Hi all!

There’s nothing I like so much than accepting a challenge! When a customer approached me to do a bespoke A3 collage of all of her mother’s grandchildren I was nervous to say the least! I’ve never combined so many pictures of so many subjects of all different ages. As usual though, the challenge came from the variations in the clarity of the photographs.

girl younger The first photo that I started with was undoubtedly the clearest. As usual, the drawing was relatively quick and easy to do and only took approximately 60 hours.

louise finished 1

What beautiful eyes! I was so pleased with it and luckily so was the customer! She wanted to see each one as I went which I was more than happy to do. The next photograph was just as clear:

boy 3

You can see the resemblance: look at the eyelashes! After approximately 70 hours of work here is the second drawing:

louise finished 2

When combined, it started to come together. The customer wanted the slogan ‘All Our Love’ written in the middle of the drawings so these letters were pencilled in.

louise finished 1&2

The next photograph was slightly more challenging. The light was off and when I zoomed in the picture was completely pixelated.


Because of the lighting, the boy’s teeth looked much more pointy in the photograph than they did in reality according to the customer. After 85 hours of drawing, the final drawing was completed.

louise finished 3

The fourth picture was in black and white. Although I only work in pencil which is essentially black and white, black and white pictures can often distort or omit certain details. It is actually better to have a clear coloured photograph than a black and white one.

baby 2 use

As you can see, the dark values are far darker than would be possible to replicate in the collage without making this drawing look out of place with the others. Therefore, the final drawing had to be toned down to make it fit:

louise finished 4

The fifth photograph was lovely and clear and so it took 60 hours to complete.

boy 4 use

Something that I realised whilst taking this photograph was the variant of tones that is caused by the light at different times of the day. When taking a photograph at night (which is when I tend to do most of my drawing) the light gives the drawing a warm, almost pinky, hue that distorts the features somewhat. It was this that made me realise that I needed to invest in a good digital camera.

louise finished 5

The sixth photograph was equally as clear which was a bonus as I was able to see all of her beautiful curls.

older girl use

However, given the space available, I was only able to draw her face and torso. This actually made for a lovely drawing

louise finished 6

The seventh and eighth drawing were where the problems lay in this drawing. The photograph was so unclear that it actually distorted their faces beyond recognition. In fact, after a preliminary sketch, the customer commented that the features were not an accurate representation. This was the original photograph:


And after a conversation with the customer and a great deal of photographs exchanged, this is what the girls actually look like:

summer left


It was decided to use the faces of the girls in the last two pictures on the bodies of the girls in the first picture. It just shows the importance of a clear photograph:

louise finished 7&8

This drawing took approximately 190 hours of work!

Here’s the final piece with the letters included:


Stay tuned for further blogs and projects!