Sophie Forbes ’25 receives recognition for pen-and-ink drawing and years of dedication to the craft
Journeying through Cheung Chau this past summer, Sophie Forbes ’25 was immediately struck by a particular street lined with clotheslines and the shadows of locals’ balconies. The composition of the street would not only make for an interesting drawing, the artist thought, but would represent the overall experience of taking in the sights of Hong Kong.
The pen-and-ink drawing this V former subsequently created based on this street in Cheung Chau, Hong Kong—titled “Old Street”—recently received a Gold Key in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the highest regional award given by this art and writing recognition program for teens.
“Hong Kong, for me, makes up a big part of my identity,” says Forbes.
Ever since Forbes delved deep into art in middle school, the pen-and-ink medium has stood out because of how the technique can create a variety of strokes in terms of size and shape.
“[I can] pick up a pen and then suddenly it’s all these lines that I make from these pens, which have an image, they have a story,” says Forbes.
Navanjali Kelsey, visual arts faculty member, says that while Forbes is especially skilled in the pen-and-ink medium, she is consistently impressed with the student’s strong proficiency across media.
“In Painting I, Sophie was bold in terms of color usage with oil paint,” says Kelsey. “Having been well-versed with pen and ink prior to St. Andrew’s, Sophie wielded sophisticated rendering capabilities in Drawing I, with detailed and sensitively depicted charcoal and pastel images. Sophie has an incredible capacity for presenting detail, and I am so thrilled that the Scholastic Arts Awards have also recognized Sophie’s talents with a Gold Key.”
Forbes had the opportunity to see the piece on display at the Delaware State University Arts Center/Gallery. The experience of seeing the personal artwork in the gallery wasn’t exactly normal for this artist.
“It definitely felt a little weird,” says Forbes. “But it felt very [fulfilling], seeing my own work of art and seeing … something that represents me and my identity just displayed on the wall for other people to see.”
This wasn’t this go-getter’s first time submitting work to the Scholastic Art Awards. However, it’s the first time that Forbes’s submitted work has received a Gold Key. It was rewarding to finally have fulfilled this accomplishment, which has been a long-time coming, says the artist. This award is the culmination of years of hard work and dedication.
“I don’t like using the word ‘talent’ to describe art, because I feel like artistic skill does not come to you naturally,” says Forbes. “It’s something that I feel like you have to spend a lot of time building, and it is not something that you can just … wake up with one day and do. It is just practice and practice and practice. And I felt like all these skills that I’ve been practicing since seventh grade have really shown to pay off.”