I am Jack Ede, and I love drawing.
HOW LONG I’VE BEEN DRAWING
Like most kids, I was drawing from a young age but not consistently. From what I can remember and from family stories I was always fond of drawing from my imagination and creating little scenarios or fictional characters. Art was always my favorite subject at school but it was rare that I’d draw at home. I started to take it more seriously at the age of 16 when people started to tell me I was good at it and offered me money to draw their family members or pets etc. I found myself drawing during breaks at school, in other classes that weren’t art class. Drawing after school and on the weekends. Whether it was to make money or just for pleasure, it didn’t matter. 2 years later it got to the stage where I realized I was a terrible student and decided to drop out of school. My mind was always elsewhere and school just seemed to be a waste of time for me and my teachers. I was 18 and confused, I had no direction or game plan other than to draw the best I could and take each day as it came. I found myself drawing at least 10 hours a day and sometimes it could’ve been 10 hours straight without eating or walking around the house. There was times I realized i hadn’t even left the house in over a week it was that bad. But like anyone I had good days and bad days, sometimes I wouldn’t want to draw for a whole week, I just wanted to go out or play on my Xbox, anything but draw. However, just before I turned 19 I started a tattooing apprenticeship and that’s when my drawing ability started to suffer and progress slowed down. Of course I was still drawing the odd little thing but I was so focused on learning and committing to a new trade that sometimes it would be 2-3 months where I hadn’t drawn anything worth looking twice at. Although, even though I wasn’t always physically drawing, I was always reading into it trying to educate myself. It’s useful to even take information relating to something else and try convert it so you can apply it to drawing. I’ve spent countless hours indulging in other peoples artwork via social media and all sorts of books, trying to pick brains and understand the processes behind the masterpieces I adored. My mind was constantly flooded with information and techniques I could apply to drawing, I just didn’t always have the time to draw whenever I wanted to due to having other responsibilities. So as you can imagine, whenever I did have the pleasure of sitting down to draw, I made the most of it.
Roughly 2 eventful years had gone by and i had realized i was so off course that it was time to reconnect with myself and focus on what’s important. I always knew i wanted to create art for a living, that’s why I left school without qualifications or having anything to fall back on and it’s exactly why I had to pause tattooing and leave behind the good life i had. As much as i enjoyed independence, moving back home guaranteed 24 hours a day and 7 days a week to work on my drawing ability and build a good collection of work. I know I’m being indirect here but what i’m trying to say is that even though i haven’t been physically drawing and creating art for the last 21 years, in my mind i feel like i have. To total up my amount of experience and drawing time would be impossible. You could say I’ve been drawing for over 5 years since i was 15 as that’s when i starting focusing and improving but i just don’t know. Just typical Jack thing to do and over analyse a question.
WHY I DRAW
Like most artists, I draw for many reasons.
Drawing is something I enjoy and do best independently. Finding a beautiful image or having an idea and being able to sit down, pick up my pencils, put on some music and just do it is nourishment for my mind and soul. It’s a physically and mentally satisfying process. Over the years I’ve naturally become more patient as it’s honestly one the most important factors in bettering yourself and what you do. I used to start and finish a drawing all in the same day because I was so excited and impatient about the process but I’d never understand why I wasn’t happy with what I did, even if others said it was good. I learnt that if I want a drawing to be realistic like the image I’m drawing then I have to accept it takes a long time, and once I started to take my time and notice the difference it opened a whole new area of satisfaction. Another reason I draw is because over the months/years I’d be drawing consistently, I’d be making noticeable progress. Hearing people say “did you really draw that?” or “I thought that was a photograph” is rewarding because that’s generally the goal for my style of drawing. I’ve always been fascinated with the fact a human being can use specific tools, their mind and bare hands and turn a blank canvas into something beautiful. I remember when I first saw photo-realistic drawings and refused to believe they were created just by using pencils, paints or charcoals, I was sure it must’ve been a photograph or at least digitally enhanced. I remember the enriching feeling it gave me and telling myself if I could ever make other people react like that and be this fascinated when seeing my work then I’d be the happiest guy in the world. It’s partly the reason I still draw till this day, knowing that other people do feel this way. People often reach out to tell me they’ve been inspired by what I do or that they’d love to own something I’d drawn. I always remember being told at school that I’d never amount to anything because I wasn’t good at common things like everyone else and I never pay attention. So you can imagine now that I’m aware I’ve focused on the one thing I love and have become good at it, I’ve proved those people wrong. That’s satisfying.
The people from school who never believed in me or had any interest in my art seem to have changed their views on me now that I’m good at something. That’s also satisfying. Not that I desired the attention or approval of everyone, just the fact that by simply drawing I changed the minds and inspired the people who may have never even liked me as a person. The reasons I draw are endless and the list grows all the time.
Another reason I draw is that it opens doors and creates opportunities to travel and meet new people. In the last few years I’ve met certain people who inspired me to focus on my drawing in the first place and in the same few years I’ve also been told by people that I’m the reason that they began to focus and draw more. Ultimately, knowing that if I make the right moves with my drawings and the right people, I’ll be able to draw and live comfortably for the rest of my life, doing what I love. And knowing I can inspire other people to do the same thing makes me feel like my life has purpose and that this is what I was born to do, that’s why i draw.
Many of my methods to drawing have simply come from trial and error over the years. I’ve tried a lot of things other people do and have gradually adapted to create my own method when it comes to creating my drawings. I’ve tried to explain verbally but it’s best explained and demonstrated personally at a workshop or online tutorial for example. But as always I’m forever looking for better and more efficient techniques to get the results I want. Experiences with other artists, workshops and online tutorials can only help so much. I knew early on that I was the only one who could pick up those pencils for me and improve.
