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From pet portraits to people (part 1)

Angela Birchall

Posted on Mon 11 Feb 2019

When I was at the Franco-British event in Vire (Normandy, France) last October promoting Pet Portraits in Pastel, a couple stopped and asked if I did children's portraits. Just as I was about to say "No, I didn't", I could hear my art school tutor's voice in my head telling us "if you can draw one thing accurately, you can draw anything accurately". So I had to say, "not yet".
Eventually I got round to trying my hand at portraying a young person instead of a pet. Who to depict? I could get photos of friends' children or grandchildren, but only their immediate family and friends would know if the likeness was good enough. So it had to be famous children.
As the Royal weddings of 2018 had received a great deal of media coverage, I thought that Prince George and Princess Charlotte would be sufficiently widely known and recognised, so I chose them. I started, as one should, with "ladies first". There's still much room for improvement, but it's OK for a first attempt. Then I did her big brother, also in pastel.
It is challenging - but enjoyably so - to try and capture something of the young person's 'look', but most challenging of all, is drawing a child's face rather than an adult face, in particular, the nose! My first version of Princess Charlotte looked more like her picture from a few years hence, and it was all because of the size and shape of the nose. When I changed that to the softer, button-nose of a child, rather than the longer, angular nose of an adult, she suddenly lost 3 or 4 years!! As my art school tutor would say (and as I say to my students now): "It all comes down to looking closely at the subject/object for at least three times longer than the marks you are making on the page, and then checking, double checking, treble checking, before you firm the lines up."
Note: I can only attach one image to this blog posting, so the portrait of Prince George will appear in part 2.

From pet portraits to people (part 1)


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  • Sweet and Beautiful portrait.

    Posted by Olga Diaz on Tue 12 Feb 09:43:37