Friday, November 18, 2011

7 Tips for a Pencil Portrait

Many people ask me what are some good general advices for starting drawing a portrait in pencil. That is why I thought I should post some quick guideliness for drawing a pencil portrait, with some tips for drawing the features of a human face.

1. The right proportions

We all know that each individual has a unique face that we can easily recognize. But what makes that face unique? Everybody has two eyes, a nose, a mouth and two ears. The answer is: the shape and position of one’s features. This is what makes a face unique.
As a standard rule, you can start your portrait by drawing a circle. Under the circle, at a distance of half the circle’s diameter, will be the chin. Unite the circle and the chin. Half way between the center of the circle and the bottom of the circle will be the eye line. The nostrils line is found at the bottom of the circle. Roughly midway from the nose line and the chin we have the bottom lip. The mouth’s corners are on the same vertical line as the pupils. The top of the ears is aligned with the top of the eyes, while the bottom of the ears is aligned with the bottom of the nose.

2. The eyes

The distance between the eyes is one eye width while the face is five eye widths. While the eyeballs are round, the shape of the eye as we see it is not round. The eyes are covered by the eyelids that are cylindrical in shape. The pupils are usually not fully seen, unless the subject expression is that of shock or amazement, and are covered partially by the eyelids.

3. The nose

Although you will find the nose varies a lot, it can be broken down into a number of standard elements. You can start drawing the tip of the nose and nostrils as circles. When looked from the front, the bridge of the nose is shaped by shadows and highlights.

4. The mouth

Unless you are trying to draw a female mouth contoured with dark crayon, don’t draw the mouth with hard edges. The shape of the mouth is given by shadows and highlights. The lower lip will cast a large shadow under it, while the upper side of the upper lip is highlighted, as the light hits this area.

5. The ears

Don’t overlook the ears. Is easy to draw them sketchy just to get rid of them. Pay close attention to the ear’s shape and its features. Draw the lobe and the exterior membrane first to get the shape. Then move on to the fold and the hearing canal.

6. The hair

When drawing the hair don’t just jump to drawing hundreds of lines. Although the hair is made up of individual hair strings, we can not see all the individual strings at once. We rather see different bunches of hair strings. First get the shape, then move on to highlighting the parts that are lighter and darkening the parts that are in shade. You can draw some individual strings as a final touch for a better result. The eyebrows have thicker hair strings and fewer, making them more visible, so don’t be afraid to make more hair strings visible when drawing the eyebrows. The eyelashes are also visible but you must be careful not to add too many. Remember that the eyelashes are thicker at the base and thinner towards the tip. 

7. Shading 

An important part of a portrait drawing is shading. You can use it to express shape. Notice where the light comes from and highlight the areas that are being hit directly and shade those that are in the shadow. This will give more depth to your drawing and make it appear three dimensional.