Van

I love how huge Van’s hand looks in this portrait! It’s large in the inspiration image too but I have exaggerated it a little too. I think the extra size makes her look even more pensive.

I drew Van in my Moleskine watercolour sketchbook with a Micron fineliner, then painted her with Zecchi Toscana watercolours and finished the portrait with Prismacolor coloured pencils.

Jagonte

I didn’t start out drawing portraits with the intention of ever selling my portraits. I never really imagined I’d be good enough. But over the past year I’ve started to get asked to take commissions and now I have a steady stream of them coming in. At the moment I’m working on a few that need to completed fairly soon and I’m also going to be exhibiting in an Artists Open House in the Brighton Fringe Festival in May, so I’m not going to have as much time for my daily faces. But today it’s been lovely to just play around in my sketchbook and paint Jagonte, without any pressure!

I drew Jagonte with a Micron fineliner, painted the portrait with Zecchi Toscana watercolours and finished it with Prismacolor coloured pencils.

Berto

I totally messed up the mouth in Berto’s portrait, but apart from that this felt like a step forward in my watercolour technique. I felt like I had much better control of my brush and that there was a real connection between what my eyes saw and what my brush communicated on the page when I was painting.

I painted Berto’s portrait in my Moleskine watercolour sketchbook with my Zecchi Toscana watercolours and finished it was Prismacolor coloured pencils.

Denyce

When I first started drawing faces I was terrified of expressions and would only draw expressionless faces looking forward, mouth closed. Now, a few years and more than 1200 portraits later, I have much confidence in my portraiture skills and it’s all about expressions. When I’m looking through Sktchy for a face to draw the images that jump out at me are the ones with great lighting, interest skintones and/or wonderful expressions to draw. The inspiration photo for this portrait of Denyce has all three.

I drew Denyce in my Moleskine watercolour sketchbook with a Micron pen, painted her with Zecchi Toscana watercolours and finished the portrait with Prismacolor coloured pencils.

Grace

This is Grace, painted with Zecchi Toscana watercolours and finished with coloured pencils in my Moleskine watercolour sketchbook. It’s a reasonable likeness except that Grace is much prettier than this. All the features are just slightly off – the eyes and nose a little too large, the mouth not quite right. This often happens in my portraits and I don’t generally worry about it too much because I usually like the portrait well enough nevertheless. But in this portrait it has all combined to create a portrait that just doesn’t work.

I could have just left the portrait in my sketchbook and not shared it but, for me, sharing what doesn’t work is just as important as sharing the work I’m proud of. I’m learning with every portrait I create and it means so much more if I can share that learning. What I learned from this portrait is that sometimes I can be lazy, I can take it for granted that my portraits will turn out well even when my initial sketches are slightly off. Taking the time to revisit the sketch, check proportions and make corrections is probably well worth doing.

If you’ve learned useful lessons from your regular art practice I’d be interested to hear them.

Tina’s son

I’m starting 2020 with a little watercolour of Tina’s son. I don’t know his name but I loved the photo of him she posted on Sktchy. I love to try to capture different expressions in my portraits and this one is just great! It’s all in the eyes and the eyebrows.

I drew the portrait in my Moleskine watercolour sketchbook with a Micron .01 fineliner, painted with Zecchi Toscana watercolours and finished it off with Prismacolor coloured pencils.

Ima

This is a portrait of Sktchy muse Ima and is the first page of my new Moleskine watercolour sketchbook. Lots of people talk about being nervous of drawing on the first page of a new sketchbook. I used to feel that way but once I started daily drawing I lost all first page nerves. The first page is no different to any other page – if anything, I’m excited to start a new sketchbook. That’s not so much about the drawing but about stickering the covers. I collect stickers purely for putting on the covers of my sketchbooks so I love to start new sketchbooks so I can put new stickers on them.

I painted Ima with Zecchi Toscana watercolours and finished the portrait with Prismacolor coloured pencils.