As an avid sketcher, I have had a sketchbook to hand at most times in my life. I like to capture my environment – friends, places I have been on holiday, children, people on trains. A portrait sketch in pencil, a painted landscape in acrylics, an amazing building in pen and ink. I am often inspired. In my 20’s I spent several years travelling the world. Instead of taking a camera I took sketchbooks. I flew to Perth, Australia with a one way ticket and never looked to return immediately.

After a self conscious start making nervous drawings, I quickly developed in confidence and style. The progression is visible as you turn the pages in the sketch books. During my trip in 1983, after I had finished at art college I worked and travelled. The plan was to stay for 6 months, which turned out to be 20 months and covered 6 countries. This was not something I thought I would do when I set out.

My favourite is? A portrait sketch

I think that of all the 150 drawings and paintings I completed on this trip my favourite was doing a portrait sketch. I drew the people I met, whenever it was possible to draw them. Actually there ended up being plenty of opportunities as lots of the days were spent lounging on beaches, chatting in hostels or wiling away the time not really doing much else. It was a great time, which made drawing easier. Having time to draw and relax is important. Nowadays I draw under deadlines or pressure.

Overcoming some issues

I had become a committed hitchhiker after trips to see my college girl friend in Carlisle so I was quite used to chatting to total strangers while accepting lifts in any assortment of vehicles that were kind enough to stop for me. I developed a confidence dealing with people. Finding it easy talking to anyone. Before, I used to be a bit shy. This reflected in my ability to draw in public as I didn’t worry about the scrutiny and comment. The more you draw, the easier and more comfortable you are about just getting out the sketchbook and doing a quick drawing. But I do feel under pressure for it to be impressive. This feeling in itself brings on doubts and that makes it easier not to choose to sketch. To progress it is important to draw with confidence in front of people you don’t know. Otherwise you run out of inspiration and you don’t develop.

But I love doing a portrait sketch the most, as it is quick and easy to achieve a great drawing. That is because it is only judged on the likeness. The human face is an easily forgiving subject. Get that right and the drawing, no matter how simple or detailed will be a success. You will have created a picture to enjoy, that will bring great satisfaction and fond memories.

Get in touch for your portrait sketch

A portrait sketch in pencil can be an amazing and treasured possession. Talk to me today if you would like a member of your family, a pet or yourself to be captured in a complementary and relaxed drawing you will love. Email: