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Meet the Artist
A Bird a Day...
- Written by Vanessa Champion Vanessa Champion
Christopher Durant is a popular artist on Facebook not least for his bird journals. A quick look at his page will reveal a lively engagement and love for our feathered friends. We recently got in touch with him, and found out that he loves the Strathmore 400 and 500 series! He is now a convert to our toned tan journal! We caught up with him and asked him a little about his work and what he is inspired by.
1.So tell us a bit about yourself. How long have you been an artist and what got you into it?
Hello. Well I'm 27 years old, soon to be 28 and i have been drawing pretty much all my life. Ever since i was around 3 years old I was fascinated by many things and my ability to draw helped me understand things better. If I was passionate about something new or wanted to learn more, I would draw.
I gave it up for a while after a teacher at secondary school did little to inspire me, and said I wouldn't achieve much if I ever ventured into an artistic related career. I am thankful I returned to what I love doing the most and I have been drawing for around 5 years now. I draw everyday and it's my main passion to improve my drawing ability and help others along the way.
2.What media do you love working with most, is it pencil? And why is that in particular?
My favourite media is definitely pencil. It used to be graphite pencils only. I was quite good at drawing with graphite but felt my drawings lacked any real depth. I made a brave decision to venture into coloured pencil work, which could have ended in tears as I was always very bad at using coloured pencils, and without any real motivation and the comments i received when I was at school I could have failed miserably.
My first real attempt at a coloured pencil drawing was a kingfisher. To this day it is still one of my most famous drawings, having been shared on Facebook and Instagram thousands of times. When people visit my Facebook page, that's the first thing they see, and it's my little treasure. I'm very proud of that drawing and it gave me the confidence to develop my own style and work even harder on getting to grips with coloured pencils.
3.You had a fabulous project ongoing, using a journal and creating a series of birds, what got you started on that?
Yes that's right! I bought a plain red book once as i thought it would come in handy for some quick sketches and wasn't meant to be anything special. When I decided to become a bird artist and draw birds continuously i thought it would be a good idea to have a full journal dedicated to them. I simply called it the "Bird Journal" and it has some of my greatest coloured pencil drawings inside. I love drawing in it, it's a very special book. There is a lot of added pressure drawing in the book though, as I don't want to make any terrible mistakes. So far it's pretty neat, and a lot of my fans on my page love them, which is always a bonus!
4. I find that a journal is so personal, it has to inspire, and different paper and bindings inspire in a different way. You are using the Strathmore Journal at the moment, which one are you using and how are you finding it?
The toned tan journal is of exceptional quality. In all fairness I have only ever done artwork on pure white paper, as it is what I am accustomed to The last time I did a drawing on coloured paper was when i used to draw on cheap paper when I was around 6 years old. This is pure artist grade paper. When I started I had my doubts i could create anything worthwhile as it was my first attempt with the paper and of course I am used to drawing on white. After around an hours drawing I was completely in my element with it, and fascinated by the fact I could use a white pencil for a change. I did a drawing of an Eastern bluebird, a quite striking bird with a beautiful vibrant blue that shone. It really pops out on this paper, and it is a journal I will be spending a lot of time with.
I will be calling this journal "The Birds Nest"
5. You love Strathmore 400 series you said, what do you like most about it? We have a wide range in Strathmore 400 Series, from Drawing to Watercolour, Coloured Pencil to the ArtAgain recycled paper, which do you use?
Strathmore 400 is a beautiful paper, as is Strathmore 500 which i also own. I have a Strathmore 400 sketch unit and Strathmore 500 Bristol board in plate form for my detailed work. I have a lot of paper from around the world, and Strathmore is always exceptional to work on and is always reliable in terms of performance and giving you the confidence to create a great piece of artwork on.
6. You are known for your love of birds, what is it about birds in particular that make them a good subject for artists and for you in particular?
Birds to me are the most beautiful creatures on Earth. They inspire me everyday. It's not like a rare animal you goo to a zoo to look at, you seem them everywhere and you hear them sing, so it's constant inspiration for me . People always associate artists like Monet to his water lilies, and I wanted people to remember something about me. When I'm long gone I want my work and myself to live on as long as possible, so hopefully when people see a bird they think of me. That's the power of drawing and making people raise their awareness of a beautiful subject
7. Heaven forbid it should happen, but if your studio burnt down, what would you rescue and why?
My drawings. they may seem trivial to others, but when you put your heart and soul into them they become a part of you. Pencils, art equipment and buildings can be created again and will look exactly the same. A drawing is unique and means something. A total one off.
8.If you were a Strathmore paper, which one would you be and why?
Toned Tan! It's easy on the eye, great to work with and reliable. I hope I wouldn't have to choose to become a type of paper though, my art career would be over ! haha
9. If someone wants to get hold of you, which website and social media links are best for you?