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 hand drawn portrait drawing, or you can follow the link below to go straight to the gallery
Commission a pencil portrait drawing from your photos
Graphite pencil is my favourite medium, as it allows for great delicacy and softness. To maintain a light touch, I always aim to keep the shading on faces as minimal as possible. When drawing shadows I avoid rubbing my shading into the paper, which can create a dull effect – instead I like to build up fine layers of hatching which can better convey the translucent quality of skin.
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.
HAND DRAWN PENCIL SKETCH PORTRAITS
For portraits in pencil I draw onto a lovely smooth, heavyweight fine art paper made by a US paper mill called Legion. It is made from cotton fibres instead of wood pulp and is therefore of the highest archival grade and will never turn yellow. I work with my favourite Faber-Castell pencils in several different grades, ranging from HB down to a very soft 8B pencil.
When the portrait is finished I spray it with a specialist fixative spray to stop any of the graphite from rubbing off before placing it in an acid-free 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.
ABOUT THE PROCESS
Follow the link below to read a full guide to commissioning a custom pencil portrait. You’ll find advice on how to choose a size and a pose for your portrait, and what sort of photo reference I’ll need to work from. It’s helpful to take a look through the pencil gallery and let me know which portraits are your favourites. You’re also welcome to get in touch for a chat any time without obligation.
Of course, the most important aspect of the portrait is to capture a good likeness and this is something I work hard to make sure I achieve. The process is very much collaborative, and I’ll ask you to check a scan of your portrait before it’s finished to make sure the likeness is spot on and to see if you want me to make amendments. You can see a comparison with some original photo reference on the feedback page
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 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.
Hand drawn pencil sketch portraits from photos, shipping word wide