At festivals in the village, which were almost always accompanied by much drumming and dancing, the women of the village were always singing and playing their karignon — a hollow tube of metal tied to their finger and stuck rhythmically with a striker. Dozens of these bells played together by many women, with their joyous singing and the exuberant sounds of the traditional djembe and dunun drums, forms quite a powerful musical ensemble.
This artwork is included in my book Drawing on Culture: An Artist’s West Africa Travelogue, which is available to purchase here.
Belle Femme Du Village
14x17” pencil on bristol by Dave Kobrenski
A lot has happened between Step 4 and here, and it got pretty intense! There was a lot of pushing and pulling of values, especially in the background. The goal here was to make sure that the all the parts work together as a whole, and that the drawing maintained a good focal point. That meant not being afraid to push the values of certain areas (her headdress, for example) well into shadows so it didn’t compete with the rest of the drawing. Finally, lots of cleaning up of edges and pulling out highlights where needed. In this final stage, I use graphite powder with a paintbrush, and a kneaded eraser, to push and pull value ranges darker and lighter.
Drawing on Culture
An Artist’s West Africa Travelogue
In Drawing on Culture, artist and ethnomusicologist Dave Kobrenski takes readers on an artistic journey of cultural discovery into the heart of West Africa.
“Dave Kobrenski is a gifted artist and musician, and a better anthropologist than many of the PhDs I know. Here is a fine text that depicts people as they are, illustrates their essence, and demonstrates the importance of appreciating, without appropriating, their lives and ways of being.”
— Katherine Donahue, Ph.D, Professor Emerita, Anthropology