Monthly Archives: March 2014

Dog Portraits

Portraits of dogs, horses and people are by far the most requested.

On average, I tend to draw one person or animal almost every week of the year.  Although for the two or three months on the run up to Christmas demand increases along with the pressure!  I’ve never missed a deadline yet though, which in 15 years is something I’m very proud of.

I love getting dog commissions in.  I’ve always had a dog as part of the family so I’m very fond of our faithful four-legged friends.  I’ve drawn all sorts of shapes and sizes over the years, from Cockapoo’s to Great Danes and Spaniels to Wolfhounds.  You name it, there’s a good chance I’ve already drawn it.

From photo to portrait…

Helen Matten - Shadow Stage 1 or 4 (dark) Stage 2 of 4 (dark) Stage 3 of 4 (dark) Stage 4 of 4 (dark)

This gorgeous little fella is called Shadow.  He was an absolute delight to draw.  Those lovely puppy-dog eye’s of his are fantastic.  I love drawing eye’s.  More often than not, I think it’s them that bring the portrait to life.

This portrait had been drawn onto an A4 sheet using a mixture of 2b – 5b pencils.  The photo’s don’t quite do the drawing justice but it gives you a good idea as to how I go about sketching each one.  It’s basically, scribbling the outlines and then filling them in with as much detail as possible.

A good few years ago, a lady once asked me to describe what I do.  I answered by saying that I was a bit like a human photocopier… you give me a photo and I copy it.  She thought I was putting myself down but I can’t say that I think of it in that way.  Not everyone can draw what they see in such detail onto a sheet of paper.  I’m really fortunate that it comes naturally to me and I love it.

Pencil Portraits

Very detailed black and white pencil portraits are my specialty… of both people and animals.

On average, a head and shoulder portrait will take about 25 hours to draw.  I work from photographs, so portraits are easily commissioned from throughout the UK and beyond.

The better the photo, the better the portrait… well, that’s usually the case anyway.  Although saying that, I’ve drawn from photographs that have been a bit on the blurry side and these helped me create some gorgeous soft focus portraits.

Young Lady - Photo A4 Young Lady - Portrait A4

I like my drawings to be as precise as possible.  I very rarely change something within a portrait that isn’t seen within the photograph… except to ignore the odd chocolate smudge on a child’s face or the drool plastered across a dogs nose.  I’ve had plenty of those little tweaks to do over the years.

I often get asked what I like to draw most of all.  This isn’t a tricky question to answer.  I love drawing from any photograph that is bursting with character… whether it be a baby’s heartwarming smile or newly weds laughing during their first dance, a kitten pawing at it’s own shadow or a horse intrigued by something beyond the stable door.  If the face tells a story then I can’t wait to copy it onto paper.

This is one of my most favourite commissions that I have had the pleasure to draw.  As you can see from the photo, it wasn’t the clearest to copy from but boy oh boy, those cheeky smiles sure made up for that.  I loved every minute of it!

Neil Hawkins - Photo - Blog Neil Hawkins - Portrait - Blog



About me

A very warm welcome to everyone reading this… my very own Blog!

Now, anyone who knows me could tell you that I obviously wasn’t at the front of the queue when technical minds were getting dished out, so please bare with me.

Firstly, here is a brief introduction to me, my portrait business and how it all started many moons ago… January 1999 to be exact.

I’ve had a flare for art for as long as I can remember.  As a child I was never too far away from my pencils and sketch book.  I enjoyed art at school although I didn’t really get my teeth into the less realistic stuff, much to my teacher’s frustration I’m sure (apologies Mr Carrol).

Due to that and the lure of finding a career rather than staying a student, I decided against Art College and opted for a “proper job” instead.  All of which helped me gain valuable skills in customer service and marketing to name just two.

Several years on, wanderlust took hold so I put on my backpack and ventured to places new.  On returning back to the UK, the travel bug was still nipping at my heals.  The thought of settling back into the Monday to Friday working routine didn’t appeal.  I also needed a job which could easily be uprooted if the urge to explore again became too strong…

The perfect time to start my very own portrait business I thought.

Fifteen years later, it has proved to be one of the best decisions I have ever made!

So, this is me now… well, on my wedding day actually – An A3 portrait that I drew for a bridal magazine

Euan and Sami - Portrait A4

I have finally settled in Castle Douglas, a lovely little town situated in the beautiful region of Dumfries and Galloway, South West Scotland.  I now work from home, being kept extremely busy drawing commissions for people throughout the UK and beyond.

It’s got to be said, I love what a do… being able to draw a special moment in time for someone to treasure forever.  To me, it doesn’t get much better than that.