Every year I try to draw a portrait of each of my granddaughters, for my own pleasure as well as a wish to keep a record of them as they grow up. Photos are fine but there's nothing like trying to capture a likeness in pencil on paper. This first picture of Sarah is one of my favourites taken from Facebook where she loves to post moody photos of herself and with her cat, Narvi, who you saw last week on her birthday card.
With them all as Facebook friends it's very easy for me to get hold of good, natural photos which they are always changing on their personal profiles. Steph spends the least time on Facebook so I have to keep an eye on the photos the others post from time time. This one is very typical of Steph with her sunny, quirky personality.
Kirsty, the eldest, is at university now, so again it's easiest for me to catch glimpses of her life on Facebook. I think this photo was taken last year in her special dress she wore for a school prize giving.
I remembered to scan the steps of the drawing as it progressed so you can see how the colours are built up. I used my Museum coloured pencils on tinted paper chosen to echo the wonderful colour of her hair. They have thick leads and can be used in layers that look a bit like pastels but without the annoying dust.
If you look closely you might see that I've scribbled some light blue in places as highlights in the hair to reflect the colour of her dress. Kirsty was delighted with the portrait when I posted it on Facebook.
This collage of 3 separate portraits from 2011 was done in Derwent drawing pencils which have a wonderful range of earth colours suitable for this type of subject.
In 2009 I also used the earth colours having been inspired by studying portraits done by Leonardo da Vinci and some of the Pre-Raphaelite artists like Dante Gabriel Rosetti and John William Waterhouse.
Way back in 2008 I was working in watercolours and produced this painting after first drawing the girls separately in pencil. This one is still in a frame hanging in the spare bedroom. The top 3 pictures are in frames in the hall and get changed each time I draw a new one. I have now got quite an album full of all the earlier ones which make a really nice family portrait history.
Maybe next time I'll take the plunge and share some of my early ones which are not very good drawings but it might be interesting for you to see how I started and how much my work has changed and improved with years of practise!