After many months of procrastination diligent hard work, I hereby give you my latest piece from my 2012 trip to Afghanistan.
While covering the drawdown in Afghanistan as an embedded journalist with Wpns Co. 3/9, I had the pleasure of meeting some locked on and squared away Marines; one of which was the gunner of the MRAP vehicle that I was occupying, LCpl. Hallbeck.
During one of our 3 hour mounted patrols, I reached into my bag, grabbed my camera, extended my arm upward and blindly snapped between 30-40 pictures. I had my camera setting on black & white, anticipating the next few that I'd take would end up as an intimate and detailed pencil drawing for later on. While I was playing photographer, Hallbeck remained focused, scanning the area for potential roadside threats.
If one quote can sum up this piece, it's this:
"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf"
The Marines of 3/9 are now home. The unit will also deactivate in August as a direct result of the drawdown. I don't see myself ever going back to Afghanistan. Three is enough.
As for the piece, I started it back in January with the hope of finishing it by mid spring. The balancing act of work and school simply would not allow this to happen. After finishing my illustration final early, my professor encouraged me to work on something personal; I already knew what I was going to do, so I knocked off the cobwebs and went to work.
The process that I use to make work like this is, by no means, a regimented one. A lot of people ask that I make a video of me drawing so they can see how I do it. If I did make a video, I guarantee that all who actually watch it will either fall asleep or lose interest after just 10 minutes.
So, how do I make a drawing look so real?
Trial. Error. Talent. Technique. Dedication. Passion for subject matter. Oh, and yeah, the use of certain tools. I shade charcoal and pencil in with a small brush and kleenex tissue. Pretty simple I guess.
Once I'm able to squeeze in a few exhibitions, I will send this over to its new home over at the National Museum of the Marine Corps.