Posted on January 3, 2017 at 11:15am
wonders with simply a pencil
Justin Labelle’s plunge into the world of arts happened quite some moons ago.
Francis Racine, Francis.Racine@eap.on.ca
“When I was a kid, my older brother used to draw anime characters and I would always be right next to him, trying to draw them too,” explained the man, over a coffee at a local coffee shop. “I used to draw each and every line the same way he would do it.”
So what exactly does Labelle do? Using only a pencil, a pencil sharpener and an eraser, he creates magic. He’s capable of reproducing nearly any picture that is given to him. “The more difficult the better,” he said smiling. “I love it when I see small details, because that’s what motivates me. I draw it for the people that look at them closely.”
As if to prove his point, he retrieves a drawing he recently did. In it are two motorcycle riders with their bikes. The attention to details is stunning. It truly appears to be a picture. “You get some people that look at the motorcycles very closely, to make sure everything is right,” he admitted. “That’s why it took me a while to do it. I did every little wire and curve on the bikes.”
So how long does such an intricate piece take him to complete? “Well it all depends on the size and the complexity of it,” he mentioned, before taking a sip of his coffee. “On average, for an eight by ten-inch portrait of a face, let’s say it will take me from two and a half to four and a half hours.”
The biggest challenges he faces aren’t hand cramps, as most would believe, but headaches. “I sometime get headaches when I draw,” he revealed. “It’s because I go from picture to drawing, then to picture again. That, and there’s also a lot of concentration going on.”
Labelle stressed that when he does encounter a headache, he puts the pencil down and takes a break. “I used to try to finish the drawing as quickly as I could, but I would never be satisfied with the work. I’ve learned to take my time and take breaks.”
The man is also quite humble, admitting that he’s always learning new techniques. “I love to learn new techniques,” he added. “My favorite way of doing that is to watch YouTube videos.”
In them, various artists showcase how to draw in a certain way. Labelle then absorbs the whole information and incorporates it in his future pieces.
Labelle has become a local celebrity, his drawings being viewed by several hundreds of Cornwall’s residents, over Facebook. “Yeah, sometimes someone will recognize me,” he said, laughing lightly. “I’m not one for attention. I’m not what you would call a social butterfly, I like to keep to myself.”
But the talented artist is quick to point out that he does appreciate the recognition. “As an artist, the exposure is great,” he admitted. “I love it when people compliment my work.”
Labelle hopes to someday own his own art gallery, where he could freely expose all of his art pieces. “I would love for people to come in and watch me draw,” he declared. “I’d love for nothing more than to become a fulltime artist.”
In the meantime, he creates drawing by commission. “People send me pictures of what they want drawn and I do them,” he stated.
But even that has resulted in some headaches. “Some people sent me pictures to draw,” he expressed. “But when it was time to pay me, they didn’t want the piece.”
Therefore, the artist has decided to ask for a fee in advance, prior to starting the drawing. “I hate doing that, but I had to.” With the Christmas season being in full swing, Labelle happily said that he’s getting several requests for pieces. “Things certainly have picked up,” he said with a smile.
To view some of Labelle’s work, visit his Facebook page at facebook.com/thebeautifularts/