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Artist Feature

By Framd | 13 May 2019

The Musings Of A Pencil Artist

In the first of a series of blogs where we put our artists in the spotlight, we talked to James Schein from London. James has been a Framd member since October 2017 and is currently working solely in pencil. He talks to us about his biggest fans, frenetic inspirations and what it’s like to draw obsessively at the National Gallery.


Photo of James Schein drawing in the National Gallery

James Schein sketching at the National Gallery photo taken by Mario De Meo
Did you study art before becoming an artist?

Yes. I began my art and design studies at Kingston Poly, moving on to a commercial art degree at Maidstone School of Art, then to St Martins College, where I took a post-graduate diploma in Advanced Illustration – I feel very fortunate that I was able to fulfil my education uninterrupted at a time when you could study without the burden of student loans.


Is art your full-time job?

That is my goal. Right now, I draw every day, but also practice and teach web and graphic design.


Have you always worked with pencil?

Yes. I have drawn from life in sketchbooks on all my travels, since my teenage years. The pencil is the most economic means to facilitate this.  


What inspires you?

I get great inspiration drawing frequently in the National Gallery at Trafalgar Square under the alias of The Artist in the Gallery Hall. I am excited by the activity around me and by the visitors watching me draw. The gallery is the perfect place for me to feel driven, where a pleasurable tension is created – the constant stream of visitors set against the drama of epic subjects and the gallery interiors, enhanced by a driving soundtrack – all these aspects contribute to a heightened, anxious excitement, something I use as a stimulus. Often, I achieve a state that is a kind of ‘jouissance’ as the French have it – a physical and intellectual pleasure or ecstasy. I use and enjoy the tension enveloping me to draw extremely quickly. Such frenetic activity is at odds with the stillness I might experience art-working in the studio.

James Schein Drawing
James Schein the artist


Where else do you draw?

I enjoy drawing at train stations, in cafes, parks, anywhere where I feel inspired really. In such places, I tend to draw at intense speed, often creating quite detailed images in a matter of minutes, working with a pencil in either sketchbook or at larger scale [A1/ A2] and might occasionally use Adobe Photoshop to add colour and other forms.


Who are your greatest fans?

Due to the frenetic nature of the drawing, my pieces often portray fragmentation and I tend to attract buyers who are comfortable with these layered and often chaotic representations. Interestingly, the work appeals to a majoritively female audience.


What do you love most about being an artist?

My first memory of praise and appreciation was drawing at primary school. Subsequently, I was always consoled by pure painting and drawing. As I grew older, I felt the pressures of an expectation to compromise commercially, leading to a choice of Illustration rather than Fine Art as an area of study. For many years, I put drawing in the background. Now, thankfully, it is very much to the fore and I draw every day, associating it with a great sense of freedom and broader life fulfilment. I also appreciate the privacy that being an artist brings and this extends to how I market my work.


What are your favourite things about Framd?

I was an early adopter of Framd having joined in October 2017 after dabbling with other commission-based platforms. I love the fact there is no middle person involved in the sales process, and I know where I am up to financially. I also found the personal webpage option to be extremely useful, as well as the ‘likes’ button which gives me the insight I need when deciding on which work I might upload next. Framd has proved the ideal accompaniment to my prolific Instagram profile and publishing endeavours due my particular approach to the marketing my work.


Check out more of James's work here >>




Pencil Drawing - Stream of Passengers & Dog By James Schein


Stream of Passengers & Dog By James Schein

Pencil Drawing - Old Man Reading By James Schein


Old Man Reading By James Schein
Pencil Drawing - Sisters By James Schein


Sisters By James Schein

Pencil Drawing - Jungle Line By James Schein


Jungle Line By James Schein


Browse More Artwork Here >>




  • Photos of James are curtisy of Mario De Meo






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