When I was a child, the first thing I always looked for in a good book was the intriguing black and white illustration on the page before the story began. “The frontispiece,” it was labeled. To me, it was the prompt to imagining delicious scenes to come. It told me worlds about the story before the first word read, conveyed warmth of character and mystery I wanted to explore, invited me to get to know these characters and to love them for their story.
I think that might be when I first thought of myself as a storyteller… And how I wanted to tell a story…with my art as well as words. Self-taught artist for the most part, I began drawing by painstakingly copying the story-telling art I saw in writer/artist Joan Walsh Anglund’s tiny, poetic books – Love is a Special Way of Feeling and A Friend is Someone Who Likes You.
People often exclaim to me, “Wow, how do you get all that detail in!” To me, that’s the joy of it! And mixing in the softer shading with graphite pencil, seeing a picture come to life beneath my fingers.
I think back to Ms Anglund’s etchings, detailed down to the caterpillars crawling in the grass beside a child’s foot, the tiny flowers on a wallpapered wall, intricate designs on a teacup in someone’s hand. Her intricacies enchanted me! (As you can see still evident in my drawings… 🙂 ) Along with the quaint settings of wing chairs and mantelpieces, tiny bridges in country lanes, English perambulators (baby carriages!) and occasional tints of color she put into her backdrops… still a favorite with me. And although I’ve tried other mediums – such as oil painting and acrylics – I always seem to come back to the classic beauty of Pen and Ink.
I consider my Pen and Ink artwork to be illustrations — in the style of those frontispiece drawings that always charmed me — rather than technical or mathematically achieved renderings. I want them to be the kind of art that warms you each time you see it, reminds you of story moments of people, places and times you value, invites your guests into a bit about the story behind it. When I see this image of Miracle on 34th Street for example, it immediately whisks me back to the memories of watching the film with my family, the warmth of music and tale and character that has illustrated many a Christmastime in my life! 🙂
This is what I’ve been enjoying most about creating pieces for my customers – a piece of their story (and yours!) in illustration:
- I think of the gift a woman’s church group wanted to give a grieving widow – a drawing of the home she and her husband raised their family in. As we talked, I had an image form in my mind of the couple as they were when first starting out, maybe on a picnic or a walk, then standing arm in arm as they look out at their home. “We’d like the shutters and door to be red,” the Gifter explained to me, “because it is such a great character part of their home…and the scripture she loves, at bottom…” (You’ll find this drawing under the category, Home Portraits With A Touch of Color.)
- Of the woman who had been searching all over for a pen & ink artist who could render her 30-year home in illustration before they reluctantly moved across country. “Can you incorporate my son’s love of lacrosse and my daughter’s soccer ball?” she wondered. Endearing story details I think add to the Norman Rockwell feel of her lovely neighborhood in this piece! (You’ll find this one under the category Home Portraits Classic in Black and White.)
- And of the sisters who returned to me for the second Christmas to create a special memory for their Dad’s gift. The previous year, they’d purchased a rendering of his childhood home. This season, they had a new idea. How about two separate drawings – one from an old photo of their Dad’s dad on his boat, one of a more current family boat.? “My Dad absolutely loved the gift!” one sister just wrote me. “He was excited we reached out to you, as he loved the house you drew for him. .He was touched by his parents boat, and we got the reaction we were looking for!” (You’ll find these two under the category, Trains Boats Vintage Cars.)
And now, I can’t wait to “tell a bit of your story!” Whether for yourself or as a gift for someone you know… Email me at email@example.com and let’s talk about your ideas!
Browse… and come back often, as I will be adding new pieces as I draw them!
All Pen and Ink artwork and writing on this Blog is copyright-protected as my sole property, Picture it In Pen and Ink! © 2016 – 2017 by Pam Depoyan, except where otherwise noted. If you are interested in commissioning an original design, or purchasing prints of any of the pieces shown here, please contact me by e-mail. firstname.lastname@example.org .