So I think I’ve settled on Jolt! as the title for this piece. It’s finally finished! If you follow me on social media (namely Twitter) then you’ll know that I actually finished this portrait of my sister a little while ago but I realise that I haven’t said much about it yet.


First of all, it’s definitely the piece I’m proudest of at the moment, if only for the sheer patience necessary in completing such a close-up! In all seriousness though, I’m really happy with how this turned out because I tried out a few new pencil techniques and (fingers crossed) succeeded in my aim of capturing the eyes and expression. I’ve always enjoyed trying new things but when it comes to art, it’s become slightly more than that – I love to take on a challenge, whether it be attempting a zoomed-in portrait for the first time or testing out new ideas and techniques. In a website dedicated to one medium, new techniques and ideas are definitely needed to keep things interesting so that’s partly why I’ve been changing things up a bit.

The Struggle is Real (as in making the portrait look real)

Making Progress

Making progress.

I was expecting to struggle with the eyes (and they weren’t exactly easy) but the hardest aspect of the drawing was actually the conveying the skin. Facial features are obviously important but from drawing this picture, I’ve discovered that capturing the skin is one of the most crucial parts of rendering a portrait life-like. So even though I haven’t coloured in the lips here, a large enough portion of the face has been shaded in, to hopefully engage the viewer. In my opinion, details like eyelashes and eyebrows – and to some extent, lips – become more like finishing touches to a portrait of this scale. In a way, this makes things a little bit easier for artists because it takes some of the pressure of getting those parts of the face perfect.

Pencil study of my sister, Jessica.

Pencil study of my sister, Jessica.

I’ve always stressed the importance of highlighting areas of any coloured pencil drawing and finding where the light falls. This is often forgotten when it comes to drawing hair and it is all too easy to slip into the dreaded block-colouring style, resulting in a very 2-dimensional drawing. Taking the time to use very fine pencil lines to draw the hair is worthwhile because the gaps of paper that show through will give the impression that you’ve painstakingly drawn individual hairs, when really you’re just creating an effect.


Finished product

So in a matter of a few weeks, I think I’ve come quite a long way in my ‘real life’ studies; hopefully I can continue this through to next week, when I will be trying something even more different to what I’ve done before. Yes, I’ll be a going a little bit abstract/metaphorical with my next piece – if all goes according to plan of course.

Natalie x

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