Perfect Hand Drawn Pencil Portraits From Photos: Prices, Advice & Tips

Commission Joseph Colella for Your Pencil Portrait

Looking for a unique, personal gift or a treasured keepsake? Think about commissioning Joseph Colella for a pencil portrait. Joseph Colella is an expert portrait artist known for his lifelike pencil sketches that capture meaningful moments.

Now to stop talking in the 3rd person as it creeps me out.

I offer a variety of portrait sizes like A4 (8 x 10 in A4 — 20 x 25 cm)and A3 (11 x 14 in A3 — 27.5 x 35), perfect for different spaces and needs.

You can get portraits of individuals, families, or pets. I use high-grade graphite pencils that ensure every detail is sharp and vivid. The finished artwork has a depth and realism that’s truly striking.

child pencil portrait commission - by Joseph Colella Wasted Talent Inc
“Esme” Child Pencil Portrait by Joseph Colella Wasted Talent Inc

Here’s how the process works: First, you place an order via the shop (links above), then wait for an email from me so that you can submit a photo you want drawn.

I take that photo and start creating the portrait, paying close attention to every detail. I use high-quality drawing paper to make sure the artwork lasts.

Once finished, the portrait is carefully packaged and delivered to your door.

One thing you will love about my portraits is the emotional touch. Each piece feels special because it’s customized just for you.

They make wonderful gifts for birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, or memorials. People light up when they see the final product.

Commissioning a portrait from me is simple. Visit my website at for more info. You can see examples of my work in my art portfolio section, and details on how to place an order via the shop. If you have questions, there’s contact info available too.

My clients rave about my work. Many share stories of how my portraits have brought joy to their lives.

One client said, “Joseph captured my kids’ likeness so beautifully. We can pass this portrait down as a family heirloom.” These heartfelt testimonials speak volumes about the quality and impact of my work.

Baby Harrison Child Pencil Portrait by Joseph Colella Wasted Talent Inc
“Baby Harrison” – Child Pencil Portrait by Joseph Colella Wasted Talent Inc

Why choose me? It’s because of my attention to detail, ability to interpret the photo and make it into art, quality materials, and, most importantly, the personal touch I adds to every portrait.

If you’re considering a custom pencil portrait, give me a shot. You won’t be disappointed.

But, if you don’t want to commission me to draw your portrait from a photo, then keep reading as I will explain what you should do when looking for another artist to make your next pencil portrait for you.

Maddi - Pencil Portrait by Joseph Colella Wasted Talent Inc
“Maddi” – Pencil Portrait by Joseph Colella Wasted Talent Inc

How To Commission a Pencil Portrait From Photos

Commissioning a pencil portrait from photos is easier than you might think. First, decide on the photo you want to use.

Make sure it’s clear and detailed because this helps the portrait artist capture the likeness better. I usually ask clients for several photos to choose the one that works best.

Next, think about the size of the portrait. Common sizes include A4 (8.3 x 11.7 inches) and A3 (11.7 x 16.5 inches). If you want something bigger, that’s possible too.

The larger the portrait, the more details I can include. This is especially important if the portrait will be of more than one person.

After selecting the photo, choose the portrait style. Do you want a simple sketch or something with detailed shading?

Some might look for a portrait with subtle shading to give depth, while others might want a portrait that shows color using colored pencils. Knowing the style you prefer helps me understand your vision.

Once the size and style are set, think about the background. A blank background keeps the focus on the subject, but I can add backgrounds if desired.

Let me know your ideas, and we’ll figure out what works best for your portrait.

Let’s talk material. I use high-quality graphite pencils and acid-free paper for my portraits. The type of paper affects how the pencil interacts with it.

Thicker paper handles shading better. It’s also less likely to tear. I love using portrait drawing paper that’s smooth but has enough texture to hold the graphite well.

Pricing depends on size and complexity. For instance, an 8×6-inch portrait of one subject could start at around $89, while larger sizes with multiple people might cost significantly more. Knowing your budget helps me tailor the project to your needs.

To start the commissioning process, contact me through my website. Share your photo, size, style, and any other details. I’ll provide a quote and an estimated timeline. Typically, a small portrait might take a week, while larger, more detailed portraits can take several weeks.

Hand-drawn portraits make meaningful gifts. They capture moments and emotions beautifully. Whether it’s a gift for a birthday, anniversary, or special event, a pencil portrait is timeless. So, gather your favorite photos, and let’s create something special together.

