realistic portrait graphite pencil drawing

Opa – 14-04-21 (Sold)

A Granddad

Sometimes a portrait commission comes along. This time it was the commissioneer’s opa (grandfather). Usually I am reluctant in accepting such assignments but this one was fun to do. The lighting was beautiful: full of midtones so I could study the skin folds thoroughly.



Obviously the aim is get the ressemblance right. That is why the request came to go for a portrait in the realistic style. Since I made a lot of free work in the recent past in both the surrealist and cubist style, realism for a change was an okay deal to me. Besides that, to study the older skin and the effects of age on the human face came as a gift.


Hatched Strokes

In fact it must have been quite some time ago I did realistic drawing in my hatched strokes style. The last one in this fashion must have been ‘Bedside Moonlighting – 31-08-20’. I cannot remember I did such a big one as a portrait in the same style though. Elaborate as it may seem it was not a very difficult project altogether. These hatched strokes easily lend themselves for depicting subtle shifts in skin tones and forms like dimples and folds.


Not Too Dark

Unfortunately the portrayed opa was no longer available for a thorough study in real life. The reference picture was a little bit too hefty in the dark regions. For the sake and purpose of portraiture I kept a lot of the dark stuff in the tonal mid sections. This way the focus stays on reading the character from the facial features. After all, that is the main joy for those who survive the person portrayed.


Graphite pencil drawing (Pentel 0.5 mm, 3B & Conté graphite pencil 4B) on Canson Bristol paper (29.7 x 42 x 0.1 cm – A3 format)

Artist: Corné Akkers