Robert Burke - Portraits in Pencil

People Portraits

There are many reasons why people consider commissioning a portrait: It may be to record a family member as a baby, child, coming of age, adult or pensioner; it could be a to celebrate a persons achievement such as obtaining a degree or wining a race. It could be to record the service of a company director or industry lead figure; or it could be to record the wedding of a happy couple.

Nowadays the most common form of portraits is for a person to visit a professional photography studio. Whilst a photograph has the advantages of being an exact recording of the subject that can be identically reproduced time and time again, the photograph does lack the individuality of a unique hand drawn portrait. When people look at traditionally drawn portrait, they not only see the image, but also the the skill time and dedication that goes in to creating it.

A portrait is the ideal way to display a unique and individually created image of the subject, the portrait can become a cherished possession for you or your family for many years to come. The portraits also make the ideal gift to a family member or friend.

A great deal of time, effort and dedication is put into capturing an incredible likeness of the person I am drawing. Only when I am happy that I have achieved an image that I feel will be recognised by anyone who knows them, will I release a proof drawing for the customer to review. Even then I am happy to rework the drawing and make changes the customer feels may improve it further.

I work from either photographs provided by the customer, or can come and take photos of your pet if you live reasonably local to me. To help ensure the photograph is of a quality and resolution I am able to work from, I have included a page that details a few tips and pointers for obtaining the best shot.

You can access the photo tips and pointers page by clicking here

It is not always possible to take a perfect single photograph, but don't worry too much as I should be able to select details of your pet from several photos.

Each portrait I produce is individually hand drawn on high quality, heavy weight, fine grained drawing paper, using a range of quality sketching and graphics pencils. Once the portrait has been completed and approved by the customer, the surface is sealed to prevent smudging and minimise the possibility of damage to the picture.

The original hand drawn image is provided to the customer and includes options for further printed copies that have been created from a high quality digital scan of the original drawing. Copies are printed using high quality pigment ink on the same heavy weight paper as the original sketch and can be individually signed with a copy and limited edition print run number.

Commissioning A Portrait

If you are considering commissioning a portrait, we aim to make the process as straight forward as possible. All the information on the process is contained in brief within the paragraphs below, and in detail on the Commissioning a Portrait page.

Following the five steps below will allow you to gather all the information needed to complete a Commission Request.

  1. Reference Photographs - choose, take or commission a reference photo,
  2. How Many Subjects - how many heads, whether the body and a background is required,
  3. The Portrait Size - one of the standard A5 to A2 paper sizes, or a special size to suit your hanging space,
  4. Framing Options - do you want us to to supply the portrait only, or to mount and frame it for you,
  5. Delivery - do you want us to post the portrait out to you, or can you collect it or arrange your own collection.

If you are unsure on any part of this please feel free to call us. We would be very happy to talk with you on any aspect of our work, or the commissioning process. Details of how to get in touch are on the Contact page.

Choosing a Reference Photograph

The first choice is whether you already have a favourite photograph of the subject that is suitable, are looking for information on the best way to take the reference photographs, or do you live local to me (near Tamworth, Staffordshire, England) and would like me to come and take the photograph for you. My
Taking a Suitable Photo page will guide you through whats needed when choosing, taking or commissioning a reference photo.

How Many Subjects are in the Portrait

Drawing with pencil is extremely flexible and allows for many options with the finished portrait. The framed portrait at the top of this page is simply the child's head and shoulders without any background, which works well for an individual subject. For groups of people or a person doing a specific task it might be better to consider showing the full subjects, or even showing them within a full background that adds context to the image.

A portrait isn't limited to one subject, it could be a montage of several images of the same person at different ages, or or a group of different people either photographed together or combined from different photo's. the portrait could even be of the person with a family pet.

Available sizes

Pet portraits can be commissioned in standard sizes ranging from A5 (5.5 x 8 inches) to A2 (16 x 23 inches). Larger or non standard sizes can also be made available and information on different sized drawings will be provided on request.

More details on size options are available by clicking here

Framing Options

Portraits can be provided either as the portrait only, the portrait taped to a standard mount for you to fit to readily available frames, the portrait taped to a standard mount and fitted in to one of our standard frames, or mounted and fitted to a custom frame to suit your frame size and style requirements. Each portrait will be supplied with a certificate of authenticity so future provenance of the portrait can be demonstrated and the framed portraits will include a sticker on the back of the frame giving the details of the certificate of authenticity.

More details on framing options are available by clicking here


All portraits are are delivered in the UK using Royal Mail recorded delivery and will need to be signed for on receipt. Delivery to other countries is available via various courier services and prices will be checked and made available before order processing.

More details on delivery options are available by clicking here

Portrait Prices

I offer portraits in a range of size and detail options. A breakdown of the options with the respective price is given on my commissioning a portrait page. A Commission Proposal will be sent following your enquiry giving a detailed breakdown of your Commission request together with a price quotation.

More details on pricing options are available by clicking here


Customers comments about their Portraits

Read more customer testimonials by clicking here