Sketching children

I love doing portrait commissions of children. Whether working in soft pencil or a thick nib and quink ink, I love the challenge of trying to nail the energy, thoughts and complexity of character of a child.

I’ve spent the last four days in Gloucestershire working with just under a dozen children.

Obviously, they are often running around, playing games, keeping busy and changing positions. This only helps, however, as you are constantly pushed to the limits of your observational drawing skills and abilities, and the images stay fresh and quick.

Rendering the portraits in soft pencil can be reminiscent of old world illustrations, whereas the challenge of committing directly in ink, whether with a fine or a thicker nib, takes energy and concentration but can be most gratifying. I think I might be addicted to that fear factor of knowing you can’t rub something out if it goes wrong(!).

I’m not a big fan of reworking images too much once drawn. I never manage to capture that same feeling and spirit. So reproducing my images as lithographs, where I can reproduce the image exactly, with colour layers, is my preferred print process.

Finally, it’s fundamentally just a very fun spin on life drawing, since you get the wonderful and amusing chatter and comments from the children to accompany the day.


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