One hour portrait sketch from life

This service is only available during my Artist In Residence events.

There’s nothing like the experience of being drawn - sitting perfectly still, being mindfully observed, and waiting to see the results. Most sitters very quicky relax, switch off, and really enjoy the process… leaving with a totally unique original portrait. For the artist, sketching people from life is the equivalent of stand-up comedy - most sane people wouldn’t dream of attempting it, but a few are pathologically compelled to do it!

Many people (myself included) like the ‘raw directness’ of a portrait sketched straight from life - it has a different, interesting, immediate quality compared to drawings done from photos. My drawings will reflect my perception of you, observed in person, in my individual style. Please look carefully at the examples below, where you will see the extent to which my portraits represent the sitter - they are by definition not a photographic likeness.

What to expect

A sitting for a short sketch takes about an hour, and requires stillness throughout. If this is too much, eg for young children/animals, I would suggest commissioning from a photograph instead.

We will spend a few minutes at the start discussing what you are looking for from your portrait, and select a suitable position. Most people choose to keep it simple, but you can wear whatever clothes/makeup/glasses/hat/headphones/or accessories you would like to include.

You can choose to have your portrait on brown Kraft paper (stripy texture), or smooth Strathmore paper (warm grey or tan colour).

You are welcome to bring a book, mobile device, or headphones if you think you will want entertainment.

During the drawing process we can chat, but most of the time I need to concentrate, and it helps if your lips aren’t moving! After about 45 minutes we will pause, you can see the picture and discuss finishing touches. Following that I will ask you to resume your pose for a few more minutes, and finish the drawing.

I generally sign my name and the date, but am happy to minimise/change the format, or add a handwritten title if you would like. Please mention any special preferences at the beginning of the portrait process.

With your permission I would like to take a photo of you with the portrait, to include in my online galleries. This is completely optional!

I want you to love your picture. It will not be a photographic likeness, but should be easily recognisable, and capture the essence of you in the moment. I don’t flatter subjects, because I think faces are far more interesting in their natural state.

There is no obligation to purchase the original paper portrait, but should you wish to, the cost (in addition to the deposit already paid) is £45. I will take a photograph of the portrait, and (unless you request not) post it on my social media, so even if you don’t buy the original you will have access to a digital copy. I accept cash, cards, and Paypal via my website at the event.

I keep a stock of co-ordinating painted warm pale grey solid wood frames, so I can frame portraits in the evening ready for collection the next day. Framing for A3 work, including assembly with professionally cut acid free white mount card and taped back, ready to hang, is £50.

How to book

If you have been invited to a residency event, and would like to book a live portrait sketch, please claim your timeslot in the event calender. A £30 deposit is collected during this process to reserve your appointment.