Anneliese Narcisi has been advancing her engraving skills with a study in portraiture, with her first realistic engraving shared just a few weeks ago. Before the self portrait, Narcisi had engraved the likeness of animals and worked on stylized portraits, so engraving realistic portraits was a logical next step. For her second portrait, she chose to engrave her boyfriend’s visage in copper.
We showed the earliest stages of her “Dakota” project last week, when just a few outlines and a soft haze of bulino stippling across the face defined the form. Since then, the portrait has progressed with fine, dark strokes to create the beard, mustache, and shorter hair on the head. Longer cuts define the hair on top of the head.
Instead of continuing with the dot technique she used on the face, Narcisi began experimenting with contour lines for the shading of the coat, creating stylistic contrast between the face and the coat. Contour lines are a good way to define form, curving around each shape to add volume. Variance in the lines’ width creates areas of deep shadow and highlight, increasing the illusion of depth.
The engraving arts have a rich history when it comes to the application of styles. Certain scrollwork and ornamentation is more acceptable on one firearm than another, in part because of origin and in part because of expectations. Historically, an apprentice engraver who learned directly from a master was heavily influenced by one person.
As a student in the Emporia State University Engraving Arts Program, however, Narcisi has the work of hundreds of engravers readily available for observation as opposed to only one master. Her internship in Glendo’s Artisan Alley also provides more time to create, as well as encouragement to push her engraving in new directions. Thanks for sharing, Anneliese!
Have you ever created a project that strayed from or bent the rules of traditional engraving? We’d love to see them! Send photos and story to firstname.lastname@example.org.