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The Pencil Portrait Drawing Process - Step by Step

When I work on a commissioned pencil portrait drawing I will ask if you would like to see photographs as I progress. Many clients love to see their pet appearing from the paper in this manner. 

It can be scary from my point of view, as most pencil portrait drawings go through what is commonly called the "ugly stage". As the work is undertaken in many layers, to begin with the drawing can look washed out, with no vibrant colours. 

As you will see by the following examples of step by steps, I normally start with the eyes or other prominent feature. I like to see the animal or bird coming to life as soon as possible in the process. If I am not happy with the eyes then I start over.

Just to note, that as these are quick snapshots taken on my phone, they are not colour matched, so there is some variation within the series for each pencil portrait drawing. This is because the lighting can vary, depending on the time of day I take the photograph. 

When the drawing is complete a high resolution scan is made so that my client can see the drawing at its best. 

The content of this page will change from time to time, as new projects are completed. 

Baby Elephant

I completed this drawing in July 2020. It was based on a photograph taken by Peter Wood, who gave permission for me to use it for this portrait. 

Peter was on a safari to photograph big cats when he encountered a small group of elephants. Amongst them was this new member of the family and he couldn't resist photographing him as well. 

Baby Elephant
original 13 x 9 inches
Fabriano 5 Watercolour Paper

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