Alfred Pellan is well-known to the Quebec art crowd as a guy who produced surreal imagery, kinda-sorta Picasso-like (I’ll probably be stoned for saying so). Born in Quebec City, he became closely associated with École des Beaux-Arts de Québec. Like many Quebec artists, he also studied at École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He died in 1988.
There’s a bust in honor of him in the Jardin de St. Roch and I drew it. I struggle with pencil shading. I’m sure this is in no small part because I do it so rarely but to make matters worse I decided to try to do it with red pencil. My buddy Yvan does it so smoothly so I know it’s not the tool, but the guy I see in the mirror every morning that is at fault.
Nevertheless, here is my attempt. It was drawn on 8 1/2 x 11 Strathmore Bristol (vellum) using a 2mm lead holder and Turquoise red lead. There was also a couple hours involved.
A couple days ago someone on Facebook asked what the best pencil was. I responded by saying that the best pencil was “the one in your hand” and then went on to talk about the various brands I’d tried. I don’t know much about pencils so my advise was limited.
I was reminded of this advise when I went to the museum on Sunday. I’d set up my stool, and realized that I’d forgotten my pencil case. I grumbled a bit and dug through my bag. I had my Pentel Kerry (.5mm HB) and Pentel 207 (.7mm 2H) pencils and the stub of a Blackwing 602 wooden pencil (a bit softer than HB). Those were the pencils I had in my hand. Great tools for light layout lines for ink drawings but…well, that’s what I had and I wanted to draw a Greek plaster mask that dated from 200AD. So I started to draw.
What drew me to the subject was that it had a chip out of the nose and several from the chin area. I’m trying to learn to capture these features and I’m very clumsy with a pencil, but I hope that this sort of drawing will help me improve. Besides, it’s fun to draw in the museum. At one point there were half a dozen people standing behind me, watching me draw. I tried to chat with them, in both my bad French and passable English, but I really have a hard time drawing and talking at the same time. Anyways, this is what I ended up with, using the “one in my hand.”
Greek plaster mask (200AD) – Strathmore 300-series Bristol (8.5×11), mechanical pencils