My 1st Upload and Pen Picture


My 1st Upload and Pen Picture


Hi Matt,

First of all, thank you, I was inspired to join your classes based on the videos I had viewed on You Tube as I like how you teach.  I think I joined over a month ago but what with the challenges of life, I had only managed to start with the work in the “Begin here” course and the “Pencil to paper” lesson, I am really enjoying that, especially the continuous line. 

Anyway, as a means to a second introduction as my 1st was on Tuesday night’s zoom class (22 June).  Obviously, I’m new to the site but here is a quick pen picture, my name is John Muir, I am Scottish but I live in Wales with my Welsh wife and have been for the last 10 years, prior to this we moved around as I served with the Royal Air Force for 20+ years.  Because we moved around, I could never get into the art mindset, I was too busy sorting the family although occasionally I’d dabble with graphite, although I yearned to expand but costs and lack of informative sources sort of prevented me doing anything.

I have always enjoyed art, I did it in school but didn’t take it past that point because I needed to get an apprenticeship either down the coal mines, on the building site or in an engineering firm.  I chose engineering and have been doing it ever since, although I teach it now.  Now that my kids have all grown up, I now have the time to focus on hobbies and I resurrected my desire to get involved with art. At the moment I am just doing the art for shear enjoyment and I am going through the phase of trying to build up knowledge lost or knowledge I never had. 

There are lots of areas I think your advice and guidance would be gratefully received but if I have to pick one, it is I have a problem checking my works likeness of an image to the real person.  If someone else were to produce work, I can immediately see any likeness but when it comes to my own work it’s like I can’t detach myself to be objective.  The image I have submitted is where I have tried to do a portrait of my granddaughter, my daughter says it does look like her but I don’t know if she is saying it to appease me.  I would like your valued opinion and guidance because I want to do a family portrait of my wife’s 2 brothers and I don’t want it to look naff.   In addition to the likeness, I feel that I have made the background too dark and that there is not enough contrast between the face and said background.  I did roll a kneadable rubber over the picture in the hope that I could lift off some graphite and then start getting the contrast but I got to the point that it felt like I had lost control, so I stopped there.


Posted on

June 24, 2021

1 Comment

  1. John Muir

    Thanks for the feedback Matt,
    It is very much appreciated and somewhat relieving in that my difficulties lay in part with the lighting. I will watch the video as requested, thank you and see you this afternoon.

    Stay safe

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