Hi Everyone, I thought I’d do a post about the way I create the portraits I am commissioned to do. Although each one is totally unique, the process I use to work on them is the same each time, and as I get asked a lot of questions about how I create them I thought it would be good to show you here from start to finish.

When I am asked to do a portrait for someone it can be of a single person, two people or a whole family. This can include pets as they are an importrant part of families for lots of you.

Before I start I ask for photographs of each character and if there is something particular you would like to be doing in the picture, and any special item’s you want me to add, this could be a special toy or certain clothes, they could be singing, dancing, anything!

This family asked to be in their favourite place which was the Botanical Gardens so I popped them all amongst the trees, which they loved. I don’t need a lot of information but it is easier for me to capture the character of each family if I know something about them, and most importantly, have a clear photo of each person.



Family Portrait in the botanics by Sam Miller UK

Once I have the photos of everyone, I do a very rough sketch of the composition. None of the people have to be in the same photo, as I can define where I want each person to be, and what they are doing in the picture. As you can see from these sketches below, they really are basic and just to give me an idea of what i need to do for each person.


Initial sketches planning a composition for a Family Portrait by Sam miller UK.

I then start to work on each individual character. I use an old-fashioned technique for this, I simply sit down with a pen and paper and draw! I work on each person separately as I find this a much easier way to get each person just right, and I can easily edit each one, and can move them about to fit the composition when I bring it all together at the end.

The amount of time I spend on each person can vary significantly, and there is no logical reason for this. I just find that I can draw some people in one go, and can capture everything I wanted to straight away. then other people for some unknown reason I struggle to draw! Sometimes I have to step away from them for a while as I can’t quite get them down on paper. However so far I have never failed to illustrate someone, so it might take a few sketches but I always get there and so far have had 100% happy clients!


Series of sketches by Sam Miller UK for one person in a family portrait.


Once I have each character ready, I scan them onto the computer and start putting them together into a composition, and add all the colours digitally. I will talk  about this in my next post but I just wanted to show a sketch with the original photographs, to show you how I add my own style whilst bringing the persons image to life.

I will talk about how I manipulate the digital processes I use on the images, to resize, add color and even change body-parts in Part 2.


Sketch from a photograph by Sam miller UK.

© Copyright  Sam Miller 2014
All the artwork on this website is original and belongs to Sam Miller UK. They must not be copied, used or reproduced without the permission of the artist. Thank you.