Ian’s eye for detail makes realistic artwork

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If there is one thing that annoys Abington-based artist, Ian Bolsover, it is people assuming his drawn images are photos.

To be honest, I can see how the mistake could arise. Staring at his portrait pictures of animals and people, they are drawn so finely it is hard to distinguish them from photographic prints.

Although the pictures are created using a digital pad and pen, connected to a computer, they are still hand-drawn, a point about which Ian is very insistent.

Ian was born with a disability which left him with very limited use of his left hand and arm. Unable to hold ordinary paper in position while drawing with his right hand, he discovered that a digital pad was a lot easier for him to use.

He explained: “I can draw by hand as well, but I find it easier to use the technology. It was in the early 1990s I started using this, but keeping up with technology, I’ve developed it over the years. Rather than having a lot of pencils, I can change the nib points on the screen.”

He now not only runs a graphic design company, called Niah Graphics, but also takes commissions for projects such as portraits or even tattoo designs, working from the photos or pictures he has been given.

Examining a magnified image of each photo, Ian then works to recreate each photo or picture, section by section, through drawing onto a digital pad.

Ian explained: “Originally art wasn’t something I wanted to get into. I was an administration assistant for the council when I lived in Leicestershire. Then, after eight or nine years, they reviewed contracts and I was made unemployed. Rather than saying ‘I’m unemployed, I will look for the same sort of job,’ I decided to go back to college and study graphic design.

“From birth I have had a type of cerebral palsy and the left side of my body is affected, but over the years I have got around it. Now I’m in the situation where I can do what I do and it doesn’t affect my work.

“I now use a pad of a similar size to an iPad, which has a pen too. I did some work for Great Central Railway and one person who saw it said I had just Photoshopped it and that it wasn’t an original; it does annoy me when I hear that, but I wish people could put a magnifying glass on it and see that it is an artistic piece of work.”

Ian’s work is currently on display in Leopold’s Coffee House, in Abington Street, Northampton.

To contact Ian, log on to www.niahgraphicdesign.co.uk or call 07530423912.