About Amanda Kaylon Portraiture

Amanda Kaylon


It's not nearly so much the technique or the talent that make my style what it is. It is my philosophy of art. It is my understanding of how the human mind responds to art. It is my own appreciation for human individuality and all the strange, little ways that the appearance and personality intersect.

My style and process have a goal, and that goal is not to replicate a photo, or even create the closest possible imitation of real life textures and shades. The goal is to give the viewer's mind the freedom it needs to see what it would have missed in real life.

In my process, this means finding out what the photo missed. Once I get my first glimpse of the photo, I start sending questions about this person I'm about to draw. Nothing terribly personal, nothing that requires a long explanation, just a few key questions about their temperament and the things they value. These insights, however simple they may seem, are the difference between basing that portrait on a photo or on the person.

In the drawing itself, my style's purpose is to lead the viewer's mind beyond its first impression, initially of the portrait, and ultimately of the person it sees there. Counterintuitively, the more visually detailed a portrait attempts to be, the less time the viewer spends responding to it. Instead of trying to convince the viewer that what they are seeing is a real person, my dynamic blacks and whites deliberately give the viewer's mind something it can't possibly process as real... but wants to. The human mind's fascination with missing pieces keeps it staring at the ink and pencil, wondering why it keeps seeing a person there. And it keeps staring at the person, wondering why it keeps seeing something about them it never noticed before.

If all you wanted was a copy of a photo, the photo itself would have satisfied you. You and I are both looking for something better than that.