From afar, French artist David Bayo’s portrait might look a regular portrait (albeit a STUNNING one), but look closer and you’ll see that it’s made up of dots – about three million of them!
For his artwork, titled Astree, the Strasbourg, France-based creative used a technique called stippling. It’s wherein in an artist makes an image using varying shades and sizes of dots. For this one, Bayo spent 300 hours (or 12.5 days non-stop) to finish it.
The video above shows Bayo at work. Don’t worry, it’s not 300-hours long. He sped it up to show just how much time and effort goes into the making of his drawings.
“The central point of every (one) of my drawings is definitely the delicacy of the pencil/pen line which is my major concern. It gives that kind of ‘hazy/evanescent’ look and a general rendering really accurate/realistic,” he said.
“I can spend hundreds of hours on a single piece, slowly building layers and trying to focus on this particular look I’m really fond of.”
Aside from pen and pencil, Bayo also works with other mediums, such as graphite, charcoal, and paints. We spoke to him recently to learn more about his art. Have a look:
Tell us a little about your background – what path led you to becoming an artist, and to doing what you’re doing today?
“I’ve never really been the kind of guy that always hangs out with his sketchbook and pencil. Though I’ve been interested in art since I was a child, it wasn’t my true passion.
“I think my last year of high school was the starting point of this choice/journey. I discovered a lot of fine artists who radically changed my way of viewing art in general and the feeling I experience about it. It was evidence that I needed to do the same.”
How would you describe your work?
“Since I like to use various techniques depending on the portrait, I think I can’t be put in under one particular style. However, I’m really trying to connect to each of them in a way that they don’t conflict with one another.”
Can you give us a little insight into your creative process?
“Whether I’m working on a stippling, an animal portrait or a female subject, my way of processing is quite always the same.
“I begin by doing few sketches to get a rough idea of what it would look like in end. Then I rework those first drafts until I’m satisfied with the result. From there, the real work starts.
“My style is inherited from the old Flemish painters who used the layering technique to create very soft textures and give a kind of ‘hazy’ look to the subject.”
How long does it usually take to finish one artwork? And what’s the most challenging aspect of it?
“It can vary tremendously depending on what I am working on. To give you a rough idea, I often spend around 20-30 hours on an animal portrait which seems ridiculous compared to the hundreds of hours I need to complete a stippling. It really depends on the technique, the size, and complexity of the drawing.
“I very much enjoy to see a drawing slowly coming to life and I’m not afraid to start one knowing in advance that it will take a lot of time. It’s quite challenging.”
Do you have a favourite amongst all your illustrations?
“My favorite piece of mine is usually the previous one I make. I always want to push further my technique and my creativity.”
Lastly, what are you working on next?
“Since I just finished a rather complex Stippling that took me lot of time and work, I think I’m going to do few animals but I can’t wait to start the next one of this series. Astrée was about Ancient Greece. The next one should be about African influences.”