I have recently been going through my sketchbooks and reflecting on some of the recent commissions I’ve completed. I have always loved traditional portrait drawings. I’d like to discuss some of my favorite projects and how I think they’ve turned out. The first few drawings were some of my most difficult projects. I will gladly book any job, no matter how difficult. I always tell my clients, “YES! I can definitely do that!” then they pay the deposit, I sit down in my studio and say “Awe crap, how am I going to do this? I remember feeling that way when I booked this portrait drawing from a wedding. The photo resolution wasn’t terrible, but it definitely wasn’t High res, I couldn’t really zoom in, and if you notice everyone looks like they are kind of squinting. Everyone in the photo practically had their eyes closed. The person who commissioned it asked if I could do something about that in the drawing. I said I would try something, but I need to keep it true to the photo if I’m going to capture the persons “likeness.” I think I definitely pulled it off. The background was a challenge as well. I had never really drawn a grassy field like that, and the trees in the background turned out a lot better than I had expected. After I finished this project, I was thrilled. I spent way more time than I planned on it, and financially, it wasn’t the best idea to take this job on. But it has definitely become one of my favorite drawings.
I was commissioned to draw 2 BMW drawings. I had drawn classic cars in the past, but this was the first time I was asked to draw something a little more modern. Again I was faced with drawing a background, but overall I think they turned out okay. Most traditional portraits have very soft, blended shadows, and hardly no hard edges. However, I love those “sketchy” characteristics in a drawing, so I tried to keep that quality, while still having a professional looking, finished, drawing. Here’s a secret I never told anyone, when I finished drawing the second BMW above, I went to take it off my drawing board and didn’t see that part of it was still taped down. I ripped the paper when I lifted it. I was devastated. So I ended up re-drawing that BMW which took forever. I promised to have the drawings done on a certain day, so I definitely pulled an all-nighter that night.
This next drawing was a huge one. 18” x 24” I had never been asked to do a drawing that large, but it turned out great. It was a lot of fun and a nice challenge. I think it is very realistic, and the mother was so thrilled she gave me permission to attach the child’s photo to the drawing to show the likeness.
I really love this drawing. As I mentioned before, many portrait artists use a blending stump and create very soft shadows and realistic effects in drawings, but I prefer sketchy lines as well. When this couple sent me the reference photo I got really excited. I knew this would turn out great. I was going to combine styles and create a very soft and beautifully rendered drawing but leave a portion of it unfinished and sketchy. I think this one turned out great. This couple was also thrilled about the result of the portrait and they sent me a really nice email. When I read the reaction email from a client after I send a photo of a finished drawing, I swell up. It is the most satisfying feeling in the world. Most drawings are done of something or someone with very sentimental feelings attached to it. I get to share and contribute to very personal things. It’s pretty awesome.
This last drawing was my first pet portrait. I was asked to draw this dog who recently passed away. Someone wanted to give it as a gift to the dog owner, so I was contacted by them and asked to do this drawing. It was a lot of fun, the dog turned out great, it looks just like the dog. I was a little concerned because I had never drawn fur before, I had never really drawn a dog before either. I was kind of shocked that this person requested this drawing from me, because I don’t have any examples of pet portraits on my website. But I am glad he did, because I really enjoyed it and I can’t wait to draw some more pets.
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