Drawing skills focus on the famous

Someday when she’s a famous country singer, Amanda “Mandy” Ratzloff may be designing and drawing her own publicity artwork.

Ratzloff has combined her love of country music with her talent for drawing. Her work features her favorite singers and actors, including Faith Hill, Toby Keith, Alabama, Mel Gibson and Kevin Costner.

“I like to do famous people,” she said.

Hillsboro High School art teacher Dustin Dalke has been impressed with Ratzloff’s talent.

“Mandy has a very keen eye for drawing faces and figures,” he said. “Listening to country music deeply influences her drive to draw country-western singers.”

While many artists shy away from portrait drawing, that is the work Ratzloff loves best.

“I think people are the easiest,” she said. “I used to make my brother sit down and I would draw him.”

Ratzloff credits her elementary and middle school art teacher, Rita Loewen, with sparking her interest in drawing and developing her skills.

“In elementary school, I learned how to do faces-where to put noses and eyes,” she said. “I can remember kids gathering around to watch me draw. That was when I started enjoying it.”

Ratzloff said she likes to work in charcoal, but she has experimented with many different drawing tools in her art classes. She created a picture of the country music group Alabama using only a pencil eraser and an ink pad.

She still counts drawing as her favorite medium, but she has recently done some painting and has been pleased with the results.

Ratzloff is also creating artwork on the computer in a digital art class. She recently completed a digital art piece featuring the flute she plays in the band.

“We work with special effects,” she said. “We’re getting ready to start claymation. You make characters with clay and shoot them frame by frame with a special camera. You move them a little bit each frame so when you play it back, it looks like they are moving.”

She has found some techniques not to her liking.

“I’m currently finishing a chicken-wire sculpture, which I never want to do again,” she said.

Ratzloff has shown her art in school exhibits and has also entered her work in the Marion County Fair.

“My Faith Hill collage won second place,” she said.

Ratzloff said a lot of her work goes up in her room at home, and the overflow ends up in the attic. Recently, someone expressed interest in buying one of her paintings.

In addition to being an excellent artist, Ratzloff is a talented musician. She has played the flute in the band for eight years and also sings in the choir and the elite singing group Spirit and Celebration.

“I take a solo every chance I get,” she said.

She plans to go on to college next year, but hasn’t yet made a decision about which school she’ll attend.

“It all depends on where I make the cheerleading squad,” she said.

And although she plans to continue drawing in her spare time, she doesn’t see art as her major or as a career. She wants to concentrate on her music talent and become a country singer.

“I’m prepared to do whatever it takes,” she said.

Perhaps she’ll be drawing a self-portrait for her own CD cover one of these days.

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