“One of the worst things you can do to yourself is underestimate yourself.”
Great advice from Enrika Simons, who is making a name for herself as a sketch artist—a talent that she never realised she had until her daughter made a life changing suggestion.
“I was never that interested in drawing. I’ve always liked seeing drawings from other people, but it was never what I found joy in. One day my daughter said, ‘Mama, you keep wasting your money on canvases and paint because your paintings never come out how you want them then the canvas ends up sitting in the basement. Why don’t you try drawing? That may be your strongest point in art’. I took her advice and I appreciate it.
“I always did abstract painting, but I wanted a change. Besides I don’t think I was that good when it came painting. In June 2019, I set myself on a one year drawing challenge. I had no clue how to draw portraits. From June up until now I draw one portrait a day on my days off from work. It’s something I love doing now, it’s really therapeutic.”
The Bermuda native, who resides in the East Midlands in the UK has created beautiful original pieces—and has never taken a formal art class, and says she has no intentions.
“YouTube is my teacher. I’m on YouTube every single day watching tutorials, trying to learn new techniques. I’m that person that when I set my mind on something, I’m doing it. In July 2019, I told myself I’ll see major progress before a year is up. Just from watching YouTube and buying books has helped me in a huge way. When I’m stuck I just repeat to myself, ‘Draw exactly what you see.’ One of my sons gave me that advice.
“I have absolutely no plans to take any art classes. Why pay when I can learn for free? Thanks to my Uncle YouTube! I currently work as a Healthcare assistant in a hospital doing 12-hours shifts. Even if I wanted to do classes, I doubt if I’ll be able to fit it into my schedule.”
“On average it takes around four to seven hours to do one portrait, but I do notice that lately I’ve been taking longer because I’m learning new techniques and some are time consuming but worth it, she tells SheHub. “If I see a photo that I like and if it’s nice and clear, I’ll draw it. At times I choose a photo that I think people will love. I like drawing celebrities; sometimes my family, it all depends on what catches my eye. I find all my reference photos on Google. Sometimes I’ll just ask my children who should I draw.”
Enrika shares that there are times when she doubts her work.
“When I finish a portrait I sometimes feel a bit anxious. At times, I tend to keep touching it up. I did that once where I fiddled with it so much that I ruined it and did it over the next day. Most times I feel excited and accomplished. Even if I finish at some hour in the morning, I send a photo of it to my children to see what they think. Mind you I don’t get a reply until the later morning.”
While she has made significant progress, she admits that there are areas where she could hone her craft: “I would love to improve shading because I want to do hyperealism portraits. There are many other things that I want to improve on but practice makes perfect. I’m determined. I’ll get there.”
She continues: “I have seen so much improvement in almost everything. I look back on some of my old drawings and giggle sometimes. My portraits now have way more depth and they look more like the individual I am drawing.
“I have many favourites. A few are the late Frederick Wade, Tupac Shakur and a lady with dreads that I saw on Google images. I just call her Lisa. A few of my earlier ones are my favourites as well, they help me realise how much progress I’ve made.”
“When I show people my work and they ask me how long have been doing portraits and I tell them I taught myself within seven months, they don’t believe me.”
If you are interested in purchasing art from Enrika email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or DM her https://www.instagram.com/enrika.simons/ . Postage is free within the UK.