Anyone else inspired by creative folk who can produce wonderful things with their hands? I always find it fascinating how creative people can turn a blank page into a work of art. So without further ado, let me introduce you to Dorset based artist Charlotte Beare who set up her business in 2020 to work around her children and lifestyle. You may recognise her drawings, as she very kindly drew my cheeky horse Leo taking inspiration from my photos taken by Somerset-based photographer Rachel Bragg.
Charlotte, welcome to the CBC Blog…
Tell us a little about you…
Thanks so much for inviting me, Becky! I live in the village of Chickerell in Dorset, a stone’s throw away from the Fleet Lagoon and not far from Weymouth. I love country life and being by the sea, so I feel very lucky to live here. I’m married with an 18-month-old son and a 4-year-old daughter.
How did you get into drawing portraits?
I’m from an arty, musical family and I’ve always loved drawing, especially animals and people. Art was my favourite subject at school, and I took A-Level Art but finally decided to study languages at University rather than pursue art College. I never really stopped drawing though and would often sketch my Uni friends. I’ve been taking commissions on as an artist and off since 2010 but decided to “make it official” last year. I had left my job to look after my kids and found that lockdown gave me space and impetus to follow my heart and make it happen.
What is your style of drawing & why do you like that preferred style?
My style is constantly evolving. At the moment, I work primarily in graphite pencil and draw in a photo-realistic style. Over the years, my drawings have grown increasingly detailed and realistic as I mastered pencil shading techniques and improved my observation through practice. With that solid foundation, I’m enjoying being a little more expressive and freer with my mark making and adding some of my own personality to my drawings. I enjoy working in other mediums too, particularly acrylic paints, and sometimes do landscapes.
What or who inspires you to draw?
Drawing feels like a part of me; it’s something I’ve always done, and I find the process uniquely therapeutic and enjoyable. It’s hard to pinpoint why I’m so drawn to portraiture – I just really enjoy depicting living beings. I find eyes beautiful to draw and I love capturing expressions and all the many elements that make our and animals’ faces so characterful and individual. It’s amazing how fleeting a likeness can be; one tiny mark can make it or break it and I enjoy that challenge.
And what made you decide to take it from being a hobby to a business as an artist?
As I mentioned above, I decided not to return to work after having my youngest child. Creating my own small business drawing portraits as a Dorset based artist felt ideal because I could fit it around the family and manage my own workload. I joined Instagram in April 2020 and found the online art community really supportive, encouraging and inspiring – it helped give me the push I needed to go for it. It’s a dream come true!
What type of portraits do you draw, & what is your favourite type to draw?
Looking back over the past year the majority of my portraits have been of dogs – which I love!! Often, clients request a head and shoulders portrait so I’m mainly focused on the face and I can get loads of detail in. Other times, I’m asked to do a full-body, action shot or include some background which is fun. I’m not sure I have a favourite subject, but I’d definitely love to do more equine portraits. I grew up around horses and used to ride. It’s important to have that relationship and familiarity with the animal you’re drawing, not least to get an understanding of the underlying anatomy.
Which drawings have had the best reaction from your followers?
I think celebrity drawings are often a hit because people can immediately see your ability to capture a likeness – more so than when it’s a drawing of someone they don’t know. You’re kind of showcasing your ability. I haven’t done a celebrity portrait in a while actually but I have a few in mind who I’d love to draw! I drew Keith Richards a few years back; that got a good reaction from my friends! I was also inspired to draw Her Majesty the Queen on the morning of her Diamond Jubilee which I’ll always remember – people really liked that portrait.
What is your go-to art materials or brands?
I mainly use Derwent Graphic Pencils. Also, a fab discovery recently has been Staedtler’s Mars Lumograph Black pencils which allow you to achieve very dark, matt black tones without getting the shine that is characteristic of graphite. Paper-wise, I find Winsor & Newton paper great quality and lovely to draw on. I either use their Smooth Surface Cartridge Pad which is slightly cream coloured or their Bristol Board which is a bit thicker and pure white. I also love my Tombow mono eraser which is perfect for precision erasing, i.e. drawing into the pencil.
Any top tips for anyone wanting to start drawing again or take it up from scratch?
I would encourage anyone to take up drawing, or art in general! As kids, we used to just grab a crayon and create a picture from our imagination but as adults, we often lose that ability. Like any skill you need to practice in order to improve so I’d suggest getting a sketchbook and experimenting without being too critical of yourself. There are loads of YouTube tutorials out there for drawing people or animals. For inspiration, I love watching Sky Portrait Artist of the Year; you get to see different artists creating portraits of the same sitter and their interpretations are always so diverse. I’ve also participated in a few online life drawing classes via Zoom which have been fun and a great way to loosen up and practise speed drawing.
What are the plans for Charlotte Beare Portraits in 2021?
Well, I’m working on a few commissions at the moment; I currently have a little girl, a horse and a cat in the pipeline. This year feels like an adventure really — I’m not sure what’s in store which is exciting! From a personal point of view, I want to push myself and grow as an artist; for example, drawing from life is a different ball game to working from photos and a skill in itself which I’d like to improve on. I’d also love to do some more painting and experiment with colour.
Where are all the places, we can find you online?
You can find me on:
Facebook: Charlotte Beare Portraits
Or via my Website: charlottebeareportraits.co.uk
And if anyone would like to commission you with a piece of work, what are your current prices & what should they do?
My prices start from £50 for an A5 single-subject drawing. For a full price list, go to the Commissions & Pricing page on my website. I ideally need to work from a clear, high-res photo; most phones take excellent quality photos these days.
If you enjoyed reading this interview about Dorset based artist Charlotte Beare, you might enjoy more from my Interview section on the blog here.