Suzie Wong

Maggie wong

I was on the phone with my father the other day, and we were talking about old movies and TV shows from his childhood. Laughingly, he told me to watch the film “Flower Drum Song,” where I discovered the strident Nancy Kwan. This is her portrait, drawn from a Chinese movie poster for “The World of Suzie Wong” (which I haven’t yet seen, but which strikes me as an earlier version of Pretty Woman set in Hong Kong).

After staying up late one night to read a biography of Dürer, feasting my eyes upon his dazzlingly detailed etchings, I was inspired to try my hand at using lines and cross-hatching for shadows instead of my usual heaps of diluted black ink.  I discovered that working this way to get gradations, you quickly enter a mental thicket.  The lines become a forest that gets denser and denser the farther you go into it.  This is an alluring place that is easier to enter than to exit.  Get what I’m saying?

This drawing combines technical pens, gouache, watercolour, india ink, and a little elbow grease.

9 thoughts on “Suzie Wong

  1. Wow! You really have an amazing talent. Faces, especially the eyes, are one of the most difficult aspects to master and you’ve nailed it here!


    1. Thanks, Yvonne. I do love the cross-hatching in your work, and trying it out gives me an appreciation of the time it takes. It’s a nice little haze to enter… Have a great day. 🙂


  2. That is truly beautiful work Shirley! You did very well with the cross-hatching. I really like the contrast of the yellow and red lettering on the side. It adds something unexpected.
    One of your best!


  3. Thanks very much, Claudia. I would be happy to send a version of this little drawing to you in Sweden 🙂 Thanks, Teagan! I’m glad you enjoyed this one. 🙂


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