Artists Mother "Anna Colella" - Pencil Portrait by Joseph Colella Wasted Talent Inc
Artists Mother “Anna Colella” – Pencil Portrait by Joseph Colella Wasted Talent Inc

Choosing An Artist To Make Your Pencil Portrait

Picking the right artist for your pencil portrait matters a lot. Every artist has a unique style. Some like detailed shading, while others prefer sharper lines. So, it’s important to find one whose technique you like.

First, look at the artist’s portfolio. Their previous pencil drawings can give you a good idea of their skills. Check for portraits that show how well they handle shading and proportions. You can usually find these portfolios online. Seeing their work helps you decide if their style fits what you want.

Ask about their experience. An artist who has been drawing for years will have different skills than a beginner. But that doesn’t mean beginners aren’t good. Sometimes, their fresh perspective can bring new ideas to your portrait.

"Siena and Holly" - Double Portrait Pencil by Joseph Colella Wasted Talent Inc
“Siena and Holly” – Double Portrait Pencil by Joseph Colella Wasted Talent Inc

Don’t be shy—talk to the artist. Good communication can make sure your ideas come to life. Share your thoughts on what you want. The more details, the better. Mention the kind of shading you like or if you have specific portrait ideas. This helps the artist understand your vision.

Ask for a quote. How much a pencil portrait costs can vary. Some artists charge by the hour, while others have set prices.

Smaller portraits like A4 might start around $89. Larger ones, like A3, could cost more. Make sure you’re clear about what’s included in the price—like revisions or extra features.

Artists who offer cheaper prices tend to trace the photos and then shade in the details, the result is usually a very amateur looking pencil portrait that you may not like. Ask to see some samples of their work first.

Deadlines matter, too. Ask the artist how long the portrait drawing will take. Some projects take a week; others might take months. Planning ahead can help you avoid any last-minute stress.

Check reviews or ask for references. Knowing what past clients think can give you peace of mind. Look for comments about the artist’s reliability and the quality of the portraits.

Finding the right fit can make a big difference in how your final portrait turns out. With some research, questions, and a bit of gut feeling, you can find an artist who’ll create a portrait you’ll love.

Pencil Portraits as Gifts

mother receiving a pencil portrait of her baby

Giving a pencil portrait as a gift is special and heartfelt. Imagine the joy on someone’s face when they receive a hand-drawn portrait. Pencil drawings capture emotions in a unique way. They hold a timeless charm that printed photos just can’t match.

When choosing a pencil portrait as a gift, you need a good, clear photo. This photo will be what an artist uses to create the drawing. Make sure the photo shows the person’s face well. It should be clear and well-lit. This helps the artist capture all the details.

Next, think about the size of the portrait. A3 and A4 portraits are common sizes. A4 is about the size of a notebook paper, and A3 is twice that size. If you need something bigger, you can ask the artist for suggestions. The size will affect how much detail can be included in the drawing.

Selecting the right artist is key. Look for a portrait artist with a style you like. Check their portfolio and see if their drawings match what you have in mind. Some artists are better at shading, while others excel in capturing fine details. Read reviews if they are available or ask for references.

Discuss any specific features or background you want in the portrait. Maybe you want to include a favorite pet or a special place. Share these ideas with the artist. They can use different grades of pencils to achieve the desired effect. For example, softer pencils can create darker lines, while harder pencils provide lighter, finer lines.

Portrait shading is essential for making the drawing look realistic. Good shading can show depth and make the portrait pop off the page. Encourage the artist to pay close attention to light and shadows in the photo.

The cost of a pencil portrait varies. Simple portraits may cost less, while more detailed ones cost more. The pricing depends on the size, complexity, and artist’s experience. It’s best to set a budget and ask the artist for a quote upfront.

Finally, think about framing the portrait. A simple frame can make a world of difference. It not only protects the drawing similarly makes it ready for display. A beautiful frame can enhance the presentation and make the gift even more special.

Giving a pencil portrait is a thoughtful and creative way to show someone you care. It’s a gift that speaks from the heart and lasts a lifetime. Whether it’s for a birthday, anniversary, or any special occasion, a pencil portrait is sure to impress.

