This cast drawing of a nymph by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux was completed in early 2015. I worked on the drawing over a period of about two months. There are a number of aspects to the cast which make it rather a tricky subject. The smile was probably the biggest challenge. It is mischievous, but cheerful rather than sinister. It isn't entirely a broad grin either - there is a slight hint of hesitancy or expectation to it. It took many hours of extremely subtle observations and adjustments to the shapes to bring it to a point that I was happy with.
It is the softness of the features of the cast that make it so captivating, but this also makes it difficult for the artist. It is almost as though the cast was carved in ice which has melted slightly. This is particularly noticeable in the teeth and the eyes, which have very specific yet soft shapes. The key to tackling this was to focus heavily on the transitions between shapes - keeping even the hardest edge somewhat soft. The cast also had a very slight shine to its surface, which I wanted to capture, without making it look chrome-plated.
I had cautioned myself early on in the drawing not to neglect the base - figuring that that could make or break the drawing. As it turned out, by happy accident, this area was one of the easiest parts, and it reached a resolution without putting up too much of a fight.