OH MY GOD, THIS IS SO HARD!!!
This was absolutely the most challenging drawing I’ve had to do yet, and God knows how much more challenging it’s going to get with the remaining paintings. It is also my least favourite. I could not bring myself to like it. I feel like it is a total letdown when compared with the original.
It took me days just to get a decent enough outline of the drawing. Once I had the first draft in front of me, I couldn’t bear to look at her face. In my opinion, it looked nothing like the face of the girl in the Johannes Vermeer’s painting. The girl looking back at me from my drawing was not the same girl looking back at me from his painting. Where was the mystery, intrigue and enigma in her gaze? How do I get those qualities to show in my drawing?
It took me a few more days to get her features into what resembled a human form. Once I was finally able to get them into a shape that I was mildly content with, I decided to leave it at that. I was not going to risk redoing them only to spoil the whole picture. So I left the drawing lying around for another couple of days to take my mind off it. In that time, while doing a bit of research, I happened to find images of the film adaptation Girl With a Pearl Earring. While browsing through these photos, I found their interpretation of the actual painting using Scarlett Johansson to portray the girl. That was somewhat of an eyeopener for me. Their interpretation, although fabulous, was not true to the original either. It did not match every last detail. Most importantly, to me at least, was the expression on her face. Scarlett Johansson, with her flamboyant beauty and sex appeal, could have never pulled off the understated expression of the girl with the pearl earring. Scarlett’s features are so gorgeously accentuated that it would be difficult to match the softness and gentleness of the girl’s gaze. Also, the way I see it, Scarlett looks more confused, disoriented even, than mysterious or enigmatic. All of that being said, both the original and the film adaptation were beautiful.
That made me feel better about my interpretation of her features, which make her look…well, happy. Yes. My girl with a pearl earring is happy! She’s pleased about something, and she won’t tell you what it is. She’s a mischievous little thing, and I’ve come to accept that about her.
So I moved on to different parts of the painting, hoping that when it all comes together it will start to look better. Once the overall outline was complete and I traced over it to darken the lines, I began applying a major dose of shading to the drawing. What with the colours used in the original, it was never going to look even half decent if I didn’t start employing shading techniques. I’m not very good at shading, and it is something that I usually avoid when I draw, because I always end up making a mess of the image rather than giving it that arresting appeal. But with this one, I had to take my chances, because every part of the painting needed shading to give it the right kind of outline to the contours of her face and texture to the fabric on her head and her clothes.
That done, I had one last task at hand: the black background. Oh Lord, was that a challenge in and of itself. I destroyed eight HB 2 pencils in the process of creating that pitch black background. My sister suggested I leave it without it, but I couldn’t do that. That background emphasizes the drawing and all the shading more than a white plain background would. (On that note, my right hand is not very happy with me today.)
When the drawing was finally completed, my sister looked at it and said that she loved it, because I made it mine and gave the girl with a pearl earring a Disney princess quality to it.
Not gonna lie, I was quite pleased to hear that.