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Artist Showcase: Annabel Johnston


Annabel Johnston is English—at least by birth. While growing up she moved around so often that she lost track of where her real home was. 

Her father was in the military and was frequently reassigned, forcing an uprooting of her family two to three times a year. 

Though consistent inconsistency marked her childhood years, Annabel never faltered in her love of art. At 18 years old, during a yearlong stint in Florence, Italy, she had the opportunity to study life drawing and portraits under artist Signorina Simi. She adored the experience but never felt the desire to pursue it further. Annabel moved back to London, where she did a few commissioned portraits, but soon she convinced herself that she wasn’t an artist and gave up drawing.

Don’t worry, her story doesn’t end on a depressing note.

In 2007, while sitting at the kitchen table, Annabel was struck with an epiphany. She knew in an instant that she needed to start drawing again. From there she called up a friend and asked for a picture of a grandchild she could draw. That was it; from there Annabel says “she never looked back.” After a 30-year vacation from drawing, she was shocked to find that she could still capture a likeness with her pencils.

Annabel’s biggest frustration comes when drawing hair. She’s enlisted the help of several books and tutorials, including Darrel Tank’s How to Draw Hair tutorial, and is happy with how she’s advancing. When she looks back on all the time and memories she wasted by not drawing her friends’ children when she was younger, she feels a little frustrated. But the stack of drawings of those same friends’ grandchildren sitting on her table quickly reminds her that she has years worth of material and catching up to do.

If you would like to see more of Annabel’s artwork, or get to know her better, feel free to check out her profile at

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