Tips to Drawing Realistic Portraits

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Portrait drawing is one aspect of art that has universal appeal. Ask anyone you know and they will tell you that they would love to have their portrait done, even if they cannot afford it. This fact offers those who are interested in drawing portraits quite an opportunity to learn the craft. Drawing likenesses is not easy but with practice you can master it and there is hardly any shortage of persons willing to let you use them for practice.

Doing portraits and likenesses is a discipline in itself. Most artists find it easier to create imaginary concepts than to portray an exact replication of something. Doing a portrait will require scientific methods such as measurements and proportions. One of the first tips for beginners would be to get as many sketchpads and pencils as possible. Every opportunity you get sketch people in their natural settings.

Sketch people while on the bus, at a cafe, in the stadium stands, in the subway or any place where people gather. What this does is it will give you enough practice to draw faces and the variety of features that people have. It will give you an eye for catching likenesses and you will find doing portraits come naturally.

Using a live model has its benefits in that you can earn from doing live portraits at art fairs and other public events. A more convenient method especially for beginners is to use photos. When drawing a portrait you will want to focus firstly on the face. Here are some tips to achieve accuracy in your drawing.

1. Start with the eyes. As we go on you will see why they act as an anchor point to work out the dimensions of the other facial features.

2. Next is the nose. The width of the nose is the same distance between the eyes.

3. Move on to the mouth: The edges of the mouth lines up with the eye pupils.

4. Outline the face using light strokes. From the hairline to eyebrows, is the same distance from the eyebrows to the bottom of the nose. This is also the same length from the tip of the nose to the chin.

5. To determine the length of the ears just remember the ears begin at the eyebrows and end at the mouth.

Try to use soft lead pencils and a kneaded eraser. Hard lead pencils tend to leave indentations on the paper and if you make a mistake it will show even after you have erased it. Keep in mind that you will not get it the first time. Drawing portraits is about eye and hand coordination. Be patient and you will notice that it becomes easier.

The rule of thumb is to keep practicing. Ask others to comment on your work and do not be afraid of criticism. In the long run it will help you to be a better artist as it will allow you the chance to identify and remedy any weak area. So go ahead and get started. Remember, patience is key, so make sure to have lots of paper and pencil to work with.


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