Portrait Drawing – 5 Tips to Improve

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Drawing a portrait is not a simple task to do. We all know how beautiful these portraits look if they are made beautifully. But it requires a lot of practice, skills, and the right approach to create these beautiful-looking portraits. Although mastering the art of making portraits takes time, you can start making amazing portraits in very little time if you follow the right approach. You have to consider a lot of things while you are creating any portrait so that you get the best final result with the proper nose, lips, realistic eyes, and most importantly, capturing the right emotion. All these things together form a great Portrait Drawing.

Portrait drawing

Image by Alexandra Haynak from Pixabay

Points to know before getting started with Portrait Drawing

One important thing that you should keep in mind while starting with portrait drawing is to start making the portrait with a pencil. It will help you in creating a strong foundation for yourself. It will bring more texture and form to the portraits that you will draw. There are a lot of pencils that you can consider while starting with a portrait. You can also use black watercolor to make these portraits in the initial phase of your practice. I would suggest you start using the colors in your portraits only once you are very comfortable creating portraits using the pencil or the black watercolor. It will help you get realism in your portraits as you would be using monochromatic schemes and grayscale to master the art.

It would be best if you started with the real basics. You do not have to invest in any gear or things to get started with the portraits. You can use anything available to you. In the beginning, it is all about learning the art and practicing it. You can use the pencils you have, the drawing book that you have and so on. You do not have to buy anything fancy during this learning phase. You can always invest in such things at a later stage.

A myth about holding a pencil in portrait drawing

Many people believe that you can create beautiful portraits only if you hold your pencil in a specific way. But it is just a myth. The reality is that everyone has their own style. You can hold the pencil the way you want to hold it. You should feel comfortable in that position, and you should be in good control of your hand. The only suggestion I would like to give you here is that you should try to keep your hand a bit stiff when you are holding a pencil. It will give you much better control when you are working on your portrait drawing.

pen holding myth

Image by Eduardo RS from Pixabay 

Let us now look at 5 valuable tips to create Portrait Drawing:

1: Create a Basic Outline of portrait drawing

One essential thing that you have to keep in mind is that you should draw a basic outline of the face as the first step of drawing a portrait. Make sure that you are using a very light pencil on this stage. You have to make sure that you are dividing the human face in the right proportions. It would be best if you studied these proportions to make your portraits look more realistic. Often, people make this mistake that they draw the eyes towards the top part of the face, but if we study proportions, then we realize that eyes are actually we below that what we think it is. Another advantage of creating a basic outline and using a light pencil to draw is that even if you make any mistake while drawing, you can always rub it off and can correct it.

2: Add Shadows and Smudge them

Many people can learn the proportions and draw a basic outline of the face, but the portrait still doesn’t look realistic. The reason is that shadows play a vital role in portrait drawing. Once the basic outline of the face is ready, you have to start adding shadows to it. To do so, you should again start with a light pencil, and then the real secret lies behind smudging the shadows. You can use your finger to smudge the charcoal of the pencil to create a realistic effect. Make sure to do this step very finely to make your portrait look extremely realistic.

3: After Outline, start with the Hairline

Hairline is an interesting part. Once you are done with your face’s shadowing, you should then start with creating a hairline. You should work out the proper length of the hair, and based on that, you should start with the thick lines and then move on the thin lines. It would be best if you also used shadowing and smudging effects while drawing the hairline as well.

4: Add Fine Details

Once the basic outline of your portrait is done, this is the time when you should start to add details to your portrait drawing. You should start adding details to the eyes, lips, and neck. It would be best to use proper shadowing techniques because this is the step where your face would start looking realistic. Try to replicate all small lines on the face to replicate the real face. You can even start adding colors to your portrait in this step.

5: Be patient

You do not have to rush to any of these steps. Initially, it would take you a lot of time to draw these portraits, but the more you will draw, the better you will get at it. You do not have to rush in finishing the portrait by missing out on small details. Do not guess anything when you are drawing; look at the photo or prospect again and again.

By following these simple tips, you will realize that your portrait drawing has started to improve, and you are all set to take it to the next level.

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