This is Laura, she's 21 very soon so her mum has commissioned an A3 pencil portrait for her birthday and sent me some pictures of pencil drawings other artists had done so that I could see the style of drawing she wanted. First off I spent a while trying to get the composition and cropping right for the size of the portrait. A close crop with Laura's face quite large would have worked well but we opted for a lovely classic composition to show off as much of her hair as possible. I sketched the main features using a 2B pencil on acid-free cartridge paper. Once I was happy I had a likeness I started to lightly shade her skin tones with an HB pencil to create soft, light, even shadows. Using a softer lead would have left too much of a granular texture and I want her skin to look smooth so I use blending stubs as well as different pencil leads. With the skin tones finely blended I took an 8B to establish the darkest areas of the portrait which included her eyes and the shadows in her hair. A strong shadow on the left side of the drawing enhances the shape of Laura's face while the shadow on the right remains soft. Next I used a sharpened HB to sweep in the lines that make up Laura's hair. There is no short cut here - each hair has to be drawn including the ones that escape out to the sides! Finally a little darkening of the shadows and a signature completes the portrait.
Merry Christmas (again)
11 months ago