Already well established as an illustrator with excellent Photoshop skills, Derek Bacon decided it was time to get back to basics. He’s unplugged his computer and rediscovered the joy of traditional drawing media. Using pencils, charcoal, inks and even a bit of crayon, he produces images that ooze with freedom and the expressive hand of the artist.
Based in Amsterdam, Derek is constantly drawing. He carries his sketchbook with him everywhere he goes and gets through one every couple of months.
He’s drawing people all the time, and their faces, which is something he’d rarely do in Photoshop. In doing so, he’s discovered a new talent. “Photoshop montage isn't great for faces, you just use a photo, and maybe muck around with that,” he explains. “But with hand-drawn media you can get right into the face. Portraits weren't something I offered before, so I’ve added that string to my bow.”
His influences range from Hockney and Hogarth through to William Burroughs, Robert Johnson and Cecilia Gimenez.
Derek is a self-taught illustrator. During a two-year stint in advertising he learned how to work fast under pressure, and also became a Photoshop wizard. Taking his years of experience and strong composition skills, his hand-drawn style has developed through constant practice, working with other artists, and attending life drawing classes to hone his eye.
Starting off with a rough sketch, instead of working digitally, Derek defines the lines and shading entirely by hand. His works combine crayon, pencil, ink, and charcoal. He usually works on large sheets – about A2 in size – and sometimes wets the paper for a whole new effect. Final artwork is delivered as high res scan.
Edgy, scratchy, loose and experimental, Derek Bacon’s Unplugged style is both candid and expressive. Whereas Photoshop images deliver digital perfection, when he’s drawing by hand he captures the nuances and imperfections of real life, which help make his artworks so beautiful. Illustration with feeling. His plan is to continue adding to his mix of media with etching, monotypes and cyanotypes next on the list, so keep checking his portfolio for the latest.