Charles Dana Gibson was a prolific pen and ink illustrator, best known for his creation of the Gibson Girl, an iconic representation of the beautiful and independent American woman at the turn of the 20th century. His wife, Irene Langhorne, and her four sisters inspired his images.
I started to study Charles Dana Gibson's style by doing a copy of one of his own drawings so I could being to understand the way he uses pen and ink to sculpt the features of the face, with a mixture of delicate and bold lines. The thing I love most about his art work is the way he uses ink to convey the density of the women's hair and how he leaves negative space to describe the light hitting the models. However, this was one of the techniques I found the most difficult to re create, as it meant knowing when to leave spaces blank and knowing when to add more ink. In my self portrait I feel like I have managed to recreate the technique fairly confidently, but a lot of the charm of Charles Gibson's work is lost in my own recreation, as I have not depicted myself with flowing hair that sits gracefully atop of my head like the Gibson girls and I have not been able to convey the same sense of elegance that he masters so beautifully. However, I think that I have taken a lot away from this style in terms of understanding the technique and being able to re create it. I feel like this technique is very good for the delicate details and creating a contrast between dark and lights. However, I think that there are better techniques for creating a more advanced tonal range and building up more marks.