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Pencil Portrait brought client to tears

pencil portrait commission

I wasn't expecting to come home with a pencil portrait commission when I visited the dentist after breaking a tooth! But that is exactly how this drawing came about.

The receptionist had recently lost her father, and was carrying a wallet sized photo of him around with her. Although she loved the photo, she didn't like the "messy background" and knowing that I am a portrait artist, she asked if I would be able to draw his portrait for her. 

Joe had a lovely face and a sweet smile, so I told her I would love to capture him in pencil. In retrospect, I wish I had asked her to send me a larger copy of the photograph, as when I scanned it into the computer and enlarged it, I found it was very grainy which made it difficult to see the details. In addition, Joe's eyes were in deep shadow as you can see in the close up, below right. I could see it was going to be quite a challenge to get a good likeness of a gentleman I had never met from this photo! I couldn't even see what colour eyes he had.

The pencil portrait of Joe

I like to draw on a Plate surface paper, which has no discernable texture, as I want to create any specific textures with my pencil. There were plenty of those in this drawing, for example the beard and the coat each had their own "look" which I wanted to recreate. I used a variety of grades of pencil and pencil points to depict the hairs in the beard and the fuzziness of the coat.

Older skin is actually easier to draw, in my opinion, than baby smooth complexions as there is more detail to capture. However, some of that detail had to be imagined for this pencil portrait, as it just was not visible in the photo. 

This portrait took a little longer to draw than others, but I was happy with the final result. It was now time to deliver it to the customer and hope that she liked it.

Delivering the portrait

Well, the reaction was amazing! 

"Oh that is gorgeous" she exclaimed. "You have caught his eyes, his smile, everything! That IS my Daddy! I can't believe you've done this from that tiny photo. Oh, I'm sorry, now I'm crying. I love it!"

I think she was happy. :0)

Below is a photo of her with the picture after I delivered it to the dental surgery. She is now going to get it framed and promised to send me a photo once that is done.

Thank you Liz, for giving me the pleasure of drawing your Dad.

delivering the pencil portrait


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