Graphite pencil (3b and 6b) on A3 UPM Digi 190gsm bright white paper. Kneadable eraser, wedged eraser, makeup pads and cotton tips for blending.

I created this piece to challenge myself and to give myself something inspiring and intricate to draw – it’s very differnt to the usual ‘smile for the camera’ poses which my commission work so often involves. It is certainly the most time I’ve ever spent on one piece (I’d estimate around 35 – 40 hours all up) and it’s the piece I am most proud of to date. I loved the challenge of creating all the wrinkles and crevices and shadows and contrasts.

The subject is actually my beloved Dad. I asked him to pose for a few reference photographs and I ended up taking dozens. He has such an interesting face – wonderfully expressive and illustrative of a life well lived. Dad is at a crossroads in his life. My beautiful mother, Dad’s wife and best mate of 37 years, passed away a couple of years ago, and, consequently, many things have changed in his life. He is a little uncertain and somewhat introspective about his future, as most of us are on some level. “Time will tell” for Dad…. and all of us I suppose.

Featured in the groups Graphite Pencil Artists, Strictly Human Faces, #1 Artists of Red Bubble, The Eyes Have It, No More Colour, Solo Exhibition, Top Favourites, Fine Arts, & Photo Realistic Artwork. Winner of avatar challenge – Pencil Drawing Group, Winner of “Headshots – not a lot of hair” challenge – Headshots Group, Top 10 “Faces Up Close” – Art Up Close Group; “Art Only Challenge” – No More Colour Group; and a STAR group challenge.

1017 views/60 favourites as at 17 June 2011.


  • Bobby Dar
    Bobby Darover 4 years ago

    so nice
    specualy fingers

  • That was quick! Thanks so much Bobby :)

    – Jo Holden

  • sorina
    sorinaover 4 years ago

    wonderful detail, beautiful work!

  • Thank you Sorina :)

    – Jo Holden

  • Michele Filoscia
    Michele Filosciaover 4 years ago

    I have a question for you: Why not 4B instaed 3B? Many thanks. Awesome work, good luck for your competition!! Bye

  • Hi Mike, good question! I’m not sure really – I used to use a 2b and 7b, but now I favour a 3b and 6b. I like that a 3b is still fairly soft and can be blended easily but it’s not too soft and then I like using the 6b for added depth. I think the 3b is a good ‘all rounder’. Thanks for your interest, Jo :)

    – Jo Holden

  • Jean M. Laffitau
    Jean M. Laffitauover 4 years ago

    WOW!!! What an amazing, fantastic portrait!

  • Thanks so much Jean. Much appreciated :)

    – Jo Holden

  • Jo-anne Corteza
    Jo-anne Cortezaover 4 years ago

    Hello Jo, this is a very interesting piece of work… love the expression, those wrinkles were well-done absolutely… eyes’ expressions are so alive…so wonderful how you went through with the details on the mustache and fingers too….this is very unique as it is different from your smiling commissioned portraits… over all, I am in awe. I wish you the best in the competition. Win or not, this is a sure 10 out of 10 for me ;-) :-) :-) … I am sorry to hear about your loss… I’ll pray for grace and comfort for you dad. And yes, Time will Tell for all of us :-) Take care my friend :-)

  • Thank you so much Jo-anne for your lovely comments. Much appreciated :)

    – Jo Holden

  • hollypaino
    hollypainoover 4 years ago

    Damn, that’s incredible! xx

  • Thanks so much Holly! :)

    – Jo Holden

  • mohawk man
    mohawk manover 4 years ago

    truly amazing work jo, my dad lost my mom some 15 years ago; he often has the same type of look about him. i too am sorry for your and his loss.

  • Thank you so much for your kind comments. Greatly appreciated :)

    – Jo Holden

  • Jo Holden
    Jo Holdenover 4 years ago

  • ian osborne
    ian osborneover 4 years ago

    Wonderful portrait, full of character, and superbly done.

  • Thank you so much Ian :)

    – Jo Holden

  • ToastedGhost
    ToastedGhostover 4 years ago

    Amazing Work
    look after him

  • Thank you so much. Will do! :)

    – Jo Holden

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