pencil commission process


Happy March! This month I thought it might be nice to share how I attack a portrait commission. follow along:

For this process, I decided to use sweet Amanda’s valentine’s day gift for her partner and she agreed. She got me a bunch of different pictures, described their type of clothing and had the cutest story about how when they were walking their dogs, he saved her from BEES! OMG! It’s something they still laugh about so I went with this story.

I start by getting out my trusty A3 ( 29.7 x 42.0cm, 11.69 x 16.53 inches ) paper pad, a cute eraser and pencil because I enjoy cute things so much! Here went with a sweets theme so I have a soft biscuit puzzle-eraser (you can take the layers apart!) and a SWIMMER brand pencil with sweets and angel wings that friends got me from Japan!


The eraser is really soft and has a low “crumb” factor, so you don’t constantly need to wipe your paper as you do with dryer erasers. ironically, I find cheap, shaped erasers work really well for me since they’re gummier. so that’s a win-win, isn’t it? 😀

for the pencil I prefer automatic ones so they stay sharp and my pretty pencils don’t grow shorter and disappear as I sharpen! cheap ones are fine, but filling is important here. pencil fillings these days are made with less graphite and more filling substance (polymer), which makes them break less frequent, but they squak and have a plastic feel. I don’t like these so I stick to the only brand I know still has a nice graphite feel: Staedtler.


Then I print out a sheet of reference pictures and in this case description. her username is written on top because I had 3 open commissions at this time and I’d hate to mix people up! 😮


Next I get to work! I start by sketching out possible poses until I find one I like!


then I start sketching out the characteristics of the people like eyes, face shape, glasses etc


When I’m confident I’ve got the specific characteristics of my clients down, I start filling in the page by lightly sketching the pose. Never start detailing before you sketch completely! I know this is really hard but imagine when you make something great and you can’t fit the feet on your page, right? I enhanced the contrast so you can see how rudimentary (and light) this sketch is:


It’s basically just circles and lines, but as you can see, her legs are too close to the right edge while there’s open space to the left, so I redid this. starting your sketch over is a frustrating thing, so I took a pinball break first :B


and played a particularly bad game, haha 😀 but that’s okay. don’t judge me! back to work! so after quickly redrawing the pose a little more to the left than what I felt as natural, I was satisfied they would fit and started working on more detail.


teeechnicallyyyy, I would do a round of defining everything a bit better to be sure before detailing, but I honestly can’t help myself. x-x drawing the face is my favourite bit, especially the eyes!


my aim was to make him look worried about the bees and her not caring about them because she’s with her love ;o; yes, yes, I’m a bit of a sap, a romantic, a crybaby. some of my clients’ stories just really tug at the heart strings, okay?

Onwards: I add shading and some detail, drink liters of tea.


until I fiinaaalllyyyyy finish! 😀 yay! shading, her tattoos (I drew hearts instead) and the bees! The bees are so innocent and cute, one’s even flying upside down 8D silly bee.


Here’s the final result:


Around valentine’s day, the portraits are quite popular, here’s another one I did:


So now you all know how my workflow goes! it involves staring at pictures, sketching and re-sketching and then getting lost in details. =D I enjoy these soooo much ^–^
Get one here! 


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