I recently attended The Fantastic Workshop, hosts by the weekly One Fantastic Week podcast hosts Pete Mohrbacher and Sam Flegal. While there, I met the illustrious Allen Williams, known on the internet world and the art world as “I Just Draw”, and indeed he does. I watched this incredible artist/illustrator/creator draw on a blank page just from nothing. I participated in his demo, where we got down and dirty and played with applying wet graphite powder onto Ampersand Claybord. Then using various art tools of the trade (sponges, Mr Clean Magic Eraser, paper towels, fingers) to subtract portions of the graphite powder, and using pencils or more graphite powder to add to the image. The process of adding and subtracting from the image continued until you get what you wanted. The final image is sprayed with a sealant and the finished product can stand alone or framed without glass.
The process itself is simple and can be learned easily. The creative part of the process is the key to the uniqueness that is Allen Williams. I watched as he “wiped the board clean” several times before settling on an image he liked. This is akin to “thumb nailing” or “sketches” before the final image. I usually don’t do well with thumb nails and sketches but I know there has to be a certain amount of planning that goes into a great artwork. I can see this method working for me in that respect.
I have not played with the technique at home after the workshop as I gathered my supplies, but I do have a renewed energy for my pencil art, which I dearly love. This renewed energy is translating into newer pencil pieces I am attempting for an upcoming project, Operation Gaia. More to come on that project in a month. For now, here is my piece from the workshop.