Friday, 23 October 2015

Portrait Drawing, graphite pencil

I have just finishsed work on the preparatory drawing for a portrait commission.

I don't always do such a finished 'rough' - it often depends who the client is, how well they know my work, and what their requirements are. I do enjoy this stage - it's a great way to get to know the pattern of the faces and sort out balance of tones etc, in order to create a good portrait (as opposed to a copy of a photograph, which is an entirely different thing altogether).

Finished rough with client-led alterations

Also, in this instance, the photographic reference was from a couple of years ago (as provided by the client) and this means the little girl's face has changed shape as she has grown. So it is necessary to use more recent photographs as further poeints of reference to ensure the portrait is a satisfactory mix of truth as it was when the photo was taken, combined with the truth of how the child is seen now. 

I like to start with the eyes, choosing one eye to be dominant over the other.

Once most of the first face was blocked in I moved to the second face. Children's faces are difficult as they are so much smoother with more subtle variations in tone across the flesh. 

At this stage, above, I showed the drawing to the client, as a sneek preview to ensure things were looking familiar to him. He was delighted and asked only that I take some of the fulness away from the jaw on the child - you will notice this if you look at the final drawing at the top of this page. I also softened the tones a lot on bothe faces and finished the background loosely. 
The size is 32cm x 35 cm. I will show you the colour version when it is done. 
Now I'm off to the post office to send the original for approval - fingers crossed! 

Next up: Two day landscape water colour workshop 
In November - Portrait Drawing workshop and Oils weekend. For info email 

The Big Draw - 
As part of the Big Draw 2015, I am holding a Children's Drawing session at The Harland and Wolff Drawing Offices in Belfast's Titanic Quarter on Saturday 30th October. The event is free. For bookings and info or call 028 9073 0490. 
More information here

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