Basic Techniques To Follow When Learning How to Draw Portraits With A Pencil


When you were a child did you ever spend a lot of time drawing or trying to learn how to draw portraits? Whether well-made or not, the face you were drawing was considered by your parents a true masterpiece. Now that you’re older are you still trying to learn how to draw portraits or have you mastered a technique?

If you haven’t mastered a technique and are still struggling or if you just want to learn some basic techniques then don’t worry! Learning how to draw portraits is not complicated. It just takes some basic techniques, a little practice and before you know it you will be on your way to becoming an expert at drawing portraits.

Here are some basic tips on how to draw portraits:

Before you get started on your portrait first imagine how the finished drawing will look then try to transfer that image unto your paper. This technique will help you to keep your drawing on the paper so you won’t make the mistake of drawing a portrait that will end up being too big for the size of paper that you are using.

The key to a well-made portrait lies in the proportions.

how to draw portraitsGenerally, a human head, seen by front, can be drawn by dividing an oval into six equal squares so that the width would represent two thirds of the height.

Once you have the accurate dimensions of the oval, divide it again horizontally into four equal quarters.

The upper quarter represents the portion between the top of the head and the hairline. Now, you can draw the hair with quick moves.

Contrary to the beliefs of someone that has no information about the true proportions in a human head, they eyes are located in the middle of the face. So, draw the eyes on the middle line and remember that the face is about five eyes wide, which means that the distance between the eyes is approximately one eye.

The top of the ears is at approximately the same level with the eyes while the ear lobes are located roughly on the same line with the bottom of the nose. The breadth of the nose equals the distance between the eyes.

The mouth is located in the upper half of the last quarter. The width of the mouth is established by drawing a triangle down from the center of the head through the sides of the nose.

The hair and shading is typically the last part of the portrait and is what brings everything together.

Another good technique is to first draw the main outline of whatever part you are focusing on with a soft lead pencil. This way if you make a mistake it will be easy to erase without damaging the drawing or the paper. Next, once you have completed the basic drawing, go back and fill in the details.

The eyes are considered the focal point of the portrait. All eyes are different in shape and size, and a realistic and in depth drawing of the eye depends on adding the right shadows.

Lightly draw the outline. Be careful about the difference in shape of the lower and upper eyelids.

Remember to leave a small part close to the pupil uncolored, representing the reflection of the light.

Color the pupil and then move on to the iris, drawing quick and random lines in various tones and shadows.

Add shadows under the eyebrow and above the eyelash and remember to draw blood vessels to create a realistic look.

Follow the angle of the eyelashes and curve them. The lower eyelashes will be drawn lighter than the upper ones.

Pay attention to the direction and form of the eyebrows.

These are just some of the basic techniques teaching you how to draw portraits – but a portrait means more than accurate proportions. You need to make sure and try to capture all of the small details that will help make it look realistic.

Follow these basic guidelines on how to draw portraits, practice as much as you can, with various subjects, and you will soon reach perfection. Also, remember to have fun!