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My Portrait Drawing Process

the process of a portrait drawing artist

01. You Reach Out

Much like the title suggests, you reach out to me through my contact page. This could be either about a solo portrait drawingfamily drawing or even a pet portrait.

Now, it would of course be good for you to have an idea in mind, however it’s not essential. A short brainstorm never hurt anyone, right?

02. We Discuss Your Ideas

This is where you put your ideas on the table and fill me in on who we’ll be drawing, and maybe even why. Portraits can work really well as a surprise gift, to preserve a memory or simply to exercise your self-confidence.

It’s also the time for you to send me across a HQ photograph of our model, so I get a good idea of what we’ll be working with.

Yorkshire portrait artist
artist from Yorkshire drawing a portrait of a woman

03. I Get Down To Drawing

Now is when the crayons come out, and I set about bringing your hand drawn portrait to life. To do so will usually take around a week, although it may be sooner if you catch me in a quiet patch.

Granted, quick turnarounds are preferable and always something I do my best to achieve. However, I pride myself in what I do and can’t help but be pernickety about the fine details. So if you need your project done for a specific occasion, do let me know well in advance!

04. You Receive Your Finished Portrait

Once your portrait is complete, I’ll package it up along with any other items you’ve specified as part of your package.

Her majesty’s Royal Mail will drop it off and Hey Presto! Your portrait has arrived.

Postman delivering finished portrait picture

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Want to know more about my portrait drawing process? Here's some common FAQs...

The paper I use is the result of a LOT of experimentation. After all, to a large extent the paper itself can determine how a portrait actually turns out. So, the type I use for your portrait drawing is a high-weight A4 cartridge paper. The one I’ve found to work best with my colouring pencils. Plus, it’s supple too and the ideal size for framing!

Although, if you’re after something slightly smaller, I do offer A5 portraits too. If this is something that you’d like to specify, then be sure to mention it in our initial conversation.

While I obviously try and deliver your portraits as soon as possible, how fast you receive them does depend on quite a few factors. Here’s just a couple…

Level of custom – All drawings are done by me (and me only); I don’t believe in outsourcing what I do. So if you do catch me at a popular time, then your portrait could take slightly longer. Equally though, if you catch me during a quiet patch, it could with you a lot sooner than you think. Luck of the draw, I guess.

Complexity – Not all portrait are alike. Some are quite minimalistic, whereas others are far more intricate. Hence why doing a full-body portrait of someone in a Caribbean shirt, can take longer than drawing a headshot of someone wearing a plain sweater. Backgrounds can also require quite a bit of attention too, if of course that’s something you specify.

My creative process – Just like all things creative, drawings take time to perfect and fine tune. The more intricate the drawing, the longer these tweaks tend to take. But, it’s worth remembering that these small tweaks that add depth and can transform a good portrait into something great.

If you’re just after a rough ETA for your portrait, I’d say around a week (excluding postage).

Colour is a HUGE part of my style.

A typical portrait for me consists of one colour, which you’re more than welcome to pick. After discussing your idea, I’ll send you through some suggestions based on your photograph, as well as a colour chart for you to choose from.

The majority of the colours will be towards the darker end of the spectrum – so your rusty oranges, grass greens, sky blues – that sort of thing. And there’s good reason for this.

You see, the more contrast there is between the colour and the paper, the more depth I can work into your portrait, and the more lifelike it looks. Let’s just say that portraits in pastels look a bit pastey, unless of course they’re drawn on a dark shade of paper.

Indeed I do, and for good reason.

The most obvious would be time and travel costs, as coming out to do portraits in person would cost me a fair bit of both time and money. One that I’d then have to then pass on you. Hardly ideal.

Whereas by going from a photo, we can both stay put, you get a hand drawn portrait for a better price and at the same time I’ve got a good idea what you’re looking for. Chances are if you’re happy with the photograph, then a portrait drawn from that photograph should tick all the boxes.

As far as I can see, it just makes sense.

PS/ If you’re after a portrait, but don’t have a photograph, I can recommend you to some of Yorkshire’s best photographers. If this is you, be sure to ask the question.

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