Art may not be a big passion for many persons in Barbados but the same cannot be said for 18-year-old Danielle Gill. The former St Michael School student shares a strong desire for her love of drawing and portraiture describes her journey so far as an artist.
Danielle, who is also into poetry and cheerleading, said she began drawing when she was four years old and never really looked back. To date, she has won three NIFCA medals, two gold and a silver, as well as many other awards while at the primary school level.
The avid reader got into drawing portraits for persons two years ago. She recalls it was mainly boredom that influenced her to do her first ever portrait which was of well-known Barbadian disc jockey, Deejay Puffy. This is where it all got started for ‘Danielle Draws’.
“Two years ago, I saw a picture of Deejay Puffy and I was wondering if I could get it drawn, so that night I sat and it took me eight hours to draw and colour it and it turned out pretty good and that was my first ever portrait. I showed it to him and he loved it and from then I was drawing portraits.”
Danielle confesses that drawing portraits takes up a lot of time and she dedicates approximately four to five days a week practising and honing her skills.
“Drawing a black and white portrait can take up to six hours to complete depending on a person’s gender, while a coloured portrait takes about eight hours to complete.”
She admits that drawing leads to her having many late nights and early mornings just to perfect the drawings. “I do at least two portraits a day. Sometimes I don’t finish until like four o’clock in the morning.”
Danielle made it clear that Danielle Draws isn’t only about drawing portraits but she’s also involved in designing and customising logos on clothing. She proudly boasts of wearing clothing she customises for herself.
Having just concluded her Associate Degree in Architecture at the Barbados Community College (BCC), she admitted that balancing school and her passion for art was not very challenging, though it had its difficulties, but she recognized her artistic skills did play an important role in her studies at BCC.
“For me, it wasn’t hard because art goes hand in hand with architecture, so whenever I decided I was going to do work for school, I would set aside time to draw, to practice.”
Danielle did not let the rigours of her degree programme stop her from sharpening her drawing skills while at school. “School life was tough for me, being I would hardly get any sleep, because assignments were packed on me but I would always find time to draw because it was my passion and it was a way for me to relieve the stress from school,” she said.
Next up for Danielle, she is off to Ireland at the end of the month for the next four years to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Interior Design at the Dublin Institute of Design. Her choice to pursue interior design as a career path was due to her tutors at BCC.
“My tutors would tell me that I seem to be more inclined to be an interior designer and then the thought came to me that I can use interior design as a way to showcase my art in people’s homes when I get older.”
Danielle credits her teachers at school for pushing her and supporting her on her artistic path, and allowing her to pursue goals. She also thanks her family members for being there and supporting her no matter what.
“My parents are actually very supportive of me. Every time I draw someone or something, my dad begs to see the finished product just so he could take pictures and show his friends. Mom, on the other hand, always says that I’m really good and I’m too good not to be recognised and I should work on drawing to the best of my ability always.”
Danielle mainly uses social media to showcase her drawings. Instagram and Facebook are the main platforms to show off her creations. Since she has started posting, she has been receiving many queries and clients as well as many well-wishers and she is very grateful that.
More of her art can be seen at the Instagram handle @daaneeeh._draws or the Facebook page Danielle Draws.