September 17, 2011

Laura Roslin pencil portrait


For the last year or two, Etsy commissions have been keeping me busy, so it's been a long time since I did any pencil portraits just for myself. My husband and I, after watching every episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Stargate SG-1, decided that we were still not as nerdy as we could be, so we turned our bloodshot eyes to the show Battlestar Galactica. And we loved it. I was particularly touched by Mary McDonnell's performance as the serene and dignified President Laura Roslin, so some fanart was in order.

Now that I look at the drawing on the computer screen, there's something a bit off about the eyes. So I may adjust it a little. But overall I'm very satisfied with how this came out. This 11x14 portrait took about 8 or 9 hours over the course of a week. I love Roslin's big, curly hair so I was very, very careful about drawing it to look smooth and shiny. Here's the drawing in progress:

Here are some detail closeups:

Yes, I'd say that my Geek Quotient is very high now. *gives self a high five*


  1. Oh that is a excellent job!!!!!!

    I love the hair how pretty it is.

  2. This is fantastic. How do you do the hair so well? I draw pencil portraits as well, but hair has always been something that escapes me.

  3. Hi Matthew, thanks for the comment. Here's my brief overview of drawing hair:
    1. Think of hair as ribbons rather than lots of individual strands. Hair comes in chunks.
    2. Take the time to draw the hair carefully rather than scribbling it in. This definitely takes a lot of patience but there's just no way around it.
    3. Highlights are essential for making the hair look soft and shiny. Where to put the highlights is something you have to learn from practice.

  4. The eyes in your drawing look better than the photograph! She seems to be squinting in the photo but your eyes look more normal.

  5. AMAZING - very good work. My husband and I have one episode of Season 2 left. We're blowing through the seasons and I'm going to be so sad when it's over. I love Madam President. And Admiral Odama. I liken Odama to Dumbledore. Flawed but great. Sigh - such a good show.

    *Major nerd alert, amiright?

  6. Katie, that's awesome!! Just wait until you get to the last season, it's so intense!

  7. I absolutely love her! And what a great drawing!

  8. Captain Raidor! Perfect! :)

  9. Someone once told me that my eyes were like Mary McDonnal's (back when she was in Dancing With Wolves). Yeah, I thought she was nuts, too.


  10. You should submit this to deviantART. It's a lrage art community and your work will reach a wider audience.

  11. Thanks, Ajith! I meant to do that but forgot about it. You can see it at .

  12. This is a gorgeous drawing. It's the best pencil portrait of Ms. McDonnell I've ever seen.


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