Dark art, emotion driven

Des Lacs artist has unique way of self-expression

Lexi Brown’s character “Toxic” was drawn on tone gray drawing paper with Prismacolor colored pencils in August 2019. Ciara Parizek/MDN

Artists use their art to express their emotions to their viewers. Lexi Brown has her own unique style to vent or just create her masterpieces.

Brown has been drawing her whole life but really got serious about it in middle school. Her favorite movie is “The Lion King” and her art started as fan art, drawing her own renditions of Simba, Nala, Kovu and more.

She found a fandom website called Lion King Fan Art and the artists are able to design their own characters. The characters they designed had to be “African related animals,” and Brown created her character Dodge, who she based on a king cheetah. He has front facing bull horns between his ears, showing his stubbornness. His tongue and paw pads are blue and a black fohawk runs along the middle of his head.

His personality is very similar to Brown’s. She chose to use muted colors for him, as she is also quiet and stays more to the back so she won’t be noticed.

As time went on, she created Toxic. He’s what she calls an akuma, which is a sort of demon dog created in a lab by humans that experimented on dogs. At first, they had been based off of great danes for their size and strength. However, she wanted them to be faster and stealthy, so she changed the breed to an Ibizan hound with long lanky legs and lithe bodies.

Ciara Parizek/MDN Lexi Brown has been drawing for several years and developed her own style, and is able to apply it to all of her drawings.

As his name suggests, Toxic’s saliva acts like an acid, being able to eat through a slew of materials.

Lately, Brown has been drawing a lot of Pokemon fan art. She does her own renditions of them, not in the original style. She drew one to look how she saw it, making it look more like a kangaroo. Another she made to look like a sheep that walked on four legs instead of two like in the franchise.

She describes her style as “dark art and derived from emotion.” Her characters have a lot of bone showing, some gore and they have a much “darker” appearance. Many of them are very skinny with ribs and spine showing under the skin.

Back in her freshman year of high school, she got a Bamboo Fun tablet. The tablet came with its own drawing program that was downloaded on her family’s Macbook.

She enjoyed it, but she found it aggravating when the computer would crash before she had a chance to save her work. If it was a new piece, she had to start over again. She prefers traditional art over digital art because a sketchbook won’t crash or need to be charged in the middle of a drawing. “But I really like the undo button,” she said, “and I also like the variety of colors.”

In one of her realistic graphite drawings, Lexi Brown experimented with darker colors and shading in June 2019. Ciara Parizek/MDN

Colored pencils and alcohol markers have been added to her repertoire. She uses Prismacolor colored pencils and another brand from Castle Art Supplies that she found on Amazon. The Prismacolors are wax based, so they are softer than the more commonly used Crayola pencils, which are made from traditional lead and colored with pigments.

Brown’s medium of choice is graphite, and she has been doing a lot of practicing with shading to give her realistic drawings more depth. She doesn’t like having things dark and it not looking right. In an attempt to get more comfortable with those dark colors, she drew a basset hound. The black patch on its back and black paw pads turned out better than she originally thought.

Her other realistic drawing she has done recently is of a white tiger, adding texture in the fur and surrounding it with white flowers.

Artists may use wooden pencils that require sharpening, and others prefer mechanical pencils that only need to be reloaded with sticks of graphite. Wooden pencils can create very fine lines right after they are sharpened, but the more it’s used, the duller the point becomes and draws more broad lines. Mechanical ones can also do the same thing, as graphite sticks come in many different thicknesses, usually beginning at .05 millimeters.

Brown uses both, not having much of a preference.

Ciara Parizek/MDN Lexi Brown drew her own rendition of the Pokemon “Vaporeon” on white drawing paper with Prismacolor colored pencils and alcohol markers in July 2019.

As many know, charcoal can be very messy to work with. Brown has done a few drawings with it, but she doesn’t use it often because of its messiness.

Painting can also be very messy. She bought some oil paint to use for taxidermy work, and she said she didn’t care for it because it took an extremely long time to dry. She does want to become more adept with using paint, but she said she would more than likely use acrylic instead of oil.

“I really want to improve and sell my art someday,” Brown said. Having experience in different media can help her get there and achieve that goal, along with practice and patience. In the meantime, she will continue to draw and do what she loves.


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