Inside the Artist’s Sketchbook: Elizabeth Norman ’16

This feature was conceived as a foray into the hearts/minds of Kenyon’s finest artists through the pages of their sketchbooks. This week, we talk with Elizabeth Norman ’16. 


Ever wonder who created the striking piece near the couches in lower Peirce? If you’re looking at it, the answer is staring you in the face. Elizabeth Norman was sitting patiently in Thomas as I approached her almost ten minutes late and rather flustered for our meeting, having been kept over late in class. Even when I stuttered through an apology, she was pretty chill about it and more than ready to start. She had a large sketchpad, her laptop and some various cups and plates around her.


“Most of the stuff I have in the sketchbook was for class last semester,” she explained as we flipped through a series of nudes she had sketched and one very large pug head. “It’s for a larger study that I’m going to start working on,” she explained, also showing me another pug sketch, this one in a letter she had written for a friend. Both intricate and adorable, they show Elizabeth’s interest in ink portraits, an interest that lead to a sort of signature style for her.


“My professor said that the background of my portrait was too plain. So that lead to this,” she said, gesturing to the spider web of colorful ink behind the heads of her and her friends on the Muppet version of her larger piece. “I covered up the people and just dumped ink on the page.” Getting the ink to do something incredible took a few tries. “I tried blow-drying but blowing on it works the best. Sometimes I have to stop because I feel like I’m going to pass out.”


As a Studio Art minor, Elizabeth hopes to concentrate her American Studies major on animation. She also dabbles in digital art, something that she’s had a lot of success with in her classes this semester. Overall, Elizabeth hopes to “do something different… Something a little unexpected” in regards to her future art. We can only hope that it involves lots of pugs.


(Photo by Hanning Huang ’16.)

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