I started experimenting with portraits when I was in high school. I've often been asked if I studied portrait art. I did not. I just practiced a lot. Pencil was my absolute favorite medium at the time and I would have rather been drawing than doing almost anything.
One question I get asked a lot is: "What is your favorite type of art?" I usually respond with something like this: "I love painting! I love watercolor in particular! I love working with the vibrancy and color the medium offers. However, it is not my strength. Sigh... portraits are my strength."
This is not to say that I no longer enjoy drawing, because that would be untrue. I go through ups and downs with drawing. I have to be particularly motivated to sit down and do it. The benefit of watercolor is that I can, generally, in one sitting, put a whole piece together. This is not the case with portrait art.
A portrait, like the three I have displayed to the right, takes me, usually, around 14 hours from start to completion. When you are working in multiple shades of one hue, it takes a lot longer to create depth.
I tend to be very realistic and logical in many ways, and that overflows greatly into my artwork. I can appreciate the creativity, dimension, and beauty in surrealism, but I do not have the mind to create those things on my own. I can make things look the way they are supposed to look. If it's supposed to look like a chair, then it will. You will never see purple bananas or blue cherries here.
My favorite things to draw in portraits are eyes, the philtrum (the small dip below the nose and above the lip), and hair. I feel like these features add a lot of depth, personality, and dimension.
I like the point of creating a picture where all of a sudden the image pops off the page. This usually happens around the half way point for me. So, the last 7 hours of a portrait, I so much enjoy. If only I could start every portrait half way completed... my portfolio would be huge!