Born and raised in rural Illinois, John Webster was always attracted to art and drawing. At the age of sixteen, he was first introduced to pen and ink by his high school art teacher, Ric Johns, who was better known for his coaching abilities on the football field than for his classroom lectures. But if not for Coach Johns’ guidance, John Webster would probably not be working in pen and ink today. During one of Coach Johns’ classes, the teacher handed out several pen and ink sets, and John took to this new medium like a fish to water.
Pen and ink is the traditional method of using a pen to transfer India black ink onto paper or some other surface to create images; or in John’s case, photorealistic drawings that look almost as real as the photos themselves. There are two commonly used techniques to do this: one is by putting millions of small dots down on the paper or other flat surface to create shapes and shadows that, when viewed from a distance, blend together to form an image. The second technique is to use crosshatching to form the desired effects. Crosshatching is the use of lines tightly or loosely grouped together to form a drawing. Most pen and ink artists usually use one technique or the other to create their drawings. John employs both techniques to achieve the photorealistic results of his drawings.
John’s main focus as an artist is to create drawings and works of fine art that are intricate, dynamic, and striking in their appeal. One of the things that sets his work apart from most other ink artists’ is the size of his drawings, some of which are several square feet and took hundreds of hours to render. One of these pieces is a detailed recreation of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, expanded to four foot wide by six foot tall. Another of John’s amazing drawings is a life sized depiction of a girl on a couch; this image is four foot high by eight foot across and took over a year to complete, making it quite possibly the most intricate pen and ink drawing in the world of art, if not the largest. John was attracted to pen and ink early on because of its black and white nature, but a few years ago he started employing color in his work, intergrading pen and ink with acrylic paint, paint markers, and watercolors to create stunning new works of art that are vibrant and fresh.
John’s subject matter is diverse and includes subjects that he finds both enjoyable and challenging to draw. Early on, John studied some of the old masters such as Leonardo da Vinci and Vincent van Gogh to better learn their techniques. Using methods of shadowing and line that he learned from these great teachers, John developed some of the styles that he still employs today. After recreating some of the greatest works of fine art in pen and ink, John moved on to ink several historical portraits to teach himself how to better render portraits on a large scale. From historical portraits, John diversified his subject matter to include modern portraits, figurative pieces, musicians, and pet portraits. Although John’s subject matter and themes are diverse, there is one absolute criterion that he adheres too: that each drawing and rendering is a masterpiece of fine art that will stand the test of time.