Dusty - portraits by Wendy

At the Let’s Talk Dusty! forum, we are very fortunate in having Wendy Hampson as one of our members.

Wendy has drawn a number of unique portraits of Dusty and has always been very generous in sharing these with the forum members.

She also kindly agreed to write about the creative process which produces her astonishing portraits, as well as allowing us to showcase the portraits themselves.

When I was 14 years old I met a Russian guy called Leon, one day he showed me a black and white portrait he had drawn of a neighbour. I'd never seen anything quite so wonderful, I was blown away, I hadn't realised what could be done until I saw THAT picture.

I suppose it was the catalyst for me - I already knew as soon as he showed me that picture, that I could do it, it was just that I needed to know it could be done.

The next day I went out and bought a huge sheet of paper and proceeded to draw Gary Cooper (my first serious portrait). Everything started there for me. If I hadn't met Leon, I may never have considered drawing any serious pictures.

Funny how life is, isn't it. I had to go to the other side of the world to meet someone to show me what was possible.

INSPIRATION

What inspires me to draw Dusty - well Dusty herself to start with, is there any better or more beautiful subject (she's exquisite). It's not like I have to draw the same face over and over, every portrait is different in composition, contour, design and expression.

We all know Dusty paid meticulous attention to her appearance and All Her Many Faces. I draw in order to capture that beauty and immortalise Dusty on paper, and for my own satisfaction, and in the process I hope other fans will enjoy the drawings too.

Each drawing will take from 30 hours to even 60 for a pastel. The pastel drawings are a bit of a challenge, and in some cases they can take weeks, and months if I run into difficulties - “art can't be hurried” is my philosophy.

The black and white ones are much quicker and easier because of the limitations of coloured pencils.

I've always been a person who was never happy without a pen or pencil in my hand. It seems a natural process for me to do something with the pen or pencil.

At school I did lots of pen and ink drawings, which must have impressed my teacher, as she literally put them all around the classroom, and awarded me lots of Merit Marks for my house.

I've always been a Dusty fan, but not necessarily an active one, so when I first came upon LTD, I wasn't sure what I could contribute to the forum, if anything.

I had decided to do a drawing, but it took me 6 weeks to decide which one I could do, because I knew the process was a long one.

It was not unusual for me to spend 40 to 60 hours on a drawing, and I wanted to do our lady justice.

I do tend to go over the top, I know that I am an over the top person in as much as I will take everything to the nth degree, (well it may be known as enthusiasm) so it was going to have to be a good picture and a top notch drawing and nothing less would do.

I generally approach every drawing in the same way.

At that time I didn't have access to as many Dusty photos as I have now.

CHOICE OF PICTURE

It's usually chosen for me by someone on LTD, but the ones I choose myself, are ones which are my favourites.

But I often find, I might not rate a picture that someone else has chosen, but when I start it, I realise my choice is not always the best.

Other peoples' favourites make some very nice pictures, which I would have overlooked.

TECHNIQUE

I work on the basis that if I put everything in the picture as near to the original as I can get it, it is bound to look like her. One hundred percent accuracy is what I always aim for.

I start by putting in as many reference points as possible, horizontal lines, vertical lines, and for the eyes nose and mouth diagonal lines as well in order to position her features precisely. Guide lines if you like. The drawing will look more like a map at this stage.

This is all fairly easy, I think most professional artists work on the same basis when they want to enlarge something, and although I'm not trained or a professional, I keep my eyes open as to methods used.

I will usually go to the hair first and start to fill in all the darkest bits and place them in exactly the correct position, bit by bit I will be building up a road map of Dusty's hair. (more reference points). It's reference points all the way. Only when I am sure it is all correct will I start to shade and put in the detail. Dusty's hair is the challenge, the eyes, nose and mouth are easy by comparison.

But as I've never been trained I don't know how to leave things out of a drawing like a trained artist would. I think artists usually look at a picture and think, how can I simplify this and what can I leave out. I never do, I just put everything in, thoroughness is in my nature.

The more detail the more interesting the picture in my opinion.


Many thanks to Wendy for telling us about her creative process and her technique, and for allowing us to reproduce some of her beautiful portraits.

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