Portraiture, Fine Art, & Photography

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About Black and White Portraits

Portraits drawn with Graphite and Charcoal Pencils

I draw realistic graphite and charcoal pencil portraits from your favorite photos. My specialty is creating detailed portraits of people, pets, vehicles and more. Pencil portraits can be commissioned in a variety of sizes. Special requests are welcome. You have many options to choose from, including having text (such as name or date) hand drawn on your portrait. I have been drawing graphite portraits for several years, and will create a beautiful gift your family will treasure. Your portrait can be created from one photo, or subjects from 2 or more photos can be combined to create a single pencil portrait. You may choose a white background, a hand drawn background (from the photo, or another source), or have the background shaded to your specifications. Many paper sizes are available for you to choose from: 6x8, 9x12, 11x14, 14x17, 16x20, and 18x24.

Quality Materials

All pencil portraits are drawn with artist's quality graphite pencils (General's or Derwent) on Strathmore smooth finish, 2-ply Bristol paper. This paper is true white, and thick so it resists creasing. It is also acid free so it resists yellowing.

Creative Process

I like to create a wide range of tones in my drawings. I feel capturing the true tonal value of a subject (the blackest blacks, the whitest whites, and all the shades in between) enhances the realism of my portraits. To achieve a good contrast of tones I use many grades of artist quality graphite pencils including: 2H (lightest), HB, 2B, 4B, 6B, 8B (darkest). I also use a dark powdered graphite for some drawings. I incorporate charcoal in my drawings to add dimension to the shadows and create textures.


It takes several hours to complete these detailed drawings. Usually I work on a portrait over several days, a small section at a time. I normally begin by establishing the darkest values.


I find it helpful to step away from a portrait occasionally. When I return to it, I see the drawing fresh, and can make any needed adjustments. This process is time consuming, but well worth it. Making these many small changes over a few days allows me to create very realistic pencil portraits. Please plan ahead and order early for your next special event.


Will my Pencil Portrait last?


Yes, if treated with care, pencil portraits will stand the test of time. Here are a few guidelines to follow:

  • Always handle them with care, touching only the edges of the paper. The oils in your skin can effect the paper, and touching a pencil portrait directly may cause smudging.
  • Keep your portrait from direct sunlight, humidity and water. Always keep your portrait in a climate controlled environment. Humidity and moisture can severely damage the paper, causing wrinkling and discoloration.
  • Store flat, not rolled.
  • Make sure anything touching the paper in the frame, such as the mat or cardboard backing, is made from archival safe, acid free material.

It's nice to note that pencil drawings from great artists such as Leonardo Divnici have lasted many years and are still enjoyed.




All content and original art works © Nicole I. Hamilton.

Reproduction or use of any content or works without permission is strictly prohibited.

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