I was talking with a friend of mine about figure drawing and how difficult it can be! So I thought I would give some tips on the basics of figure drawing. Today we will start with the portrait. This can be very difficult, but as you would see most art literature(check out some books at your local library) give the same basic starting guidelines. These are my guidelines based off of my own experience!
Rule #1: DRAW! DRAW! DRAW SOME MORE! Carry a sketchbook with you. Sketch out the atmosphere at your favorite coffee shop, shopping spot, or other hang out. Just capture what you can as quickly as possible
Rule #2: Your eraser is for emergencies ONLY! This took some getting used to, but once I learned to avoid using my eraser as much as possible, so surprising things happened! Just try it and remember to start out lightly.
Rule #3: Change your mind! You’re not drawing a face. Draw what you see, shapes, lines, and then tints and shades! A good way to get your mind where it needs to be is to draw something upside down. This makes the object more subjective, verses objective and you can focus on which way the line travels rather than what the object is.
To begin, you’ll want to use a 6H drawing pencil–this is a hard pencil, so it draws lightly, I would start with any harder than 4H. Draw the shape of the head, adult heads are generally oval-shaped. Then you will draw your placement lines (see picture). The eyes are in the center, if you don’t believe me check out a picture of a baby, or a bald person! The nose is generally halfway between the eyes and child and the mouth slightly lower than that.
Placement is everything! There are a lot of detailed measurements you could get into in drawing the face, but these are the basics. Also, the top of the ears are usually at the eye line and go down to the nose line. The hair line will start anywhere from just above the eyebrows to a a quarter of the forehead–just remember the hair is not setting on top of the head!
Once you’ve got the placement down and a light sketch of all the facial features you can start getting in the details and darkening up those lines. Gradually work your way from your 4H pencil to softer leads like 9B–very dark! Lastly, remember your not drawing a face, just lines, shapes, and shading!
Ok, so these are just a very few tips to get you started. Click here see a few of my drawn portraits.
Happy Art making! And remember, mistakes are always learning experiences and often happy accidents!
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