Dave Johnson

PRICE: $175


This is a pencil portrait on acid free, archival 80 lb paper (medium weight). Paper has a warm, natural value.
The drawing has been protected with an archival fixative and ships in a poly bag for protection. Shipping cost includes insurance.

I made the images for this listing by placing the drawing on a flatbed scanner, so they’re not the most faithfully produced images. Pencil, particularly when it is dark in value, tends to reflect light, and my scanner cannot reproduce the way the drawing looks hanging on a wall. At some point, I may take a photo outdoors so I have a better image to put on this listing.


There’s nothing special about my process — just lots of cross hatching and some blending in areas of very light value. I work from top down and center out to edges to avoid smudging. I fill in sections until the drawing is finished.

You can see the workmanship (pencil strokes) in the enlargement images. From a proper viewing distance, though, the drawing will resemble a photo. It’s a nice effect.


The drawing is from a photo of bodybuilder Dave Johnson in his youth, and he is clearly a heavyweight bodybuilder. His body mass adds a wow factor and is hard to ignore. Some people will judge that he has too much bulk — he is certainly not normal. I mean, people don’t look like that.

Everybody is entitled to their taste, though, and I consider a bodybuilder to be an example of a crafted product. A bodybuilder is a person, but at the same time they undergo a process that takes years of work and steroid usage to end up looking the way they do. It’s the sort of crazy commitment that aligns with my own drawing technique.

I used to do hyper-realism, and my drawings truly looked like photos. I was once asked: “If your drawing looks like a photo, why not just take a photo?”

The answer came out of a book I read about mastery:
“…one of the pleasures of art making is its resolute inefficiency…”
That is so me.

I hope this suits your taste and that you’ll purchase my art and frame it for your home.