This tutorial will teach you how to draw a portrait. This tutorial will teach you how to draw portraits in an academic style.

Why did we choose to teach you how to draw a portrait this way?

There are many ways to make a portrait. You can begin with a single detail, such as an eyebrow, and then add more details to the face. You can also draw the face using an oval and add details and guidelines as you go.

Each of these techniques is good and you will be able to draw portraits with ease if you use them. This lesson will teach you how to draw a portrait in the most accurate and thoughtful way.

Remember that when you draw a human face, you are representing a volumetric subject. Keep in mind that the head is a volumetric subject and has weight. It cannot be placed on a plane.

Let’s now get to the tutorial about how to draw portraits.


Step 1

Begin by drawing the outline of the head using very simple and light shapes. Keep in mind the composition rules, place the head on the paper with enough space between the outline of the head (and the edges) of the sheet. As accurately as possible, convey the proportions to the head on paper.


Step 2

Draw a vertical line to guide us in illustrating all features of our face. This will help us make them more proportional and symmetrical. The horizontal line connecting the eyes will be helpful in locating the eyes on the face. Draw the lines of the nose, mouth, and ears.

Step 3

With very simple and light shapes, sketch the eyes, eyebrows, and lips. You should keep the details very general. Don’t be too focused on one side when adding detail. You should work on all aspects of the drawing simultaneously. By drawing one line on the left eye and then sketching the same line on your right eye, you can illustrate the principle. To avoid any mistakes in proportion and symmetry, compare all parts of your face.

Step 4

Keep adding details to the face and making it more detailed. Make sure to draw the lower eyelids, visible nostrils, as well as lips. Draw the contours of the cheekbones and chin. Make sure to show details on both the cheeks and the chin at the same moment. You should also remember to look at the portrait in its entirety from a distance.

Step 5

Draw the eyes and eyebrows with sharper lines. They have volume, so don’t forget about that. The eyeball is a ball and the eyelids are thick. This should be clearly shown in the drawing. Don’t forget to include the folds around your eyes. These are the contours of the eye sockets. This topic was covered in How to Draw Eyes in a Three-quarter View.

Step 6

You should draw the pupils. Don’t forget to include small highlights. Next, draw the nose. Remember to follow the aerial perspective rules when creating portraits. The nose should be the darkest or most contrasted part of your face since it is closest to you. We discussed all of this in detail in the lesson How to Draw a Nose from the Three-quarter View.

Step 7

Draw the lips and chin carefully. Follow the guidelines of the aerial perspective and make the edges of the lips darker if they are closer than the rest. This was discussed in the lesson How to draw lips using the three-quarter view. You can use a mirror to check the proportionality and find potential mistakes in proportion.

Step 8

Draw the outline of your curls. Don’t draw each hair individually, but try to sketch the general outline of the curls on your head. Next, draw the details of each ear. The ear should be drawn from an aerial perspective. It should be lighter than the rest of your face and less detailed because it is further away. All this and more can be found in our How to Draw an Ear tutorial.

Step 9

Now, it is time to give your portrait a more complete look. Take a pencil and erase all lines of construction. You can give your artwork more volume by making the lines closer to you darker and the contrast greater than the ones farther away. Comparing your artwork to ours will help you find any errors and corrections.

Step 10

Shadows can make your portrait appear more vibrant and alive. You should start with the darkest parts and work your way up to the lighter areas. Consider the curves and shapes of the faces when depicting shadows. The hatching lines must follow the curves and contours of the faces they are placed on. Learn more about shadows and their structure and how to create them in our article on shadows.

Our team attempted to gather for you all the essential knowledge that you need to draw a portrait.

However, it is important to retain the knowledge that you have acquired in order to create professional portraits.

First, draw another head with the knowledge you have learned in this lesson. You can draw your own face as well as those of your friends or acquaintances.

You can challenge your skills and knowledge by illustrating portraits from different angles than the one shown in this example. Try to add more detail and shadows to your artwork.

You can also draw portraits that show emotion, such as anger, joy, or sadness.

This is essential to ensure that you can remember the sequence of actions and that you are able to convey volume when portraying the head of a person.


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