The Art of Pencil Portraits From Photos

artist drawing a pencil portrait from a photo

Drawing a pencil portrait from a photo can be a rewarding experience. It’s a way to capture a moment, a face, or an emotion with just pencils and paper. Let’s break it down into easier steps.

Understanding Pencil Portraiture

Pencil portraiture involves creating lifelike images of people using different grades of pencils. The process starts with selecting a good photo. Clear, high-resolution photos work best since they show fine details. I pick a photo where the person’s face is well-lit. Shadows add depth and make the portrait look more realistic.

Using graphite pencils, I outline the major features on portrait drawing paper. Grades of pencils range from hard (H) to soft (B), each giving different shades. Hard pencils are good for light lines and fine details. Soft pencils create dark, rich tones. By mixing these pencils, I can achieve a wide range of tones and textures.

Styles and Techniques

There are various styles in pencil portraiture. Realism focuses on capturing every detail. It looks very close to a photograph. Stylized portraits, on the other hand, simplify or exaggerate features to give a unique look. I often choose a style based on the person I’m drawing, trying to fit their personality.

For techniques, the way you shade matters a lot. Avoid rubbing shading with fingers. It might feel like it works, but it often leads to smudges and loss of control.

I use a blending stump or tissue instead. Different strokes create different textures. Cross-hatching involves drawing intersecting lines to create shading. Circling is making small circular strokes for smoother shading.

Drawing hair can be tricky. It’s not about drawing each strand. Instead, I focus on the light and dark areas.

By paying attention to highlights and shadows, hair looks more natural. The same goes for skin. I never use pure black or white. Skin tones are more about subtle changes in shading.

In the end, drawing pencil portraits from photos blends choice, skill, and practice. The right photo, pencils, and techniques come together to create something special.

Materials and Tools

Choosing the Right Pencil

When starting a pencil portrait, you need the right pencils. I use graphite pencils because they come in different grades.

Harder pencils like H, 2H, and 4H create light lines great for sketching outlines. Softer pencils, like B, 2B, and 4B, are perfect for shading and creating darker areas.

For more detailed shading, I turn to the even softer 6B or 8B pencils. Each grade has its own role in making a portrait look lifelike.

Softer pencils allow you to give the pencil portrait a little more depth, making it look more realistic.

Paper Types for Pencil Drawing

Choosing the right paper is just as important as picking your pencils. I prefer smooth drawing paper, which makes it easier for me to draw fine details.

For example, I usually use off-white or tanned Strathmore pencil paper. I sometimes go for Canson Mi-Teintes Pastel paper. It comes in many colors, but the blue or white sheet works best for me.

Additional Tools for Enhancing Your Portrait

A good pencil portrait needs more than just pencils and paper. One tool I can’t do without is a white transfer paper.

It helps me transfer my sketches neatly onto my drawing paper without smudging. I also use a kneaded eraser for lifting graphite without leaving crumbs.

Blending stumps are excellent for smooth shading and blending different pencil shades.

Lastly, I keep a final fixative spray on hand to preserve the drawing and keep it from smudging over time. These tools make drawing portraits easier and the results more impressive.

Displaying and Preserving Your Pencil Portraits

Framing and Presentation

When you’ve finished a pencil portrait, displaying it right can make a big difference. I always recommend framing. I personally do not provide or recommend framing services as most of your local framers will do a great job.

Frames add a professional touch and protect the portrait. You don’t need fancy ones; simple, clean lines often look best. If you choose a frame with glass, make sure it’s non-reflective to reduce glare.

Gallery wrapping is another option, especially for larger sizes. It gives portraits a modern look without needing a frame. Just remember, this works best for oil paintings or thicker paper, not regular drawing paper.

Using a matte in the frame can add depth but usually increases the cost. If you decide to go with it, pick a color that complements the portrait but isn’t too flashy.

Long-term Care and Preservation

To keep your pencil portraits looking fresh, some care tips are necessary. First, avoid touching the drawing surface directly. The oils on your skin can smudge the pencil shading.

For storage, keep portraits in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight. Sunlight can fade the graphite and, if colored pencils are used, possibly the color too.

Using a fixative spray helps protect the drawing from smudging. Apply a light coat and follow the instructions on the can. Make sure the area is well-ventilated.

If you frame without glass, remember to dust the frames gently. For any cleaning, use a soft brush or cloth. Avoid using liquids near the portrait.

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