Featured Artist Carmen Verdi

Artist Carmen Verdi developed a passion for creating graphite drawings of busy city streets, using a technique that involves thousands of freehand pencil lines. Visit his website to learn more.


Graphite figurative drawing of a crowded New York sidewalk by Carmen Verdi

“From A Distance” Pencil on Paper, 20″ x 16”


After my release from the Massachusetts House of Corrections in January of 2006, my life changed.


Figurative graphite drawing of an elderly man walking down a sidewalk by Carmen Verdi

“Subject Of Debate” Pencil on Paper, 8″ x 21″


I no longer had to draw on the back of intake forms or random white pieces of paper. I no longer had to look at block walls and barred windows while sketching pencil portraits. My drawings were no longer bartered for Ramen noodles, bagged tuna or coffee.


Figurative graphite drawing of people at a bar by Carmen Verdi

“Out at Sea” Pencil on Paper, 20″ x 16”


During the years following 2006, I knew I wanted to be an artist. I began sketching as much as possible, although my work was more like chicken scratch. Most of my work at the time was tonal or crosshatch pencil drawings. I dabbled with pen and ink, watercolor and acrylics for a little while, but I found my love in graphite.


Cropped figurative graphite and charcoal drawing of a woman standing in a lake by Carmen Verdi

“Sarris-Decastro” Pencil and Charcoal on Paper, 11″ x 14″


My drawings are created with thousands of pencil lines that I make with a mechanical pencil, working freehand, without the use of a ruler. I work on sheets of cotton white paper on a large drafting table in my studio based in Nashua, New Hampshire. Each of my art works need between 30 hours to 250 hours to complete from sketch to finish.


Figurative Graphite drawing of rush hour in Manhattan by Carmen Verdi

“The Manhattan Rush” Pencil on Paper, 14″ x 11″


In 2011, I created my first full drawing scene, “The Manhattan Rush,” which I completed using a technique I call linellism (graphite pencil straight lines). This drawing shows a chaotic, yet organized, group of people in their environment going about their busy day in New York City.


Graphite portrait of a man named Arthur by Carmen Verdi

“Arthur ‘A Human Replica’” Pencil on Paper, 9″ x 11″


The emotion I experienced when I finished this work was something I had never experienced before. When I completed this drawing I knew that I wanted to be a figurative artist, although I had created various nature and object drawings, too.


Figurative graphite drawing of two people shopping at a craft fair by Carmen Verdi

“Saturday Afternoon” Pencil on Paper, 16″ x 20″


I couldn’t stop examining the people that I had created in my drawings. I could feel their emotions and motivations, and literally began telling stories to my wife about each individual in the art as if I knew them personally.


Figurative graphite drawing of two homeless people with their dogs by Carmen Verdi

“Reality” Pencil on Paper, 16″ x 20″


In 2014, I began showing my work at local art exhibits, fairs and anywhere else I could display my work. The viewers at the exhibits were amazed by the work I was creating and they wanted more. I began drawing more.


Figurative graphite drawing of soldiers in the 196th Light Infantry by Carmen Verdi

“196th Light Infantry” Pencil on Paper, 12″ x 17″


I eventually created a website and began showing my work in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New York in an effort to become known outside of my studio.


Figurative graphite drawing of a crowd at the Big E by Carmen Verdi

“The Big-E” Pencil on Paper, 10″ x 8”


Today, I continue to create figurative drawings showing the hustle and bustle of city streets and will be working on my first series in 2020. My goal as a figurative artist is to tell a story, to create characters that my viewers can relate to and understand like I do. I want to make a movie—with pencil lines!


Artist Carmen Verdi invites you to follow him on Facebook and Instagram.


Want to stay current on cutting edge business articles from Artsy Shark, plus artist features, and an invitation to the next Call for Artists? Subscribe to our twice-monthly Updates, and get a free e-book on Where to Sell Art Online right now!


Speak Your Mind