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This portrait drawing demonstration is based on a photo by Teslariu Mihai from Unsplash, an on the internet source for copyright-free photographs. Down load the reference photograph.

Reference Photo

This portrait drawing demonstration is centered on a photograph by Teslariu Mihai from Unsplash, an on the internet resource for copyright-absolutely free pictures.

Down load


  • 9 x11-inch sheet of Rives BFK cotton rag paper
  • Difficult (2B) and tender (6B) charcoal pencils
  • Vine charcoal
  • White charcoal stick or pastel pencil
  • Blending stump
  • Paper towel or gentle rag
  • Kneaded eraser
  • Rubber eraser

Move-by-Move Demo

1- Gesture

Portrait Drawing Demonstration: Step 1

Working with vine charcoal, I to start with place down a gesture for the portrait. To do this, I concentrated primarily on large styles of gentle and darkish. Squinting your eyes to blur your vision at this phase can assist you remove the particulars and see the substantial worth shapes. Anticipate these first marks to be inaccurate and simply do the job to make rough traces and shapes on your paper.

2- Measure

Portrait Drawing Demonstration: Step 2 (Measure)

I gently wiped down the first gesture to soften the charcoal. I then recognized the huge angles in the portrait utilizing angle-sighting, approximating the placement of functions by comparative measuring. To identify the central axis for the eyes, for instance, divide the head in 50 %.

Using limited, straight, angular marks, I continued to define the features. The vine charcoal is comfortable and uncomplicated to adjust, so take your time in this phase. Use plumb traces (undeviating vertical strains) and horizontal guides to make positive the significant components are appropriately aligned with just one an additional.

Tip: Concentrate on the detrimental space involving functions to support discover the dimensions and placements.

3- Refine Designs

Portrait Drawing Demonstration: Step 3 (Refine)

I made use of the more challenging 2B charcoal pencil to refine the greater styles, having to pay near focus to the edges and pinpointing wherever there really should be sharp edges as effectively as easy gradations. Discover, for illustration, the sharper edge of the hair and ear shape in contrast to the smooth edge in between the light-weight aspect and shadow shape together the cheek.

Use your charcoal pencil to easily blend value transitions in the track record as nicely, creating lots of mild levels. I wiped the charcoal softly with a paper towel periodically to effortlessly mix. I utilized a blending stump to further define the designs of the features, holding them light-weight nonetheless visible.

Study A lot more: Very best Mixing Equipment for Drawing

4- End the Facial Functions

Portrait Drawing Demonstration: Step 4 (Facial Features)

Commencing with the 2B charcoal pencil, I refined the facial capabilities, using a blending stump to clean transitions. A sharpened rubber eraser is helpful for lifting sharp highlights and edges in the eyes and nose. Observe the smooth edges close to the lips.

I utilised the softer, 6B charcoal pencil to generate much more depth in the dark spots, and alternated between the two pencils as necessary to refine and soften the gradation between the mild and shadow sides. Take note that the highlights are brighter on the brow and nose, and marginally darker on the mouth and chin.

Suggestion: Find the line of termination to assistance build an precise changeover in between the mild side of the confront and shadow aspect.

5- Ultimate Particulars

Portrait Drawing Demonstration: Step 5 (Final)

Finish the drawing with as significantly or as small depth in the remaining portions as you like. On the appropriate facet, I darkened and refined the hair, shadow, and ear using the 2B charcoal pencil. Then I utilised the 6B charcoal pencil to increase larger depth to these places. I finished drawing the hand and sweater, utilizing mainly the 2B charcoal pencil.

Make absolutely sure your darkest darks remain in the capabilities and head. Gentle, fine lines can be used to sharpen and define parts of the head, which will deliver all those areas a lot more into emphasis.

Suggestion: Use the side of the pencil fairly than the tip to create the wonderful strains in the hair. Use a sharpened rubber eraser to raise fine light aspects in the hair and sweater.

Satisfy the Artist

Scott Maier Headshot

Scott Maier

Scott Maier is an artist, video producer, content material creator, and writer. As host and creator of the well-known Artists Network demonstrate Drawing Alongside one another, he introduced 1000’s of artists jointly each 7 days to apply drawing. Maier is also the author of See, Think, Attract (July 2022), an instructional drawing e-book with 30+ exercises and classes.

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