were entered in the 2012 Kern County Fair, and both won first place for professional artists.
“Courting” taking the winning trophy for “Best in Show”, for the professional fine arts division, as well as first place for professional drawings.
“Rodeo” took home first place for the fair’s theme “Best In The West.” It also was awarded the Bakersfield Art Association Award.
Granted - It might not sound like much to most artists but for a community event, and dealing with a “small town attitude”, this was good exposure.
“Garrett” had not been drawn by the time the entries for the Fair were being accepted and the drawing of “Kevin - Repose” would never have passed the judges or censors. All drawings for the Fair must be family friendly. Too bad.
So, I guess “Garrett” wouldn’t have been accepted either. Again. Too bad.
The drawing, “Kevin - Repose” was saved for last. My last full frontal male nude.
Far too many times people judged, condemned, and even limited my potential as an artist because of the male nudes I had drawn. Therefore it was time to accept this may well be one of my best drawings ever. And what better place in my career as a professional artist than now to move on and let this be my last!
So how does one draw so much detail on paper this size? The same as any size. You focus in the various shades of grey, lights, shadows, and details that most people over look - one section at a time. And often with the drawing and reference photo, upside down, and sideways.
The proper tools and supplies are a must for any fine arts project. And the type of paper does effect the piece you are working on. I learned that the hard way, on several drawings with in the past three years, including the figure drawing of Kevin. Which I ended up stopping half way through capturing his facial features before I realized I was using the wrong paper.
Heavy weight drawing paper was just too rough a texture to capture the detail I wanted from his eyes. And if the eyes were not right, what was the point of continuing the drawing? Especially if it wasn’t going to look like him?
Fact - the texture of the paper, as well as it’s color, effects not only the quality of the drawing but the style the artist is accustom to working with.
So why the delay or limiting the sizes to my drawings? Simple. The three earlier books were limited to the home scanner I had. Keeping most of the drawings at an 8.5” x 11” or risk damaging the drawings. I felt that it was best to keep the drawing the actual size when it came to showing the detail and explaining how they were created.
As to why these people or the poses were selected? I knew that if these were to be my final drawings they had to be my best!
G. T. Anderson, “Garrett”, introduced himself after commenting on the posting a censored version of “Kevin-Repose” on Facebook, which lead me to his profile and the fitness and modeling photos he had posted of himself taken by various photographers.
Never one to just draw anyone, and seeking permission first, I commented on how I’d love to draw one of his photos some day, and before the evening had ended, photographer Dave Ouano emailed me a high resolution jpg of the photo I had commented on.
The drawing of “Garrett”, “Courting”, and “Kevin - Repose” were the inspiration to updating this book as a second edition.
“Kevin - Repose” was inspired from the works of photographer Robert James and the model being a young man by the name of Kevin J. Gadzalinski.
Both men I came to know separately, via the internet, as the result of networking with other artists, photographers, and models. It wasn’t until I came across a series of photos of Kevin, taken by Robert James, that I realized they knew one another.
Award winning drawings.
It was the portrait of “Kevin” (shown here) that convinced me it was time to start showing my work locally. Even if it was just at the County Fair.
Yes, I had art galleries in Los Angles, San Francisco, the Central Coast here in California, and even in NYC and London interested in my drawings, but to get my work shown locally was not practicable at a time when our economy was demanding financial cut backs. I just couldn’t afford the rental fees.....
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