Montage Pencil Illustrations

Steps of a Custom Pencil Drawing

The images and text below outline the basic steps in my custom pencil illustration process. To see my online portfolio, prices and terms, please visit my custom pencil drawings page.

Pencil Portraits of Pets and Families

Step 1: Create a basic pencil sketch of the various subjects

Steps in a montage pencil drawing: sketch for approvalThe first step in my process to create a montage pencil portrait is a basic line sketch of the various subjects.Often times, I try multiple layouts, and the client gets to choose his/her favorite approach.

This sketches are sent to the client for approval before the final pencil rendering work begins. The client may also request minor changes to subjects and the layout.


Step 2: Transfer the approved line sketch to the archival paper

Steps in a montage pencil drawing: transfer sketch to final drawing paperThe second step in my process is to transfer the approved sketch to the archival drawing paper. I then begin the rendering process, starting in the upper left hand corner and working downward & across the paper. I keep acid free paper covering any parts of the drawing that may come into contact with my hand/arm, so that oils from my skin do not affect the paper surface.


Step 3: Continue rendering the details with various pencils

Steps in a montange pencil drawing: begin rendering the detailsThe bulk of my drawing time is applied to the detail work on the drawing. I begin slowly building up areas of the portrait, giving careful consideration to what needs to be darkest/lightest in order ot make the drawing pop. A variety of pencils are used in this part of the drawing: from 2H through 2B.


Step 4: Building more of the details

Steps in a montage pencil drawing: building the shading and detail workDetails are added gradually, so as not to overwork the drawing.


Step 5: Finalize the details

Steps in a montage pencil drawing: adding more detail graduallyMore and more shading is added, continuing with care so as not to make any area too heavy in ink, as that would unbalance the final art. As I approach a completed rendering, I generally set the drawing aside for several days before finishing the work. I find it helps to look at the piece with fresh eyes, again, as a way to avoid overworking the portrait. (Overworking refers to too much shading, which creates a flat or muddy appearance.)



Step 6: Double-mat and finish!

Once final, the drawing is mounted on foam core, double-matted, and prepared for shipping!

Steps in a montage pencil  drawing: double-mat and ship