On-Edge Paper Art Illustration - Rebekah Jenkins

Dimensional paper art by Rebekah Jenkins in the U.K. first caught my eye when she began posting lifelike animal portraits on Instagram. Believe it or not, color shading stems only from shadows created via narrow paper strips that have been glued on edge. No paint is applied to the background, nor are guidelines sketched in place, yet Rebekah manages to convey remarkable expressions. I can't resist this face!

Quilling Paper Art Dog Portrait

Isn't it remarkable that snips of stiff paper can take on the look of soft fur?

Paper Art Bumble Bee

Here's an in-progress portrait of Frida Kahlo, an example of the way Rebekah uses an image as reference.

In-progress paper art illustration of Frida Kahlo

A blue tit was one of her earliest projects that shows color shading in action.

 Paper Art Blue Tit

Wanting to know more about Rebekah's artistic background, I wrote to her.

Tell us about yourself and how/when you discovered the type of paper art you do.

I have always been creative and dabbled with all sorts of arts and crafts, but never really found anything that resonated with me deeply. I eventually did a foundation degree in illustration wanting to be a children's book illustrator, but kept getting drawn towards textiles, my other love.

Paper Art Dog Portrait

In an effort to combine the two, I began experimenting with an embroidery foot on a sewing machine that allows you to essentially draw with cotton thread. While researching embroidery on the Internet about three years ago, I came across an artist, Yulia Brodskaya, who uses quilling techniques in an illustrative way and something just clicked. A fire was ignited.

Paper Art Portrait - Man with Bird

In the meantime, to raise a bit of cash I had been drawing coloured pencil portraits of people and pets. When I discovered quilling, it seemed to to be a lovely way of creating hair, fur, and feathers so I began a series of British wildlife pictures with some success. The portraits and quilling seem to marry very naturally and the pet portraits began. Each new one is my favourite!

Paper Art Cats Portrait

What do you enjoy most about creating portraits?

I love the texture of the paper and how the image seems to change as the light shifts throughout the day. It feels to me like drawing with paper which is exciting.

Paper Art Border Collie  
What are your favorite tools?

I use very little in the way of equipment. Tweezers, needlework scissors, coloured paper strips, and PVA glue. As a child I had a pair of scissors that resembled a bird. Using needlework scissors again has reignited a love for decorative scissors and a new collection is beginning!

Paper Art Dog Portrait

Have you had the opportunity to show your work in galleries or exhibits?

As I haven't been making the portraits for very long and only do it in my spare time, I haven't yet exhibited. I have plans to join a local art trail this summer and am also going to be involved in an art project with other local artists for a hospice to raise money for them.

Rebekah Jenkins is on Instagram (@rebekahjenkinspaperartist) and Facebook, and can be contacted via email at rebekahjjenkins@hotmail.co.uk if you would like to commission a portrait.

Ann Martin
Ann Martin

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  1. Wow, Bek’s Workm is amazing in its detail and beauty!! I’m in awe. Thanks for featuring her, Ann. My bet is that she’ll have an exhibit very soon. :-)

  2. This is the most amazing quilling I have seen. So lifelike

  3. You are a very talented person, I'm in awe with what you have shared with everyone that visits your site they are beautiful. I only dream of making such creations, and you shouldn't hesitate in exhibiting your work.

  4. Just beautiful....keep them coming, we love to see them.

  5. It is jaw-dropping to have a chance to see this paper art. Thank you for providing such a chance to see more arts as you usually do.


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