A wise method I have and can recommend is simply getting to know your tools. Experiment with them for hours and hours, try to understand the nature of them, test them to their limits to find pressure and technique correlations, find out what colors and mediums go well together to create the best results. Asking other people their exact methods will help to an extent but I find the best thing to do is do everything your own way. At the end of the day, everyone’s brain works differently, we all have different mannerisms and ways we like to work so if you can figure out how to plan out your preliminary sketch, apply your layers and details and know how to consistently chip away at the drawing then you’re golden. The most important thing I can say here is that none of this (like most great things) won’t happen in one day. It takes time to gather methods and create your own way of doing things so just be patient and open minded to trying new things. Another important method is self-criticism and being able to take criticism from others. If you cant see flaws and understand how you made them or why they’re there then it won’t be easy for you to improve. Part of my method is creating checkpoints throughout the piece where I’ll step back and analyse the drawing from different angles to look for an alter flaws. I’ll often walk away from the drawing for an hour or two then come back with a fresh mind and be able find flaws easier and perfect that chapter before moving on. I’ll then have a full run through of everything when I’m done and fix anything that needs it. Unfortunately like most artists it won’t be until after a month or two when looking at the drawing again that I could’ve done a better job on the nose or the hair or something and knowing it’s too late to go back into it. But that’s the beauty of being able to work harder on your next drawing and try your best to make sure you don’t feel that way again. We all know you will feel that way again but it’s an effective method. Anyway, I could talk crap all day but the best method I swear by is Practice, Patience & Persistence. Draw until your heart’s content, be patient and don’t go crazy if you mess up and most importantly, learn from your mistakes and keep going. I can guarantee improvement.
/Disclaimer: Please bare in mind I’ve been through the bare minimum of academic education for art so some of my methods and views may be different or ineffective compared to yours or what you’ve been taught. They just work well for me and it’s all I can suggest.
WHY I DRAW THE PEOPLE I DO
If I’m honest, I started drawing people from third world countries purely because I’d never seen people draw anything like that before and there’s such a wide variety of fascinating cultures and beautiful individuals.
And fortunately there are photojournalists who have been out there taking incredible shots of them. When I first starting drawing faces people always told me I was good at capturing the eyes and the soul and it was almost as if they could depict the thoughts and feelings of the person purely from looking at the drawing. I understood this on a personal level because that’s exactly how I feel when I look into the eyes of people photographed by photojournalists such as Steve McCurry, Joel Santos and Karen Walker. I love to challenge myself with recreating the photograph the only way I know how. Taking on a projects like this isn’t just as simple as drawing it for the pleasure of drawing it. I get the satisfaction of the thoughts that go along with it. It allows me to think into the life of the subject and try feel and understand their situation and how their life has been for them. For example if the subject is a young boy who has nothing but a piece of material to cover his body and and spends his time running around exploring forests and finding natural ways to keep himself busy, it helps me relive my early childhood when I didn’t rely on technology and other people to keep me happy.
Prepare for shit to get deep in 3..2..1.. I was born in the mid 90’s in a middle class family, my parents had money and were always good to me and my brother and never let us go hungry or without the latest thing we asked for. But growing up I gradually noticed some kids had more or less than others and people were judged on shit like this as kids. I’m aware it was around way before my era but the fact that prejudice and inequality aroused from a persons lack of money and assets made me sick. I was a weak kid and fell victim to feeling that I needed to be popular and have the best gear but the more i grew up i realized how blind I was to the reality of it all. I think all of this turned me into who I am today and subconsciously built the passion I have for drawing third world people, simply by teaching me to be open minded and sensitive to seeing and understanding things from another point of view. When I think of the children in these parts of the world who don’t even know what a Playstation or a brand name is, or even a social media society, a corrupt government or news station, you can’t help but assume they’re a completely pure soul. And in the pictures of them you like to see them for who they truly are, everyone seems beautiful, they all have deep eyes you could stare at for hours and you even witness the extents they go through to decorate themselves for traditional celebrations or purely through cultural requirements. Some people wouldn’t wonder why but I personally find it all extremely fascinating and beautiful. I hope helps you understand why I admire and draw the subjects i do. Also, after a while it becomes ridiculously satisfying to draw wrinkled aged skin, painted faces, jewelry and beards, trust me.
My message for this is simple. We’re all human beings at the end of the day, regardless of the color of our skin, how we’re dressed or how we wish to portray ourselves. Stop bullying and judging people for being different and try see things from their point of view before opening your mouth. I also wanted to celebrate and share the beauty of some of these cultures and individuals and bring them out of the shadows. I want my collection to be viewed worldwide and help people come to peace with themselves and others around them.
My message to anyone who shares my passion but hasn’t found the courage to follow your dream, just do it. You’re the only one who can make it possible.
I wasn’t born with special hands or a miraculous ability to draw better than anyone else on demand. I just chose to invest my time in drawing because i enjoyed it and truly believe in myself. It’s taken a long time for me to get where I am today and I know it sounds cliche but any artist will tell you the same thing.
HOW I WISH TO INSPIRE PEOPLE
Like I said at the start, I want people to feel inspired and motivated from seeing and understanding that everything I’ve achieved so far was done through trial and error and thousands of hours of putting my techniques to the test.
Not because I’m some talented miracle child with sacred hands.