HOW I BUILD A commission PORTRAIT.

THe START…

I start every portrait that I’ve done over the 51+ years of drawing with the subject's right eye. From my position of looking at the board that I’m drawing on, that means I start with the eye on the left side of the person in which I’m drawing. I then go to the bridge of the nose, then the other eye, brows, cheeks, mouth and so on.

unlike most artists.

I don't sketch out the whole face. The traditional way artist are taught is by the method of drawing an oval and cross lines for the facial features. I draw the details of each feature without sketching out an oval and cross lines as I stated above. My technique as an art teacher I had in college told me, “is a rare and unique artistic gift”.

THE TOOLS THAT i USE TO DO A PORTRAIT.

My go-to pencil primarily is the ebony pencil, I will on occasion use the 2B, HB and 2H pencil, but 90-95% of the portrait is done with the ebony pencil. I have shading stumps of various sizes, kneaded erasers, paper wrapped erasers, non-marring white erasers and a chamois cloth. I have a chamois cloth that i have used for over 50 years. It has decades of graphite coating on it with holes in it from my rubbing to create the shading for skin tone, shadows, base coating for hair structure and more.

I use 100% acid-free, strathmore illustration board. 

The texture gives me a wonderful, smooth black stroke with the ebony pencil, as well as the fine texture of skin—whether I’m drawing a young child or capturing the character of someone who has lived a number of years. This type of board maintains its crisp, bright whiteness for many years to come. Although I do recommend that you not hang your portrait in direct sunlight, which over time will diminish the boards whiteness.

My commissioned portrait of Rev. Albert E. Chew comes to life.

When I sent Reverend Chew’s daughter, Billie King (no relation) photos of the various stages of her dad’s portrait she couldn’t believe that I had capture the essence of him. I’ve had some people say it has more depth than the actual photo of him that I worked from. In fact, an adjustment I had to make was that I left out the cellphone that he was holding in his hand up to his left ear! That sort of change is a challenge, but fun to do.



The home stretch begins.

This is when I get excited. All of the pieces that I create are like my “children”—therefore making it difficult for me to part with them. I love that as I work on the portrait and I send photos of the various stages of their commissioned portrait to my customers they get more and more excited for it to be completed and its arrival to them.

Completed!

I can’t wait to pack up the finished portrait, ship it and for it to arrive to them knowing it be in their possession to cherish and enjoy for years to come. To hear from those who commission a portrait by me and to hear what it means to them really brings a joy to me and the pleasure of knowing my artistic ability is still beyond my own comprehension. 

to the left of the portrait is the reference photo.        

I hope you really like it! I’d love to have the honor of doing a portrait for you of your loved one. I absolutely love what I’ve been blessed to do. It never gets old, nor do I take it for granted, What I know after the many portraits that I’ve done is that each portrait is special for you—and for me.

fINISHED AND FRAMED.

Delivered to matted and framed by my happy customer!!!

(My commissioned portrait is from the private collection of Billie King) 

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