I get lots of questions emailed to me and because replying to everyone individually takes time and I don’t want to you to not get your questions answered, I’ve decided to put the most frequently asked ones here all together in one place.
(Please note, this page contains affiliate links. This means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase after clicking on one of my links. This enables me to make an income while still providing free resources & content. Read more in my affiliate disclosure.)
How do I find time to draw around work, family and other commitments?
I know exactly how you feel. I am a Mum to twins and have to fit in my artwork around school time, holidays and other commitments. I often get to the end of the day feeling like I’ve done nothing.
I find it helps to make a realistic schedule and plan your drawing and painting time, instead of simply ‘fitting it in when you have time’.
You also have to remember than any time spent drawing is better than nothing, so even if you only have time to commit to drawing for 15 minutes every day, it soon adds up.
How do you make your drawings so realistic?
The 2 essentials for realistic drawings are to make sure your proportions are accurate and you use a wide range of values and tones in your shading to depict the form of whatever it is you’re drawing. I recommend these 2 Skillshare classes for learning how to draw accurately and improving your shading:
- Draw anything: Basic techniques for realistic proportions
- Shading & values: Use the power of light & shadow to create realistic art
How do I become a better artist?
The most important piece of advice I can give you is to practice lots and lots. However, sometimes it isn’t enough to simply practice what you already know, so here are a few extra suggestions too:
- Push yourself out of your comfort zone. Try new mediums, techniques and subjects to keep growing as an artist all the time.
- Make bad art and move on. You will not be an expert overnight. You won’t be able to paint & draw like your heroes overnight. Allow yourself to make bad art, then get over it and move on to make more art.
- Learn to observe. Observe everything. Observe light and colour and anatomy and people and as you’re observing, think about how you might be able to draw or paint those things. When you learn to observe as an artist you see the world in a way that few people ever get to.
- Don’t wait to be inspired. Turn up and draw or paint every day, even if it’s just for a short time. Drawing is a skill that can be learnt but you have to put in the effort.
Where did you learn to draw?
I am self-taught in the sense that I never went to art school. I have improved my skills and honed my style through hours and hours of practice and trial and error. However, I have also learnt lots of new techniques & tips from watching YouTube videos, online painting memberships and Skillshare classes.
What materials do you recommend?
I always recommend buying the highest quality materials you can afford. Pay particular attention to the quality of your drawing or painting supplies and your paper. I have listed the supplies I use here, along with my suggestions for budget-friendly art supply buying.
Do you do tutorials?
Questions about my classes
Why are your classes only available on Skillshare?
I chose to put my classes on Skillshare because the platform allows me to make an income from students watching my classes and referring new students while allowing students to access my classes without additional investment.
What is Skillshare anyway?
Skillshare is an online learning community which contains over 22,000 classes in many different subjects from painting and drawing to website design.
On their website, Skillshare states their purpose is “…to make the new economy an open meritocracy, where the skills and expertise needed to succeed are available for anyone willing to learn them”.
How much do your classes cost?
My classes are available to current premium members on Skillshare without paying any extra than their current membership. Students that are new to Skillshare will get 2 months free premium membership on signing up with my affiliate link. So, basically, they’re free!
What’s included in your classes?
Classes are all video-based and while some will build on skills taught in other classes, they are all standalone classes. Videos are a mixture of slides and demonstrations, both with a detailed voiceover. They all contain:
- Information on essential supplies.
- Basic drawing techniques required to complete the class.
- Step by step tutorial and demos in a mixture of real-time and sped-up video.
- A class project to complete that will enable you to put your newly learnt skills into practice.
- A walkthrough of the project to help you complete it stress-free.
- A community discussion area to allow you to ask questions.
Can I download the videos to my own device?
No, you cannot download the videos to your device. You have access to the class videos as long as you are a premium Skillshare member. If you use the Skillshare app, you can download the classes to the app so you have access to them without having internet access.
Can I get feedback on my final project?
Yes, I can provide feedback. You can ask for feedback in the community area of the class. If you would prefer private feedback, you can send me an email to northhighlandsartist[at]gmail[dot]com with a link to your uploaded Skillshare project and I will provide feedback via email.
Do you only draw pets?
I mainly draw pets, however, it’s always a pleasure to draw something different, so if you would like anything else drawn, please contact me to discuss it. You can examples of my drawings in the Pencil Portraits Gallery.
Do you only work in graphite pencil?
I also work in alcohol markers and watercolour and gouache, however, at the moment, my skills in these mediums aren’t at a level that I’m comfortable with for creating commissions. So I only offer commissions in graphite pencil.
How much is a Pet Portrait?
The price of a Pet Portrait depends on the size you order. All standard sizes and prices are listed on the Pet Portraits Pricing page.
How long will my Pet Portrait take?
Pet Portrait lead times vary quite a lot depending on current workload and the size of the portrait you’ve ordered. The minimum time is 4 weeks and it can extend up to 12 weeks or more at busy times. Please contact me before ordering a Pet Portrait if you need it done quickly.
Do you post worldwide?
Yes, I do. I am based in the UK but have sent Pet Portraits to the US, India, Australia and more.
How do you post your Pet Portraits?
Pet Portraits are sent via Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed within the UK. This service is fully tracked and insured and guarantees delivery the next working day. Pet Portraits are normally posted flat within the UK.
International posting services depend on the country they are being sent to. Where possible they are sent with tracking and a signature on delivery. International delivery times vary with a minimum time of 3 working days.
Are your Pet Portraits framed?
No. They are sent unframed to allow you to make the choice on framing to best suit your personal tastes and style of your home.
Do you draw from photographs?
Yes, all of my Pet Portraits are drawn from photographs. High-quality photographs with an excellent likeness to your pet are essential for me to create a successful portrait. I have to approve your photographs before a Pet Portrait order is confirmed.
Do you send digital files of my Pet Portrait?
No, you will receive an original drawing, not digital files. However, if you would like digital files of your Pet Portrait for personal use, please ask.
Can I use my Pet Portrait for commercial use?
Pet Portraits are drawn purely for your own personal use. To use your Pet Portrait for commercial use would require a further commercial license. Please contact me if you require a commercial license for your Pet Portrait.
Do you offer a guarantee?
Yes, I do. All Pet Portraits are guaranteed for quality and a likeness to the photographs you supplied of your pet. You will be sent a final photograph of your Pet Portrait for approval before it is dispatched and no Pet Portraits are dispatched without 100% client approval.
- Visit the Blog for Free resources, tips, techniques and reviews.
- Learn to draw Pet Portraits in graphite pencil with my Pet Portraits 101 class. It’s available for Free for new Skillshare members.
- Discover my favourite Drawing & Painting supplies.
- Head over to YouTube for speed drawings, demos, tutorials and reviews.
- View examples of Pet Portraits in the Pencil Portraits Gallery
- Find out How to Commission a Pet Portrait
- Check the Pet Portraits prices and sizes.