Friday 4 March 2011

My first portrait

Captain Jack Sparrow
(Graphite on smooth Bristol Board)
I've been feeling reasonably pleased with my pencil work of late so decided it was time to step outside my comfort zone and attempt my first ever portrait. I confess to cheating slightly as I deliberately chose a subject that would be easily recogniseable even if I messed up some of the facial features. Captain JackSparrow was a good choice in that respect, but I won't be sorry of I never see another dreadlock as long as I live.

I used a full range of pencils, HB to 8B, on smooth surface Bristol Board (115lbs), as well as a kneadable putty eraser, Blu-tac and home-made blending stumps (must buy some proper tortilions one of these days - LOL).


  1. You've good reason to be pleased with yourself John, as this is fantastic work! Your wide range of pencils has given some lovely contrast to this sketch. Bravo!

  2. As usual your pencil work is superb John.

    I wonder whether you have heard of Graphitint Pencils. It occurred to me that they might be a way of using pencils, but also having colour. I haven't used them, but since they contain graphite, I think they would feel similar to normal graphite pencils. They can be used wet or dry.

  3. Your rendering of Jack Sparrow is excellent..well done, a very good likeness.
    Keiths suggests Graphtint pencils, and I did use them on my drawing of the tree roots. But don't care for the mixture of the two.. From there on I would use either graphite only or graphtint only.. just my preference. BJ

  4. Thank you very much Frank.

    Thanks Keith. I have heard of the Graphitints. I recently bought a set of Derwent Coloursofts which I am keen to try. Don't know how similar they are.

    Barbra Joan, Thank you. And thanks for the advice about mixing the tints with plain graphite.

  5. This is absolutely fantastic John - It is absolutely him! Perfect!!! :0)

  6. I was lucky enough to see a WIP of this portrait and the excitement of having to wait for the next installment was to say least, tense.
    Your love of the pencil shows in your work John. You get better and better ...

  7. Aww Ingrid, what a lovely thing to say. Thank you. ;-)

  8. John, your work is breathtaking. Oh yes you have every right to be pleased with your First Portrait, oh my, it's GREAT!

    All the best to you


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