My wife and I went to visit my parents this past weekend. Shortly after the busyness of arriving, unpacking, and settling in, there was a brief period where there was a quiet stillness in which most of the house occupants were running errands. The only sounds in the house were those of my father calmly strolling around with my daughter in his arms, the baritone of his voice resonating through the tranquil rooms in response to the lilting syllables she sings in manners of curiosity and wonder. I quietly followed them on their tour of the house and snapped a picture of this tender moment, which served as the reference for the sketch. I felt fairly satisfied with how the hair came out on both figures. I also practiced some reserve in regards to detail and shading this time around. I am amazed at how little needs to be added in order to convey crucial detail as well as how dangerously easy it can be to overdo it. For example, a tiny curve and dot (like a sideways apostrophe) serve as my father’s eye and a previous attempt to lightly detail his mouth blacked-out half of the feature. Oddly enough, the hardest part of the drawing was my dad’s smile. I couldn’t figure out how to convey the side-profile perspective of a smile and it took at least 5 or 6 sketches with pencil before I was comfortable committing it to ink.
Drawing this one out allowed me to appreciate some very true qualities of both my father and daughter that were captured on camera at this particular moment: her, with gloriously tousled hair, looking off into the distance and pointing wherever her wonder leads. And he, a tirelessly diligent man whose strong, mechanical-engineer arms and stiff-upper-lip work ethic are both completely disarmed by, and protectively surrounding, his Granddaughter. To me, this picture is a look into that place where the two are uniquely themselves in a beautifully contrasting way: The strongest yet gentlest of bear-hugs, a small and feather-weight hand resting on a muscular shoulder, and a squint-eyed smile of pure delight cast toward a child lost in wondrous exploration. Such things need no words. Such things comprise the hidden language shared between a Grandfather and his Granddaughter.
For more drawings, please check out the Sketch Gallery.