Larry Dempsey interview

Larry Dempsey is an artist who draws curvy women with incredible accuracy on his canvasses. He is a supporter of size acceptance who specializes in drawing tasteful pin-ups and portraits of plus-size women.

He recently released some of his new works which are used in an update of the Curvy Shrine 3D model.

I've done an interview with Larry which you can read below.

Do you draw yourself, or do you use photo manipulation in your artwork?

Yes, I draw myself. I don't do any photo manipulation. Any work I do is all hand-drawn in pencil, ink, watercolor, etc., (with the occasional, minor assist from Photoshop after scanning).

I wondered about the manipulation thing because there is a piece you did which very much looks like a photo I remember having seen.

Taffy Bombshell color drawing by Larry Dempsey
Taffy Bombshell color drawing

Nope. No photo manipulation. That was completely hand-drawn in pencil. You're looking at years of very hard work to achieve that level of artistic ability and photo realism. I did add the blue tint color and glow effect in Photoshop, however.

By the way, the reason the photo probably looks familiar is because my drawing was originally based on a photo of model Taffy Bombshell, but I made no attempt to try and capture her likeness. I chose the photo because of her pose and facial expression.

Wow.. I must say, I am totally blown away knowing now that you actually drew that! That is very, very good! I would be honored to have your work featured on my website.

Thank you for the fantastic compliment about my art (and my artistic abilities). They are greatly appreciated.

Here is a black and white version of the same drawing, if you haven't seen it, where you can more easily tell that it really is a pencil drawing (without the PS effects). You can see patches of white, erased areas where mistakes weren't corrected, where the highlights, shading, and shadows weren't smoothed out or blended in. I never got around to finishing it, instead deciding to give up on it, post it ‘as is’, and move on to other drawings.

Taffy Bombshell black and white drawing by Larry Dempsey
Taffy Bombshell black and white drawing

Have you seen the 3D model of the shrine I am building for my website? I have an idea to place paintings in it. I would love to have some of your art displayed there, both to decorate the shrine, as well as to promote your work, and, perhaps (at least for me) the most important reason - to hook into a story I am writing about men who not only admire BBW, but who do a lot of good work for its community.

Yes, I saw your 3D models. After seeing that, and reading what you wrote, it sounds like you have a really ambitious project there. I would love to contribute to it and to support it. Thank you for your generous offer. Best of luck on your project. I'm looking forward to seeing more, as well as contributing to it and supporting it.

It's amazing how you did the hair too! How do you get that brushy look to it? Is there some kind of brush you use?

Nope, no brushes. No tricks nor computer hardware or software, either. Real pencils on real paper. I only use a scanner afterwards, along with Photoshop to adjust the levels of the lights and darks to make it look good (since the initial scans always appear ‘washed out’). I'm old-fashioned. I don't have a desire to draw with computers/tablets, nor do I imagine I ever will.

As for the hair: it's just very soft, varied shading over fine detail work -- which, like I said last time, is really nothing more than years and years of practice to get the right touch and attention to detail.

Yes, I can see that, especially in the drawing you did of Becky.

Becky drawing by Larry Dempsey
Becky drawing

When drawing someone -- especially now that I've started doing portraits -- I don't just try to capture their likeness. I also try to capture their personality, attempting to infuse a little of who they are (or my personal view of them) in that two-dimensional image. I want the viewer to connect with them on an emotional level, and not just look at the surface.

People always compliment me on how I draw eyes, which is a huge compliment because I think that's what I'm best at drawing. I also think people like the eyes because, unconsciously, it's through them that they're making that emotional connection I'm talking about; like they can see inside that person and understand who they really are.

Drawing doesn't come easy for me. It's a very long, very painful process; a roller coaster ride of emotion. I put everything I am and everything I have into everything I draw. It's nice to know that there are people -- like yourself -- who pick up on that.

Thank you.

So is this done with real pencils, or (and) do you (also) work with software such as Inkscape or Illustrator ™ ®? Some people work that way, with drawing tablets you know.

I don't use anything fancy. I just draw with two mechanical pencils (one with a thin barrel, another with a thick one -- the thin one for detail work, the thick one for large areas of shading, as it's easier on my hand and wrist). Both use the standard HB 0.5 lead. Again, nothing fancy. I just vary my weight on the lead to get different shades. I also use a kneaded eraser.

Do you have a website where people can view your works?

Yes, my website can be found at http://www.larrydempsey.com/

OK thanks a lot for answering my questions Larry. I look forward to promoting your work on Curvy Shrine in the future!

Thank you too Coen!

Copyright notice: Images displayed in this post are copyright of Larry Dempsey and are used with permission.