Pet portraits

Art, Pencil

My son’s preschool puts on an auction each year. Families are asked to contribute a useful service or something handmade. This year, I’m donating a custom pet portrait. I decided to go for small pencil drawings. These two are samples I’ll have on display so folks can get a good idea of what they’re bidding for.

I haven’t had anything up in my Etsy shop for a few months, but I’ll add this custom pet portrait to it. People sure do love their pets. And who doesn’t love a dog in glasses?



He’s really much cuter than this.


Here I have a portrait of my baby in progress. It’s funny how you get working on something for hours and put the blinders on about how the overall proportions are. Even when I step back, I see it’s fine. I check the angles and distances against the photo reference, and it all checks out. Though I have this feeling I’m not capturing the necessary level of cuteness.

Then, I take a photo. Ahhhhhh. I see the problem. Damn.

photo (1)Either the eyes are too small or everything else is too big. He looks like Jay Leno. Well, I may just scrap it altogether now.

Maybe it can be fixed. The question is, is it better to fix the eyes, which are the real problem? Or the rest, which is not in quite as dark yet? Hmmm. I really liked that ear.

Note to self: Take a photo after the rough sketch next time!

Take two.


Today I revisited a drawing of my little boy that I finished for the first time at some point in 2012. I’ve always liked the proportions and detail of this drawing, but the value was off. It looked good close up, but as you got a couple feet away, it was hard to see details because there just wasn’t enough contrast. I started today by darkening the values of the shirt and background and adding crisper, darker lines around the face and in the hair. My son has VERY light yellow hair, so I’ve struggled to represent it well in pencil portraits. How do you draw white?? In any case,  I love that I can come back to pencil drawings a year later to improve on them.


New Sketchbook

Pen & Ink, Sketches

Last weekend I made a trip to Blick to get one specific item. It was not paper. I have SO much paper. On the way to that item’s section I passed the paper and sketchbook aisle…

I will say that I made it out of there for under $15, so it wasn’t so bad.

I bought a Canson 6″ x 6″ spiral bound book and a Bee Paper 5.5″ x 8.5″ Pen Sketcher’s book. I like to have these little inexpensive sketchbooks because they don’t intimidate me. If I fill them with ugly doodles, no big deal. This freedom does tend to lead me to make drawings I end up really liking, which makes me wish I had put them on nicer, frame-able paper. Ah, well. I hate that I have piles of very lovely, thick, archival paper laying around completely neglected. Fear of failure, people. There’s also something about the potential of a blank piece of paper that I don’t want to mess with. What nonsense.

I’ve filled a couple pages of the 6″ x 6″ and here they are:

ImageI admit, I have a bit of a problem starting a blank notebook, even a cheap one, for fear that the first page will not inspire the looker to continue looking. (I know, I know.) So, I just accepted the first page-ness of this first page.

ImageThis here is a sketch from a very old and not too crisp photo of my great grandmother, Cora. 

ImageThis style sketch is easy and quick.

ImageI wanted to try a pen portrait with my smallest pen- a 005 Micron.

Oodles of Doodles

Pen & Ink, Sketches

Been doodlin’ lately.

Here’s a self-portrait that doesn’t look much like me. But in my defense, I was drawing it from my reflection in the laptop screen while I watched the Daily Show. Image (69)

This is a made up person who has an awesome pair of glasses.Image (67)

This here is a drawing for my Father in Law’s co-worker, who just needs a sign to point to. Don’t we all? What would yours say? I’m going to think on it and make one for myself. For some real raunchy ideas and excellent execution, see FingerPricks’ blog. I stumbled on it a while ago and am delightedly disgusted by it every time I look. She’s a beautiful stitchress.

Image (66)

Last portrait drawing class

Pen & Ink, Sketches

My 5 week portrait class finished up last night. For the final meeting, our teacher had a model sit for us for the majority of the class. I decided to try a new technique and after nearly chucking it at the beginning, I kept at it and ultimately, kind of liked the result. I admit, I went a little nuts with the cheekbones, but that girl had some serious bone structure!

Here are a few quicker sketches from earlier in the class. I loved doing drawings from celebrity photos. The non-celebrity sketches are other folks from the class.