As long as I remember I've always liked to draw


As long as I remember I’ve always liked to draw.  At first- I was doing it during school, then at work, and of course during my private life. Over the past fifty years, there likely wasn't a single day, that I didn't scribble something on a piece of paper. My school books, notes, drafts of minutes of meeting, are all full of little drawings. I'll play with letters, a word, or a name. I may also use a character, an attitude and even sometimes --- the caricature of a colleague.

I draw in the manner of Monsieur Jourdain, who spoke prose without knowing it (Molière –The Bourgeois Gentleman – act II, scène IV). When you write, you draw, without being really aware that you are doing it!
Surprised? Astonished? Skeptical?
Look at the complexity and the precision necessary to form the letters of each word. Curves, lines, everything is there. The writing is clearly drawing, and can become art when it becomes calligraphy.
Let's come back to the drawing itself. Drawing, not to be confused with painting, is a technique that requires using pencil, ink, chalk or pastel. This can be in black and white, grayscale or in color. For my part, I prefer to use grayscale  and a pencil.

Depending on whether I draw a caricature, a nude, or a landscape I'd take respectively a graphite pencil, a graphite woodless pencil or a mechanical pencil. (See my tools).
For the calligraphies shown in Figure 7, as well as some of the following, I used a mechanical pencil. OK, this is what I do at the beginning. Afterwards I revise them a little bit on my computer.

But why do caricatures? Two answers - I either draw someone and it is because I like them and I want to give them the drawing as a gift. Or I draw myself to create a greeting card for sending good wishes.

But why make caricatures? Actually, it depends on whether I draw someone else or myself:

  • In the first case, it is a gift to share with a person whom I appreciate
  • When I draw myself,  it is to send New Year's wishes

In any case,  a small dose of humor, and a touch of impertinence (neither too much nor too little), is never bad.

The caricature is an opportunity to do a wink: the setting, the situation, the character or the characters, and the text.  Each element that makes up the drawing can be used for it. I would consider it truly successful if almost all components offer one or even several winks.
The best award however, is when the person to whom I give the picture is pleased. The person's  thanks and the large smile is the greatest reward.
 For my greeting cards, the reward is when I receive complaints from people that they have not received it yet.
So, I propose to scrutinize two examples, one greeting card and one caricature:

  • The first are the wishes for this year (Figure 1)
  • The second is John Gillerman, U.S. expert, CIM specialist (Figure 6)

We will start looking at the technical aspects: how the drawing was made, its different shots, etc.  Then the artistic aspects: which messages do they contain and what do we have to understand. Honor to John (Figure 6).

Technique: There are two parts - the background and the characters in the foreground.
These were drawn separately: the head of John, the body lying on the couch, both players holding each other, one with a crutch and finally the one seen from behind. Each part was individually scanned and then the whole is assembled. I use "Gimp" equivalent of Photoshop but with the advantage to be free. For the background, let's be honest, this is a picture fortunately found on the net and which perfectly matched the perspective I needed. The three images in Figure 8 provide a good example of how it was retouched (always with Gimp).
Nevertheless, to give a feeling of homogeneity, the feet of the long chair are covered with tufts of grass. This technique is effective but gives a result which is not perfect. We can see and feel that something is wrong. The other technique would have been to use a light table and reproduce both picture and the long chair by transparency. But in this case, the completion time would have been much longer; I think a factor of 3 to 4. This is not insignificant, when I spend a long time agreeing with myself on what I should do – and my only desire is that the final drawing should be finished.
For example, I made John’s face during the WG19 meeting held in Calgary in 2008, the final drawing was finished in 2010. And above all, what is important is not the graphic "quality", but that the person is  happy. Thus, a picture is the solution.
However, if the aim is to work on a specific representation as in the examples shown in Figures 2, 3, 4 and 5, where the idea was to represent vegetation, it was not a question of scan.

