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Art Works: Kay Shannon

23 October 15 words: Art Works
A nimble-fingered artist reveals all about her dot work piece Pathera Tigris and what exactly makes a creative mind tick
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Pathera Tigris

This drawing of a tiger skull was created using a technique called dot work, or stippling. The process began with outlining the shape of the skull in fine liner and then, using a pen with a large-sized nib, applying dots to the areas where I wanted to create dense shadows. To adjust the depth of tone and to create the look of gradual shading, I varied the density and distribution of the dots, applying them further apart with smaller-sized pens.

I’ve always been fascinated by bones and animal skulls. In western culture, skulls are often seen as a symbol of death, something to be viewed negatively. I don’t see death as something to be fearful of. I think it’s captivating to see what is essentially the glue that holds life together. This is my way of honouring and celebrating life.

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I’ve recently been drawing a lot of inspiration from black work tattoo artists and illustrators who I’ve come across on Instagram. I used to mainly use black or blue biro and was really into crosshatching, but after discovering dot work design, I haven’t looked back. There’s something about it, compared to other techniques, that stands out for me. It’s a great way of creating depth and, by only using black ink, the focus is entirely on the design.

Pathera Tigris took approximately sixteen hours to make, which I did over the course of a couple of weeks. I have a desk set up devoted to drawing but, if I’m honest, I mostly work in the evenings while relaxing on the sofa in front of the TV, or occasionally in the park on my days off when the British weather is being kind.

Drawing for me is a hobby at the moment, I work full-time in a fancy dress shop but I have ambitions to expand my portfolio and turn it into a career. I was always encouraged to draw and I had an encyclopedia on animals when I was about five years old that was full of photographs. I would randomly select a page and draw the body of the animal in the photo, then flick a few pages and draw the head of a different animal, creating strange, hybrid creatures. I still occasionally do that now.

I recently had a friend ask me to design a tattoo for him – the fact anyone would want my work permanently on them is incredibly humbling. To be given the chance to not only design, but also tattoo that same person would be the ultimate dream – it would create an incredibly personal connection between me and my client. However, I’d need to learn how to tattoo first.

Kay Shannon Art on Facebook

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