Sketching ideas: Lemons and Limes

In all kinds of drawing, be it still-life, landscapes or portraits it’s a really useful exercise to look at elements of your composition in relation to each other.

By observing the objects you draw and looking at their relationships to each other you start to think about the accuracy of your picture as a whole.

Is one of your objects taller, wider, in-front or behind another?

Where does the light come from? Where are your shadows falling?

Here’s a few step-by-step photos of a still-life study of lemons and limes. I used my Moleskine sketchbook, a 2B pencil for roughing out the shapes, a 4B pencil for adding shadows and definition, a blending stump and rubber.

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Commission Questions

I love creating artwork that is personal and meaningful to my customers and what better way to do that than draw from your favourite photos. But how do you go about it? What’s the best kind of photo, how long does it take, how much does it cost? The questions and answers below cover materials, sizes, process and prices. If you’d like to know anything else then drop me an email or visit my facebook page to find out more.

I would love a portrait of my pet, I’ve seen your work and love what you do. Could you tell me a bit more about the process involved and how much it would cost?

Of course! I’m Beth, I’m a UK-based artist, illustrator and print-maker. I think that custom portraits make wonderful keepsakes and really thoughtful gifts. It’s such a privilege to create personal and original portraits for so many clients that are perfect for all kinds of occasions. I specialise in dogs and horses.

I love working in soft, colour pastels on Murano toned pastel paper. I use acid-free artist quality materials that will last. The colours are rich and blend beautifully. I also work in graphite or charcoal for a monochromatic look or oil or acrylic paints onto canvas panels.

I draw, or paint each artwork by hand from photos that you provide. I love to focus on the subject, using a variety of colours to bring them to life. I would say that A4 portraits take me between 10 – 14 hours to do. Larger works take longer and paintings take longer still, as I have to wait for paint layers to dry between applications.


What do you need to get started?

I need a great, clear, good quality photo to work from. One that makes you smile when you look at it. I would recommend a photo where you are looking at your pet at eye level, it makes for a really engaging portrait. If you’d like me to help with your photo selection you can email them through to me and I will be happy to advise.

What happens next?

I’ll do a preliminary sketch of your chosen photo and email it to you. This isn’t the final image, it’s a way for me to capture your photo and any thoughts you may have so we can agree on the concept before I make a start on your final artwork.

I work in different sizes (see table below in ‘Beth, how much does it cost?’) so let me know which portrait size you would like. I will email you an invoice that confirms the photo we’re using, the size and the price. I ask for a 25% deposit at this stage, so I can get all relevant materials and book you into my diary. This is payable through PayPal or Bank Transfer.

Once we’ve agreed the photo to use and your deposit has arrived I will make a start on your custom artwork and keep you up-to-date with its progress by email.

How long does it take?

I say the whole process usually takes about 2/3 weeks, but if you need it for a particular time, please ask. I will always try to re-prioritise to meet your date if I can.

Sounds good! When do I get to see the finished piece?

When I’m near completion I’ll send you a photo of the portrait for your approval. I check the details of where you would like it delivered (it requires a signature, so you may want me to send it to a work address) and this is when I ask for the balance of the payment, prior to dispatch.


How do you send it to me?

For all pastel, graphite or charcoal work I hand-cut a mount and backing board and wrap it in a crystal clear cello wrap to protect the pastel. It helps to keep the picture flat. It also finishes it off nicely if you are giving it as a present.

Then I wrap your artwork with foam board and bubble wrap to protect it on its journey. I send all artwork by Royal Mail Special Delivery, which is an insured service and will require a signature on receipt.

Beth, how much does it cost?

All prices detailed below include p&p to the UK. They are valid up to January 2022. All pastel and pencil artwork comes in a hand-cut mount and is unframed.

Pastel/Graphite portraits 2020/1

PETS A4 10″ x 10″ 12″ x 12″
1 £160.00 £220.00 £285.00
2 £295.00 £350.00
3 £365.00 £450.00

Painted portraits 2020

Painted canvas work starts at £350 for a 40cm x 40cm 1 pet original in oil paints on a stretched canvas panel ready to hang (unframed).  I can quote for specific size requirements or more pets. Please get in touch for more details

That’s great, thank you. If I have any further questions can I get in touch?

Of course you can, at any point in the process! You can message me on my Facebook Page if that suits you best, or my email is and I will always answer within 24 hours. Please also feel free to check out the gallery where you can see examples of my work.