My name is Jake Powell. I have been drawing my entire life. I can't remember a time when I didn't think or communicate in a visual way. Through the years I have worked in many different mediums. From crayon to chalk to oil to acrylic, I have experimented with them all with varying degrees of success. In college, I was majoring in industrial design, but it was in my photogaphy classes that I fell in love and really connected to the black & white image. I gained an appreciation for what makes an exceptional monocromatic image.
It was during this same time that I found myself always with a ballpoint pen in my hand. I would be sketching out the preliminary thumbnails for projects in my notebooks with pen. I would doodle during lecture halls or during the slow hours whilst tending bar and waiting tables. Eventually my doodles matured to copies of photographs until one day I decided to attempt to copy an Ansel Adams photograph of a field of boulders in the desert. It took me a couple of weeks, but when it was done I was pleased (and I wished that I hadn't begun on the back of a children's menu.) This is when I realized that I could do something special. So from that point on, I have refined my process, my preferences regarding subject and also the paper that I work on, but a few things have remained constant; all my work has been on a standard 8 1/2 x 11 sheet and all of my work is done with a standard black "round stick" bic ballpoint pen.
(2/23 edit) - I have now also been experimenting with colored medium point bic ballpoint pens.
About the work
I am often asked, "How long do these take to do?".
Well, I don't have a simple answer. Maybe someday I will keep a chess clock next to my current project, but until I do, the best guess is based on the span from begining to end of an average piece which varies from piece to piece depending on my state of mind and the current state of my life.
The short answer is, 6-8 weeks, on average, in my spare time. Lots of what I do is done late at night in front of the television.
However, it gets a little more sticky when I factor in the inevitable moment(s) during each drawing where I get either frustrated or burned out and set the thing down for a rest. During my most prolific times, I actually had multiple drawings in different stages of creation in order to combat this very thing. For example, I remember working on the guitar strap on Willie Nelson's chest and flipping to work on the intricate shading of Hunter Thompson's cigarette smoke.
In the past couple years, aside from one landscape piece that I did for my grandpa, I have not created very much new work. I have been extremely busy starting a family and now raising two unbelievable, amazing, twin girls. I have had my hands pretty full.
So here we are, at the precipice of a new artistic dawn. I can feel the creative juices brewing, and I anticipate a new chapter of content is poised to emerge in the near future. The situation is prime and I feel the time is right. Let's hope that something magical can punch through.
UPDATE 3/17- I did indeed have a burst of artistic energy. I've been working on and finishing up three different pieces simultaneously. I have just put the finishing touches on a new Stevie Wonder piece. I'm just polishing up a new Trey drawing and I have one more that needs a little more work, but is almost there. Stay tuned!
2/23 Update - Well I've been busy. I've been experimenting with scale and color lately. I've been trying to learn some new skills while continuing to hone the ones that I already have. Between the quarentine of Covid and lots of time to be creative, I've been generating new art cosistently for over twenty-five years.