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Olivia Kemp p1

READERSVOICE.COM aims to collect a few interesting reading tips. This issue features Olivia Kemp, who creates pen drawings rich in detail and texture, of animals, plants, and landscapes real and imagined. Ms Kemp mentions some favorite books of poetry and a couple of books on artists that she keeps in her studio..

To see Olivia Kemp’s amazing pen drawings, visit oliviakemp.co.uk. They are often large pictures with intricate compositions and a lot of detail, so they can take a couple of months to complete. Sometimes the pen drawings are of eye-catching sights she has come across in her walks around the UK countryside, like a rabbit hutch in a tree, or a deserted farmhouse. But she also depicts larger landscapes, sometimes inspired by her travels to Malta, Germany, Spain and other countries. And then there are her drawings of imaginary places, e.g. her creation of an archipelago with various types of buildings on each tiny island; or a community living in massive trees.

READERSVOICE.COM: I was reading Open by Andre Agassi, and he said that when you can see the finish line in some sporting event, it had a magnetic energy that made the effort much easier. (But that once you completed a sporting event, that finish line held you back from starting the next event.) But do you find that same experience with your drawings, and if so, do you see the finish line only after a long time?

OLIVIA KEMP: I don’t think too much about finishing the work until it really is close to the end, similarly I usually don’t start thinking of a title until around the same point. I always work faster nearer the end, whether I mean to or not. However I don’t think that finishing one work holds me back at all from starting another, if I didn’t truly believe that the next work would be better then I probably would’ve stopped drawing by now. It’s the belief in doing better that helps to keep you interested and motivated.

RV: Pictures like The House of Ground have a lot of different textures and surfaces, and the stone and plant textures in pictures like Melita, Maleth, and The Where that Was, is amazing. I was wondering do you still use the hatching and cross hatching that beginning artists are taught, or do you make up your own lines to portray different textures?

OK: Cross hatching is just one of many ways to describe something when drawing. It’s not something I’ve ever really adopted. I think this is mostly because I love finding ways to describe differences in texture, which is perhaps a little less emphasised if you’re using the same marks throughout. As you get to know your medium to experiment more and more with what it can do.

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