A to Z of Craft
Welcome back to our ongoing series A to Z of Craft! This series showcases the different materials, tools and techniques our artisans use to create their one of a kind pieces. From traditional to innovative, by highlighting how our makers create, we are here to celebrate craft in all its wonderful iterations.
This time around we spoke to Alicia’s Pencils who made her One of a Kind debut at the 2018 Spring Show at 14 years old, our youngest exhibitor to date. She tells us about how she learned and developed her drawing skills by herself, the importance of her family, her inspirations and all about her first show experience.
For those that do not know, how would you describe your craft?
I create realistic portraits using graphite pencil as well as illustrations of eyes using watercolour techniques. The reason I mainly focus on eyes and portraits of the human face is to convey how much feeling and emotion can be sensed and transmitted from such simple yet complex features like eyes. I often choose to leave white space in the picture or around it to give the subject and their features a chance to stand out so that the audience can get the full experience of freely interpreting the emotion that the eyes emit.
Click on the video below to watch Alicia's incredible process;
Could you tell us more about your Drawing process?
First I get inspiration through photography sites online for pictures to draw by looking for those who stand out from the rest - whether it be because of the angle they were taken or because of the colours that were used or even the facial expressions that the person is making and what I feel from it. Then, I either prepare a grid on the image on my computer and then draw that same grid on my paper to copy the original picture or I free-hand draw the picture on the page when I want to make larger-scaled pieces. Following that, I use graphite pencils scaled from 3B-8B to shade features and add greater contrast, followed by blending techniques like the use of cotton fluffs, blending stumps, or even facial tissue - I pay close attention so that every line and outline of the face is as realistic on the paper as it is on the original image.
How did you start working with this technique?
I grew up watching my dad, a graphic designer, draw and brainstorm his projects on pen and paper before executing them on the computer which made me fall in love with the idea of how drawing can be an amazing way to get your thoughts, ideas, and even feelings out onto a physical element that you and other people can view and interpret differently. I began learning the basics with him like what the different shades of pencil are for, the importance of layering and contrast, and picking the perfect paper for each of the different techniques. Then, when I was 10 years old I drew my first portrait of my best friend and I using coloured pencils and I enjoyed every minute of the process which allowed me to discover my passion for the technique.
Tell us what makes your drawings One of a Kind!
I learnt all of these skills on my own so every piece includes a bit of an exploration with a technique! It includes new discoveries I've been making during my art journey as a self-taught artist since I was 10 such as different types of pencils, ways of shading, erasers or layout choices. Every original piece is different - more in the way that each of them gives off a different energy rather than how each of them look. Now, in my new art collection, I am combining watercolour and pencil to illustrate the power of emotions through colour. I also used Spring as my theme for the Spring show!
You debuted as our youngest ever exhibitor! Tell us about your first show experience and what inspired you to start exhibiting.
The entire experience felt unreal, it was amazing! Presenting my art was something that I had been looking into since I was 11, so when I ran into Lynn, a member of the One of A Kind team, during the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibit in summer of 2017, I just couldn't wait to introduce myself and my work - which was how I was invited to apply. My first OOAK show, which was my first ever exhibit or show, was an unforgettable experience. My family and friends supported me so much during the entire process which inspired me to try my best all throughout the process of application and eventually throughout the show. I remember telling my mom, “I have to learn to be an extrovert within the next hour” the morning of the show, and by the end of the show I had introduced myself and told my story to more than 2,000 people giving each one of them my business card as they approached curious to know who I was. Something that surprised me was the amount of people that I got to connect with - including fellow exhibitors, artists, art teachers, art curators and art consultants, or art-lovers. I loved having the opportunity to learn other exhibitor's stories as well as discovering that there were many people who admired and fell in love with my work. It felt magical to feel that my art was loved by many people outside of my studio!
What is your favourite aspect of being a part of the One of a Kind Community?
I love being surrounded with people of all crafts who appreciate each other’s work and encourage artisans of all types to keep creating amazing work. It has also given me the chance to share and present my art to people like my friends, teachers, and most importantly my family. In the future, I would love to take my art to the community showcasing my artwork to inspire other kids to follow their artistic dreams since a young age. My dream would be to have an art agency with only young teen artists to connect them to galleries, shows, and potential clients.
Do you have any new products we should look out for?
Yes! Some of my new pieces now have a combination of pencil and watercolour in one - with some that have two faces on one paper, as well as wearable art!
Like what you see? Shop Alicia's Pencils here!
Follow Alicia's Pencils on Instagram.
Would you like to have your OOAK craft showcased in this series? Click the link here to submit your entry!