How To Draw A Three Dimensional Portrait

How To Draw A Three Dimensional Portrait

If you are looking to improve your portrait drawings watch the video critique below. In this video critique we help out Ilse with drawing a better likeness of the model within the photo.

We also show her how to create more three dimension through the use of shadow shapes. I’m a big believer of shading in shadow shapes in a solid way. If you leave white paper showing through your shadows, not only will you loose the likeness, you will also loose that three dimension look and feel.

Lastly in the video we show Ilse how to handle drawing the hair. Once again it’s all about light and shade. However with hair it’s also very much about drawing cylindrical shapes. Making sure that when you draw strands of hair they are in the form of a cylinder. Especially with the hair within the photo reference Ilse is drawing from.

I hope that you learned something from this video critique. If you are looking for some feedback and guidance regarding your portrait drawings visit to read up on what our site has to offer you.

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How To Draw A Portrait With Minimal Shadow Shapes

How To Draw A Portrait With Minimal Shadow Shapes

Have you ever tried to draw a portrait where the person in the photo reference had no contrasting shadow shapes? In other words the lighting within the photo was very flat.

When there aren’t many shadow shapes to draw it’s much more difficult to capture a likeness. In this video critique I help out Marjan, a member of Drawing Tutorials Online, with trying to capture a likeness. As you can see in the video below the young girl does not have many shadow shapes to cling onto.

In my latest Begin Here Step By Step course I teach a lesson called “Seeing Shadow Shapes”. Just about every member loved this lesson because shading in shadow shapes makes the process of portrait drawing much easier.

So keep in mind that it’s best to light your subject using form light in order for there to be some recognizable shadow shapes.

Now if you already have photo reference displaying flat light then you want to focus your efforts on drawing the shape of the hair first. Why you may ask, because the shape of the hair acts as a frame for the face. You want to take your time with measuring and drawing the angles of the face where the edge of the face touches the hair.

You also want to look for non contrasting shadow shapes. Practice shading in light non contrasting shadow shapes. Shadows shapes don’t always have to be super dark. You just have to practice being able to recognize subtle values shifts on the face of the person you are drawing.

I hope this video critique helps you with your portrait drawings.


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Rotating Portrait Drawing Techniques

Rotating Portrait Drawing Techniques

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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