how to draw portraits – tutorials and ideas

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Hello everybody in my artist studio!

I’m going to share some tips and ideas to learn portraits drawing male and female. We start to draw any part of a human body with a pencil as any objects with schematic forms and without unnecessary details.

Portraits drawing for beginners

I suggest you start to draw a face with a sharp photograph than with a live person. This will make you feel more comfortable starting to understand how to draw portraits in pencil step by step. You will do it without feeling pressured by someone who poses for you and remaining calm enough to be able to draw.

Drawing portraits from photos are really what we have been doing from the very beginning. How to make a good photo so that it reflects well in our drawing?  Avoid blurring your photos because you will only be able to paint what you can clearly see. Use bright locations or a lighting fixture to illuminate the entire face well in detail.

I do not suggest to start learning from portrait drawings by other artists because you will be unable to develop your own language and style. Suppose you are interested in drawing from other people’s drawings. So I will make a specific post with clear recommendations on which links to take.

Starting a pencil portrait

Start by marking the face height and width to make it easier for you to see proportions. As to facial anatomy, you can compare how many times width is contained in a face height. Draw the shape of a face oval schematically. You don’t need to round off features at this point.

Mark imaginary lines for the height or position of eyes, a nose, and a mouth. You should pay attention to the distance between the eye height, a tip of a nose, and a position or the lips tilt. The likeness of any face is largely due to these sizes. Take your time with detailing. The original design should be well-built.

How to draw eyes, a nose, and a mouth

Eyes are drawn quite simply. Upper eyelid curves and lower ones in a form of contracted ovals are almost a mirror image of one another. Iris circles extend beyond a top line. Bottom curves don’t reach irises. Eyelid contours follow spherical contours of eyeballs. Upper eyelids run almost parallel to upper lines and reach irises.

how to draw

The same situation applies to lower eyelids. But they narrow at both ends. Pay attention to the peculiarities of lash curls.

You can first sketch out eyes in the shape of an almond or a diamond. The distance between both eyes is equal to their length. Eye whites are not visually absolutely white. It is necessary to shade eye whites, as eyelashes invariably cast shadows on them.

A nose must be made in a triangular shape. This imaginary triangle is born between the eyebrows. Place nose fins at the triangle base. A mouth initially has a rhombic shape. You can note a distance between the corners of lips. Remember to make your drawn mouth proportional.

You can use a vertical line to note mouth position relative to eyes. You need to place hair around a perimeter. Hair will help you understand the whole face. Set the neck width and the beginning of the shoulders in the same way.

Rounding shapes for a more realistic look

We are now at the point where we have an embedded and started portrait. We can move forward in search of more natural and rounded shapes. You can half-erase lace lines that bother you and complete your pattern with more organic and softer lines. For they resemble the appearance you see in a photo.

Likewise, this will be the point where you can include the smallest areas: gaps, ear holes, eyelashes, corners, and folds of lips. The motto we are following is: from general to specific. Don’t be impatient. Place details in proper places.

If you would like to learn a little more about face drawing techniques, feel free to contact me on Facebook to visit my tutorials. I look forward to meeting you in our creative online workshop.

See you soon!

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