What is going on in your brain while drawing a portrait? Are you stressing over your pencil paper combination? Are you concerned about not being able to draw the models likeness?
Wow that sounds really familiar to me. I’ve stressed over both of those concerns many many times. Especially when I first started drawing. What works much better is thinking about several core portrait drawing techniques.
Don’t think about what is not working in your portrait drawing, instead focus on what will help you. Take a moment to watch this short video critique below.
The question you should be asking yourself, where is the light coming from. Get a clear picture of the light shapes and shadow shapes. Of course when you start physically drawing you want to draw with angles and measurements. Specifically with portraits you want to focus on the negative space around the head.
Form is another element you should be thinking about. How are you going to draw a three dimensional portrait? Do you know the major landmarks of the skull?
How about your value set up? Having a clear goal for your value set up in huge when drawing a portrait.
Below is a list of several core drawing techniques you want to focus on. Write them down and keep them close by the next time you start a new portrait drawing.
- Start with angles and measurements.
- Be aware of the negative Space.
- Be clear on the light direction.
- Draw the shape of the hair versus the shape of the face.
- Promote form, be clear with showing surface planes.
- Shade the shadow shapes in a top to bottom solid way. Use a simple three value set up.
- Stay loose working the whole drawing, don’t get stuck in one area.
Of course when it comes to teaching portrait drawing words can be clumsy. However rotating this short list of drawing techniques will help you tremendously.
If you would like to learn more about portrait drawing consider subscribing to Drawing Tutorials Online. We love drawing portraits, it is certainly our biggest department.
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The question gets posed to me all the time, how do I handle drawing one minute gesture poses?
Well, there really is no one right way to draw the model within a one minute time frame. You really do not want to put all of this pressure on yourself to draw the perfect drawing within sixty seconds.
Every artist has a complete different approach. An animator might want to get the emotion of the pose, not concentrating on the likeness. For someone like myself, I use the one minute pose to warm up. The pose as well as my state dictates how I will draw and with what technique.
If I’m feeling a little rusty I might use a certain technique that I find easy that morning. If I’m feeling good then I won’t use any technique. I’ll just draw what I see. Using more of a natural organic line for a likeness.
Here are a few techniques you can employ in a classroom setting.
Focus one the contour. Totally slow down. Focus on drawing just one edge of the models body. Look way more at the model than you do at your paper. Keep your pencil on the paper for as long as you can. You can also try at least one or two drawings using the blind contour technique. It will force you to look at the model more. Remember there is no rush, slow down.
Draw the skeleton. Drawing the rough skeleton during a few one minute gesture poses is a great way to warm up. It’s about finding the tilts of the shoulders and hips. It’s also about drawing the many ovals within the rough skeleton.
Yes, my favorite, the torso peanut shape. Try starting with the torso peanut shape. Then progress to using the opposite c’s for short gesture. If you have time you can also draw in some mummification lines to promote volume.
Lastly just draw what you see with no technique. Use a slow continuous line to draw in your own personal style.
There are ultimately a gazillion ways to draw the model within a one minute time frame. Try these four simple techniques first to keep things simple and easy for yourself.
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