Graphics and winks
First series of allusions: The first sought impression is to make clear that the match is over and it did not go very well (euphemism for the state of the players). John is a soccer coach. We often joke about these coaches with a rounded profile, often well-tanned, sitting on the sidelines and giving advice of a rather questionable level. I exaggerated by putting John comfortably on a 'couch'. Further, he has turned his back to the field absorbed by his laptop without showing any concerns about these four players in visibly bad shape.

Second series: John works for SISCO. He is a member of TC 57, and of working groups 13, 14, 16 and 19 in particular. The group numbers are displayed on the shirts. Who is speaking? The one who wears the captain's armband (left arm). Giving him the number 19 is a wink to the mission of the WG19 within the TC 57 which, as everyone knows, is in charge of harmonization- (somehow, it oversees the other groups). It was therefore logical that this number would be given to the captain. We can see the name of the company, and one of the technical committee on the top of the access doors to the stadium stands in Figure 7a and 7b. Third series of winks: The text is an opportunity for some wordplay regarding the CIM. These comments are also an opportunity to some impertinences recalling how complicated this technology is. Besides, maybe it is not completely by chance that the player wearing the number 13 is the one that seems the most affected. The one who has the support of 19 and finally the one who has the crudest thought. Goodbye John, thank you for accepting that I detailed your drawing.
Now let’s go to the greeting card (Figure 1). When I draw a card, the objective is to summarize or to recall the past year. This year I enrolled in evening classes to learn the fundamentals of drawing, which means the nude. The lessons took place in an amphitheatre, with about thirty students. In the center there is a platform on which the model poses. The professor decides the duration of the poses (from 5 to 45 minutes), their number and their complexity.
Now let's go back to the drawing. From a technical point of view, there is not much to say. The background consists of the wall, the easel and the sheets placed on the floor. Everything else was drawn separately, then scanned and assembled. Let's go directly to the messages, to the winks. I made this card, thinking of my drawing professor. All winks are either for her or are self-deprecating to make my friends laugh.

First series of winks - the wall: it is in poor condition, the plaster of the wall leaving bare bricks. Unfortunately it is the reality - what a pity in such a prestigious place. The TAG on the wall is the acronym of the school:  ENSBA (Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux Arts). The guy at the bottom left, half erased, is the very first pose, which was taken by the model during my very first class. The one who is seated under the bricks is a tribute to Rodin and his Thinker (this sculpture has always fascinated me).

Second series of winks - the four exhibited drawings: they are supposed to represent my progress. Yes, we start from the bottom left and end up at the top right. For the first two, I was inspired by drawings of kindergarten children. The other two, are scans of what I did during the classes. For your information, both were done in fifteen  minutes each.

Third series of winks - the text: Forget what I am saying, which is self-deprecating. I quote the different muscles and bones because our professor uses them to explain our mistakes and what we do not understand. For example, she may say “there is a problem on the position of the skull. There is a muscle here, the "...", which comes from here and arrives there. That means that what you drew is impossible in reality. She regularly goes to the model to show us while explaining. The hand is "cleverly" hidden. I have converted into a compliment what is, in fact, an admission of my inability to draw it.
Actually, I can do it but it's more fun in such a way. Finally there is really a mistake with the easel. Take a ruler and you will see that the bottom is not properly aligned with the top. Again it was more fun to leave it like this.  My professor liked it a lot and she was probably the only one who saw everything, analyzed everything and understood everything.
In conclusion, I would say that I have some little things under way, Christoph BRUNNER, Paul SCARE, Grant GILCHRIST.
I usually sketch people during meetings that punctuate our professional life. So who knows? Maybe one day you will fall under my pen.






Patrick Lhuillier graduated from ESIEE, a French engineering school. He joined EDF Group in 1980. For 27 years his field of practice has been telecontrol - especially protocols - and he worked on it for distribution, generation, transmission and international departments. At present Patrick works for RTE, the French TSO, subsidiary of EDF group, and is in charge of the preparation for the 61850 implementation.
He is a member of the IEC TC57 committee (WG3, WG10 and WG19).

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