Family portrait: progression photos

This year for Christmas I decided to draw for my mum an amateur A1 size family portrait of her, myself and my sister. When I did Art A-level over 10 years ago, I drew portraits of my dad, grandma and late grandfather. My drawings were much more realistic and detailed then, when I was practising drawing on a regular basis, but my mum has always wanted me to draw her and her two daughters together… so with mum experiencing awful health difficulties at the moment, I figured what more a perfect time to (hopefully) make her overjoyed, than at Christmastime? So, here we are fellow bloggers; please see below progression photos (start to finish) of my latest family portrait. Hope you enjoy:

Family portrait:


My light box has decided it doesn’t want to work any more (stupid thing), so I stencilled the outline of all three subjects on A1 paper. I began by sketching my sister (left), I also thought it might look pretty to incorporate a lotus flower design border. (The subjects were drawn using artists’ sketching pencils, and the flower border charcoal pencils).


I then made a start on sketching my mum (middle subject). I wasn’t completely happy with the drawing of my mum at this stage. Her complexion was sketched a little too dark, and although quite detailed, mum didn’t appear as youthful as I knew she would like to be portrayed (too many wrinkles showing, haha)!


The last subject I sketched was myself (subject on the right of the drawing). I have drawn a few self-portraits in the past, so it didn’t take me as long to sketch myself. As you may be able to see in the photo above (bottom right photo), at this stage, the three subjects together did not quite ‘click’. My sister and myself stood out more than my mum in the middle, as I had sketched mum with more grey tones, but less definition.


So, the next task was to work on the portrait of mum. It was my intention to rubber out some of the shading, to tone down the shade of her complexion, whilst also using sketching pencils to darken some of her features, to make them ‘pop’ more. I tried to add more definition to her hair, lips, eyes etc.


Lastly, I subtlety sketched the background in light yellow, around each subject in a light blue, and around the lotus flowers in a light purple (these colours match the decor in our living room, where the drawing will be displayed, above our fireplace). I continued to improve all three subjects as I went along, finishing drawing the lotus flowers too; working from the left hand side of the paper to the right, as not to smudge.


And here is the final piece! It was framed by a local framing shop – a gorgeous dark brown frame and cream border – ready just in time for Christmas. Happy days 😛


I wrapped it up nicely with some beautiful festive Clinton’s Christmas wrapping paper, and blue ribbon…


And finally, here is my very beautifully festive, and extremely grateful and pleased mum opening her gift on Christmas day! 😀

Overall, the family portrait took me a total of quite a few weeks (many individual hours) to complete. It is rather difficult also to make adjustments to your subjects, on request – contoured cheekbones, larger lips, nice eyebrows, less wrinkles etc (I kept my double chin, haha) – and still keep at least some semblance to the people you are drawing,! This is obviously what I aimed to achieve in my family portrait, a likeness, as well as of course, putting a big smile on the face of a lady very special to me… my best friend, my mum 🙂

A very merry Christmas and a wonderful new year to you all!

Thank you for reading / viewing. Much love, Lauren x


(Please visit my Facebook page ‘UnicornPostbox’ to ‘like’ and ‘follow’)

© 2017 Lauren Parr /


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