Area Artist Makes Points, Gets 1st Prize with Portrait of Elvis Judges Say Collinsville Resident's Drawings Are on the Dot

Article excerpt

Dennis Jackson of Collinsville is this year's king when it comes to drawing the King of Rock 'n Roll.

Jackson's intricate dot drawing of Elvis Presley beat all other entries in the professional division of the "Elvis Art Exhibition and Contest" at Graceland, Elvis' mansion in Memphis, Tenn., last week.

Jackson, 36, won a blue ribbon and congratulations from the Graceland staff.

But he said Monday that the real reward is the publicity this gives his fledgling career of making painstaking dot drawings of country and rock stars and selling prints of the portraits.

"We're really excited about the whole thing," Jackson said of himself and his family, who recently incorporated as Dennis Jackson Graphics to market his drawings.

His winning artwork of a young Elvis from the mid-1950s "took about 580 hours to finish," he said. "It's probably the best portrait I've done so far."

Why so long?

Because Jackson uses only an artist's pen and ink to create images dot by dot - in a technique known as pointillism, or stippling. He does a light sketch of his subjects and then fills it in with dots.

The same technique was made most famous by the postimpressionist painter Georges Seurat, who employed dots of colors instead of brush strokes and allowed the viewer's eye to blend the dots into a full painting.

Jackson's hard work definitely impressed a panel of judges at the Elvis contest.

"His work is wonderful," Shirley Conner of the Graceland staff, chairwoman of the contest, said Monday in a telephone interview.

Conner said that Jackson's drawing of the King was judged the best in the professional artists' division among 98 entries from across the nation. …