Friday, March 27, 2009


I gave a talk to illustration students at my old University yesterday, which was great fun. I mentioned in passing a picture that showed historical influences, and on the way home I realised there are many in my work so I thought I'd post one here. Drawing Bruce Forsyth a year or so ago, I did a few tiny roughs working out a composition that pushed the shape of his head quite a bit. I realised I was thinking of the skull in Holbein's Ambassadors. (When I first saw the painting, I'll admit I didn't see a skull; I thought it was a cuttlefish!)
I wasn't too happy with my first drawing, which I'd submitted and was approved. I thought I could do better, thinking of that skull still. So here's the second version I was much happier with, and the final painting.Incidentally, the floor of Ambassadors has something that also interests me. I visited a friend in York last year, when the city had an outdoor exhibition of life sized prints of famous paintings in various locations. On the way in we passed a window boarded up with chipboard, which to me was just like a painting. It's two dimensional like a canvas, made up of three dimensional chips, just like impressionist brush strokes. When we got to where the print of the Ambassadors was hung in York, I spotted in the floor the same texture. Probably gold leaf.