A few weeks ago I was contacted by a PhD student completing a history thesis on Cornelius O’Brien at the University of Limerick. He had a sketch made of Cornelius which got destroyed by his nephew, by accident of course šŸ™‚ He wanted me to draw a new portrait of this historic figure. All he had as a reference was an old etching. He needed the drawing completed within a week in time for his presentation. I managed to move a few projects around and finish the drawing in time, so the client was delighted.

A portrait of Cornelius O’Brien, 38 x 25 cm, black graphite pencils on paper

The client gave me another photo of a typical men hair style from the Victorian era of the 1850s as the etching was very unclear around his head. I worked in the size of 38 x 25 cm with black graphite pencils. As always I worked on Fabriano 5 paper which is fantastic at withstanding a lot of layers of pencil. A lot of the drawing was down to my own interpretation which I thoroughly enjoyed. I created a line sketch at first and then detailed the portrait in layers.

The finished drawing on paper

The client was very pleased with the outcome and wrote me an email upon receiving the drawing too:

Hi Ivana, I am speechless at how perfect the sketch is and I can’t thank you enough for this….Just letting you know I received the drawing yesterday afternoon. Thank you so much. Earlier this week I was a nervous wreck because of what happened to my work but with your help, this became a central piece in my academic review presentation which I came away feeling it went well. I will even be using it in a presentation for a talk on the O’Brien family for the opening of an O’Brien’s Tower that was restored in Liscannor. Thank you so much for this.

Colm, County Clare, Ireland
  • Original etching
  • Drawing detail