PENCIL PORTRAIT ARTIST
PENCIL PORTRAIT ARTIST
Welcome to the pencil portraits page. Working directly from customer photos I am able to take commissions from anywhere in the UK or overseas. On this page you’ll find information about the process of commissioning a pencil portrait, or you can follow the link below to go straight to the drawing gallery
Commission a pencil portrait from your photos
Pencil is my favourite medium, as it allows for great delicacy and softness. I always aim to keep the shading on faces as minimal as possible and avoid rubbing my pencil shading into the paper to create shadows, which can create a dull effect. Instead I like to build up layers of hatching so that the fine texture of the paper causes tiny specs of bright paper to shine through, a bit like the way a watercolour painting reflects light through the transparent paint. This is particularly important in communicating the translucence of a child’s skin. The technique works well both for paler skin and also for darker skin shades, which reflect a great deal of colour and light.
For a typical head-and-shoulders portrait I like to concentrate the most detail around the face, hair and neck, before becoming more ‘sketchy’ around the upper arms and chest. This helps to keep the focus of the portrait on the facial features and in particular the eyes, which generally reveal the most about the personality of the subject.
When you commission a portrait I like to learn from you something about the character of the subject so I can try to convey this in the drawing.
COMMISSIONING A PORTRAIT
Select the ‘more information’ link below to read in detail about how to commission a portrait. You’ll find advice on what size of pencil portrait to choose, what sort of pose would be best and what sort of photo reference I’ll need to work from. It may also be helpful to look through the pencil gallery and let me know if any in particular have a look that you prefer. You’re also welcome to get in touch for a chat any time.
PENCIL SKETCH PORTRAITS
For portraits in pencil I draw onto a smooth, heavyweight fine art paper named Stonehenge made by the US paper mill Legion. It is made from cotton fibres and is therefore of the highest archival grade and will never yellow. I like to use Faber-Castell pencils in several different grades, ranging from HB down to a very soft 7B.
When the portrait is finished I clean around the drawing with a putty eraser and then spray it with a specialist fixative spray to stop any of the graphite from rubbing off. Lastly I’ll place it within a cellophane sleeve so that you can safely handle it until you’re ready to have it put in a frame. Pencil portraits are sent out sandwiched between custom-cut MDF sheets so that they can’t be bent or creased in transit.
Giclée print copies
If you’d like to give a copy of your portrait made to give as a gift to another family member, I can have a high-quality giclée copy made that looks indistinguishable from an original pencil drawing.
Framing a pencil portrait
I supply portraits unframed, but am always happy to offer advice on what kind of frame will suit your portrait. I’ve written a guide to framing a drawing which also includes conservation advice.
People & pet portraits
If a child or young person has a favourite pet you could consider a ‘joint’ portrait. I have drawn children with dogs, cats, bunnies and even a lizard! It makes for an original portrait.