Tuesday, January 8

Portrait Step-by-Step

An old school buddy who's been following my 365 Drawings on FaceBook wanted to know if he could see some "during" photos of my process of creating a portrait.

Here's my Day 8 drawing (of my 13-year old daughter Kate at her dance concert last year) and how I did it.....

Choose my photo - I prefer a close-up to get all that lovely detail...

Crop the image and convert to black and white on my computer. Print it out A4 size, the same size as my sketch book. For my 365 Drawings challenge it makes things much easier - no tricky sizing problems...

Sketch in the "foundations" of the face - line of jaw, position and shape of features....

I do the eyes first. I leave blank shapes for the catch-lights (the shine in the eyes that all good photos have). I then render in all the minute detail of the iris, lashes, eyebrows etc. 
I spend quite a bit of time getting these right. The eye is surprising sometimes - and you have to draw what is actually there - not what you think should be there. 
A really sharp pencil is a must for each individual lash and eyebrow hair....

I start lightly adding shadows where they need to be - sides of face, nose, under eyes.
Squinting at the photo helps to gauge the intensity of each shadow....

More detail - clothing, teeth.
Teeth are difficult to get right - it helps me to turn the whole thing upside down. This engages my "right" brain so I'm merely drawing shapes and shadows and not "teeth". It works every time - I swear!

I swap to a really dark 8B pencil to blacken in the background.
Detail on the headscarf, hair.
More definition to the shading on the face.

The final step - which I love cos it really brings the face to life.
I take my putty rubber - for the non-artists reading this, a putty rubber is a special eraser like a ball of Blutac you can shape it any which way to get right into the tiniest places on your drawing.
I swipe over the areas of the face that are highlights (usually front of nose, centre of bottom lip, top of cheek bones), use it to dab away any smudge marks, and to really whiten up the teeth, catchlights and whites of the eyes.....

....can you see the difference?

I am no expert by any stretch! Just someone keen to learn more about drawing and become a better artist. I'm sure there's better ways of doing things - but that's how I do it!

Oh - I almost forgot. I got so caught up in my 2012 Faves post I didn't show you #7.

It's Jennifer Lawrence, the gorgeous actress from The Hunger Games.

Thanks for stopping by.

1 comment:

  1. Brilliant step by step, Pen. You make it sound easy, but getting it all correct is still an incredible talent! Love the drawing of Katybell! xx


Thanks for leaving some love! Penny x


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