ITD's Cindy Smith contributes skills in pencil drawing
to national art instruction book
(Note: The following profile highlights personal achievements and/or interests of an ITD employee. The Transporter welcomes suggestions for similar stories on other ITD employees. Please send story ideas to email@example.com)
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Cindy Smith has been drawing for as long as she can remember. As a child, she studied the art instruction books of Walter Foster Publishing. Today, Smith is professional artist whose realistic drawings are often mistaken for photographs.
“I’ve taken it a little further than a hobby,” Smith said.
An understatement, indeed.
The self-taught artist not only garners awards for her artwork, including a coveted “Purchase Award” this year from the Western Idaho Fair, but just finished work on two books for the publishing company that once helped teach her to draw – Walter Foster.
“The Art of Drawing Animals” features Smith and four other artists demonstrating techniques for drawing lifelike animals. The book will go on sale internationally Nov. 1, however an autographed copy may be purchased from Smith anytime. “Baby Animals” is her solo effort for the publisher and will go on sale next July.
Smith recently turned an artist’s eye to “Idaho the Gem State” featuring Betty the Butterfly, a new coloring book for children published by ITD’s Office of Highway Operations and Safety. The publication follows Betty the Butterfly through the Gem State, looking for nectar. Along the way she meets a number of friendly animals that rally around her environmental message to keep Idaho clean and to recycle. The coloring book includes puzzles and highway safety messages.
“My first love is wildlife, nature and the outdoors,” Smith said.
The Boise native works primarily with pencil to achieve realistic graphite art that surpasses illustration in its level of extreme detail.
“It’s back to the basics and what you can do with a pencil,” Smith said, noting that she got more serious about her drawing the past five to six years.
“I love the challenge that pencil brings to me,” she said. Her fine art drawings can take from 20 to 100 hours to complete, depending on subject, composition and amount of detail.
“Drawing is an easy hobby to put down and pick up. It’s easy to put aside and come back to,” she explained. “A lot of times I draw while my family is watching TV.”
“I use a range of hardness and softness of pencils,” Smith said. “I also use an electric eraser to draw. This helps punch up certain tones.” She also employs a technique called negative drawing, which actually is drawing “around” perhaps a whisker on a cat to make it stand out.
A hallmark of her drawings is the use of a small touch of color in an otherwise black, white and gray composition. “I am getting quite known for the added touch of color here and there. Folks are starting to look for it,” she said.
Once an original drawing is made, subsequent prints are produced on archival paper using a high-end Epson ink-jet printer equipped with archival inks, including three separate levels of black that achieve the subtle tones and values Smith incorporates in her drawings. The resulting giclée prints can last a lifetime.
Smith accepts a variety of artist commissions – people, pets and an occasional still life. She also teaches drawing classes out of her home each week.
“Out of my seven current students, five are teachers or former teachers,” she said.
Smith is an appraisal coordinator in ITD’s Right-of-Way section where, despite her artistic success, she’s planning to stay. “I’ve got 25 years in – 15 with Ada County and 10 with the state,” she said.
Visit Smith’s Web site www.thepencilpusher.net for more information about ordering autographed copies of her book, purchasing artwork or commissioning her services.
For a copy of the coloring book contact Sheri Sweaney at ext. 8465 (firstname.lastname@example.org )
Feeding Time (Upper right)
When I saw this reference photo I knew I just had to draw it. All of those wonderful textures, the girl’s hair, the shirt, the calf, an explosion of textures! The composition was also very appealing to me.
City Hall (lower left)
This started out as a study on wood with graphite and colored pencil. It really is in “downtown” Adrian, Ore., and has been there for years. Adrian’s downtown is one main street, population 150. A small town's sense of humor!