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  • Writer's pictureKOH-I-NOOR HARDTMUTH

"I really love the art of old masters!" • Zophie

Zophie is a young and talented artist from Germany. Based on her great portfolio that you can see, for example, on her Instagram, it's hard to believe that she's a self-taught artist. You definitely shouldn't miss her work and also the following article!

Hello, Zophie! How long have you been dedicating yourself to fine art?

During the winter months of 2021, I started to take drawing and studying fine art seriously. From what I realised many art students do in the academies, I began to do Charles Bargue studies and tried cast drawings as well. It was a really good way to explore drawing form, light, and shadows. Since then, I’ve been on a learning journey, focussing on representational art and finding my own voice within it.

You take artistic creation very seriously. Are you completing, or have you completed any professional art education?

I am mainly self-taught. Last summer, I joined an online course by Stephen Baumann on Patreon and learned a lot there. However, usually, I simply learn by observing closely and studying my favourite artists’ works.

It’s definitely a dream of mine to be taught by a professional artist in the future.

You have our respect for being a self-learner! For what reason did you decide on the portraiture of people?

Since I was a child, I have mostly drawn people and especially faces. There’s no specific reason, just a great attraction towards the beauty of human beings and the emotions that portraiture can communicate.

Beautifully said. What do you prefer, drawing or painting?

At the moment, I prefer drawing over painting because it’s easier for me. Although painting is more difficult, it is also very fascinating, and I will definitely practice it more often in the future.

I’m still adding to my experience and trying various artistic tools and media. I recently discovered drawing/painting with oil pastels and love the results a lot, even if it takes much longer and is tedious work to get it right.

You also take inspiration from the art of old portrait masters. Who are your favorite artists?

Oh yes, I really love the art of old masters! Like many other artists these days, I also like the paintings by John Singer Sargent especially. I was able to see his „Lady Agnew of Lochnaw“ in the Scottish National Gallery in person and immediately fell in love.

The German portraiture artist Franz Xaver Winterhalter is another great inspiration to me and besides that, I enjoy many impressionist artists like Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Frank Weston Benson, and Vincent van Gogh. Last but not least, Gustav Klimt with his very unique stylization is also a huge role model to me.

Talking about big names in art, what is your favorite period in art history and why?

I would say it’s the French and American Impressionism for sure. I adore how artists were capturing light with paint and used those brilliant and vibrant colours for the first time. I also like the not overly realistic but still recognizable and not too abstract depiction in many artworks of this period.

We absolutely love impressionism! You also like reading about art. What books do you think no artist should miss?

A good book about anatomy for artists is very valuable and worth owning to learn about the human figure. Without a basic knowledge of anatomy, it’s not easy to draw a convincing portrait. The Charles Bargue drawing course is another great book to study the basics, and any book by James Gurney is worth the money spent because they are packed with gems about any aspect of drawing and painting - „Color and Light“ is my favourite one.

Thank you for the great tips, but let's go back to you. Where do you find subjects for your work? Are your models just random people, or do you also create custom portraits?

Both. I focus on photos most often and try to find those with an interesting depiction of values. For example, a little light traveling over the face is always sparking interest in the viewer. There are wonderful websites where you can use any photo as a reference for free, for example, My other passion is taking photographs by myself. All of my photos are taken and edited by me.

So you prefer creating according to a photo rather than a live model?

You might already know by now that I mainly work with photos. I prefer working at home all by myself and get very nervous when drawing around others. Maybe I should branch out and one day try a live model drawing class.

This decision is up to you. What products from Koh-i-noor Hardtmuth have you had a chance to try?

I saw another artist online using graphite pencils from Koh-i-noor Hardtmuth, and they recommended it, so I searched my local art supply store and found a set of graphite pencils. It was the first time coming across your brand, and I enjoy working with pencils a lot.

That's great! What technique is your favorite?

For drawing with graphite, I enjoy blending with a paper stump or paint brush to create smoothness a lot, and when working with oil pastels, it’s heavy pressure blending, colour mixing on top of each other, and also smudging with my fingers or cotton swabs.

To conclude, we have a tricky question. Where would you like to see yourself in 10 years concerning fine art?

In 10 years, I would really love to be able to create all those artworks I am not skilled or patient enough to do yet and communicate strong positive emotions with my art. It would also be great if by then I could exhibit my best works in an art gallery here in Germany.

Looking at the stunning pictures you create, we believe you'll achieve your goals very soon. Thank you very much, Zophie, for taking the time to answer our questions!



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