ward nipper
D-r-a-w spelled backwards.

When I grew up I was convinced that drawing was my destiny. I was good at it and was encouraged to draw by my parents and art teachers in school. But the true proof of my connection to drawing was being named Ward. D-r-a-w spelled backwards.

Now I am a graphic designer and artist in Chicago. My design firm has created marketing materials for clients in a wide range of industries—from apparel to healthcare, legal to the arts. My professional career began with a form of drawing, as a marker artist creating comprehensives and renderings for advertising. But with the arrival of computers, drawing fell out of my daily worklife and my focus changed to typography, design and marketing. Drawing became a hobby.

After years of drawing nudes in life drawing groups, I have recently started drawing in individual sessions with a model—and relying heavily on collaboration. People are a key ingredient in my drawings, not only as subject matter but also as contributors in the process. Stylists I’ve met in my professional life during photo shoots have loaned costumes and clothes for drawings. Laurie Davis, the owner of Lulu’s at the Belle Kay, a vintage women’s wear shop in Chicago, has loaned dresses and gowns. Models bring objects, clothing and experiences working with other artists that lead to specific approaches and poses.

One of the things that excites me the most about drawing is when my work resembles drawings of the artists and illustrators from the past that I admire, especially the portraitists from the 19th century. This usually appears in the quality of the marks on the page and how they can quickly and loosely describe something specific about a face or a gesture. I love that part of drawing—the unconscious moments that result in something magical. I hope you can see at least a glimpse of this magic in the pieces presented here.

Ward Nipper
April 2010

© 2010 Ward Nipper. All rights reserved.