Origin: solo show by Stuart Whitton

Despite all the digital tools we use these days, most images still start life as a pencil drawing. So it's fitting that Welsh illustrator Stuart Whitton's solo show is entitled Origin, because he's an artist with particularly special pencil skills.

'Where it begins' is also the theme of the event, which runs 6 to 31 October at the Exposure Gallery. "I have used this occasion as a way to explore a lot of firsts - hence the title - whether it be subject matter, a different pencil technique, developing my ability to visibly display an area of interest, or even working with another artist to create a piece," says Whitton.

Pencil drawing from Stuart Whitton's show Origin

In many of his images, Whitton plays with unusual surfaces and fragments of images, putting them together in new ways - the outcome can be very unusual, and often quite elegant. Despite a very obvious commitment to traditional media in the finished work, the compositions are actually arrived at digitally. First he pulls together all his reference photos. "These are then assembled on my Mac where a period of experimentation takes place until I am happy with the image before me," explains Whitton. "This is then printed and I begin drawing from the print whilst keeping the image on screen to zoom in to specific areas if needed."

An alphabet made from hand-drawn items of clothing by Stuart Whitton

He uses this technique to create portraits, which range from the very beautiful to the Frankenstein-ian. But he also applies it to typography and still life imagery. Watch the video below to get a close-up of just how much detailed craftsmanship goes in to Stuart Whitton's images.

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