How to draw portrait


Over the past few years, I have often been asked the same questions; How to draw a portrait with a good likeness, how to draw face proportions more correctly and how to learn to draw a good portrait outline.  And, how to make money as an artist? These are, perhaps, the most interesting questions, and on this page you will find many answers. This cannot adequately be described in two or three lines. So, if you are interested, you may continue to read this entire article.


Proportions of the face drawingIIt is not possible to learn to draw the proportions of the face in two weeks. Acquiring the necessary skills in obtaining the correct proportions in a portrait drawing needs a lot of practice. Knowing how to create accurate proportions is required to properly draw lifelike images of the human face. However, this is something that is not taught directly in art schools and unfortunately, if the student draws a portrait with a poor likeness, he/she gets low marks. ):


The whole principle of training revolves around applying a faithful shadow volume of models, light, and colors to build a composition, using the proper sequence of paints, and so on. The learning process for drawing the proportions of the human head is quite long and complicated. Typical training periods simply are not long enough to teach a complete understanding of the process.
Emma Watson drawing videoo understand portrait drawing nuances and secrets, as a rule, you need draw (from life) two to three portraits every day at a minimum. If you do it yourself (at home, for example), over a long period of time, an amateur painter who wishes to draw someone from life may simply forget his passion for drawing. Let's say there are a few people, such as your family and friends, who would be willing to pose a few times. When you are finished, they will likely have grown tired and not want to pose any more.   In such cases, the passion and desire for attaining the knowledge of drawing the correct proportions may gradually fade away. For any beginning artist that really wants to become a master, it requires a long-standing practice of drawing from life, drawing thousands (or event tens of thousands) of portraits.

What there is a way out?
The easiest solution might be drawing portraits in the street. The other might be to become a street artist. This is such a challenge in developing skills with portraits from life. To many, it may seem not an easy decision to go out and show your amateur work everyone in the hope of making money.

How good are your nerves? Are you ready to listen to negative comments, including those heart-rending cries of drunken and unbalanced people from your neighborhood?  You are a beginner portrait artist who doesn’t understand everything at this early point of development.


Portrait artists must have a strong mind and be able to ignore idiots on the streets. So, be brave. There can be a double benefit when you learn how to draw portraits and can earn money in the process. Drawing Portraits on the streets might even be called an extreme type of work, where the artist has to draw in different weather conditions, be it windy weather, rain, cold or wet.

For example, street practice in Russia during the winter artists might have to draw a live portrait in 30 degree weather. The most important thing is to find people who are willing to pose. At such times, only the most daring artists will, no matter what, stay true to their chosen path and persevere to develop themselves day after day. And believe me if you are born with a talent for drawing, you can do it, just be patient.


So, how do you know the right proportions of the face drawing? How do you learn to draw a good portrait outline and capture a  good likeness? The faces of the people are different, there isn’t one size fits all template for everyone and that's the challenge, the face of each person is unique.


There are so many methods for constructing the proportions of the face. Some artists have favorite methods of drawing face proportions, others use methods to determine proportions of the human head. One method may be convenient one artist but uncomfortable another. Use the method that works best for you; where you feel your strength, know where to start and finish your portrait outline, even if you were taught an entirely different method at art school.


The most important thing in a portrait drawing is accurate proportions. If you draw a proportion with pencil or charcoal, you need to consider concealed portrait features, such as subtle shadow and light shades. If you make a mistake in the basic construction you may have a little chance to fix it later, but this is not always the case. After shaping the face, you can change its appearance by applying shadow and highlights. You can identify defects proportions, which you’ll be able to avoid with your next portrait.


Beginner artists sometimes aren’t able to identify their mistakes, which dooms them to repeat them going forward. Such artists will face the same errors in each portrait. This is why competent construction proportions must be considered.  Each portrait artist must always remember this, and you could remain at the same skill level for life.


The faces of different people are distinct.  Some people have a lean face. Some have normal eye proportions and some have fat face so proportions. Face drawing must consider the characteristics of each person. The oval of face is simple because the correct proportions of the oval varies. Chins and foreheads are very distinct in each person in terms of height and width.


The faces of different people are different, Some people have a lean face, the other is proportions of human eye normal, and some have a fat face so proportions of the face drawing should be considered depending on the type of person. The oval of face is also not quite simple, the correct proportions of the oval much depends. Very varied and misleading outlines of chins, all human have too different forehead, both in height and width.


A large role in the portrait are the proportions of the human eye. Eyes reflect the soul of each person. The eye can be large or small and narrow. The eyes of ladies' and men may differ materially. Noses may also be long and short, big, beautiful or not so beautiful. Lips can be plump, average or narrow. Some may appear sad or somewhat funny.

When you’re drawing and finding the right proportion of teeth in a portrait you need to consider hundreds of nuances. It is difficult to understand in a short time. In each portrait you draw, you will discover something new and unknown. Improperly constructed areas of a face can make it look repulsive. For example, note the width of the eyes, the space between the eyes, nose width and height, the height from the chin to the tip of the nose and from tip of the nose to the eyebrows.



Get a feeling for the ratio of  a person’s two pupils of the eyes and tip of the nose. You'll see a triangle. When you draw the parts, make sure that the triangle coincides with your subject.  You will find such triangles and trapezoids you in the human face. The most important thing to do is observe all this "geometry" as much as possible.


Train your vision to develop better an eye estimation even when you do not draw from life. Let it be your kind of exercise. Learn to compare the height and width of the different details of standard features. When you are among people on the subway, observe their faces. You should look to the width of the nose relative to the eye, the gap between the eyes - find your triangles, trapezoids, etc.


Play around with different portrait photos. Divide the width of the face to the width of the nose, and look at the space between the eyes. Using a ruler, measure the distance of details of the face in different photos, you may find some repeatable patterns. For example, the distance from the bottom of the chin to the nose is approximately equal to the distance from the bottom of the nose to the eyebrows. But be aware, some patterns may not always hold up.


One pattern is the width of the eye relative to the gap between the eyes. But all of these stereotypical facial feature proportions come to naught when you draw your portrait of a person posing with a three-quarter, with slightly lowered or raised face. So don’t always rely on the standard proportions. You must learn to develop eye estimation and learn to compare the width and height in relation to other parts face. All rounded details of the face can be deceptive, where it’s easy to make a mistake with the distance of height and width. Years of practice may not be enough.


The process of developing your skills will require 3-5 years of continued effort until you may have your first successes.  With a steady hand, knowing a lot about your subject you’ll be able to easily produce a dozen drawings within a day. You will also learn to communicate well with the person who is wanting a portrait, as well as dealing with overseas people who have little knowledge of English. Your work will be developed more rapidly as a result.


Even after five years of working as a portrait painter on the streets, you may not be satisfied with your achievements and want to achieve more. You may even sense that deep down you still have some ways to go to before you consider yourself as a master portrait painter. Next to you is a senior person who has been doing this for years and has managed to reach such levels, in your opinion. You try to mimic his strokes, the way he catches the light and do everything to replicate him, but you cannot achieve the same level of result.


The point is, the experienced artist has many years of experience and has gone through many mistakes to achieve his/her level of skill.  It is going to take you a lot of patience and perseverance to achieve such skill levels. But hey, after five years, your work will indeed be pretty good and you will have mastered the proportions of the human face in all your drawings and paintings.


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