The pencil effect: Local creates memories with pencil
Published 7:00 am Saturday, April 18, 2015
Since he was four-years-old, Picayune resident Talmadge Utley has had a passion for drawing.
The Louisiana native’s first drawing was created with crayons on the wall in his house.
“I used a black and brown crayon to draw a picture of my brother’s puppy,” Utley said. “At first, my mom just saw crayon on the wall, but when my dad saw my drawing, he said ‘wow.’’’
Since then, Utley’s passion for art has grown. His tools of choice are .05 or .07 mechanical pencils, colored pencils and occasionally charcoal.
At the age of nine, Utley delivered papers for the local newspaper.
“They found out that I could draw and I started creating cartoons for the paper,” Utley said.
In addition to his artistic endeavors, Utley served in the United States Navy for six years, worked offshore and worked in the cafeteria and radiology department at Slidell Memorial Hospital.
He currently constructs statues and fountains at Dino’s Stone and Masonry in Picayune.
Utley mainly draws individual and family portraits, caricatures, animals, fantasy art, tattoo designs and celebrity art.
“I love being able to see something transform from a blank page to wow,” Utley said. “Any picture you put into my hand, I will be able to draw it. People love my black and white pictures.”
For Utley, drawing is relaxing. Every square inch of his artwork is composed via pencil, he said. It takes him about three hours to complete one six inch section and about two to four weeks to complete a 24 by 28 inch portrait.
After 49 years of drawing, Utley said his eyes aren’t what they used to be.
“I now use my glasses and my Uncle Everett’s antique magnifying glass,” Utley said. “When my nephews are bored, I tell them to grab a paper and pencil. Drawing relaxes me and if I feel any stress, I do some shading. Sometimes the work gets better the more stressed I am.”
Utley said he wants people to be amazed when they look at one of his pictures.
“I love to hear people’s reaction when they discover the entire thing is drawn in pencil,” he said. “My mom’s dying words to me were ‘you were born to do this.’’’
Utley works by commission so anyone interested in a custom portrait will have to contact Utley at 601-590-5490.