Portrait Drawing Part 3

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In my previous 2 posts, I demonstrated how to map out the face and draw the eyes, nose, and mouth. Click here for the first post and here for the second post.  In this post, we’ll finish off our portrait.

We’ll start by adjusting the distance between her bottom lip and her chin. Measure…

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And mark…

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Now, we’ll continue to adjust the distance between various features and the side of her face.  Measure, measure, measure…

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And Adjust…

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Next, measure the distance between the brow line and Audrey’s hair.

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Begin to map out the hair line across her forehead.

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And map…

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I decided to go ahead and do a little more shading on this side of her face while I was mapping. It makes me feel better to have a little dimension. ;0)

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This would be a good time to add her left ear. The top of the ear lines up with the top of the eye brow and is roughly a cm from the side of her face.

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The bottom of the ear falls about a cm above the tip of the nose.

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Lightly sketch the outer edge of the ear.

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Now add the shadows inside the ear and the circle of her earring.

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Shade her earring. I also decided to sketch in a bit more of her hair before moving on. 🙂

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Now, a little more hair line measuring and mapping…

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And we’re ready to adjust the other side of her face and add the other ear. The top of the ear is about 3/4 of an inch from the arch of her brow. The side of her face is about a half inch from the arch of her brow.

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Map the ear…

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And fill in the shadows… I did a little more shading on the face and mapping on the hair too.

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I darkened her part.

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You’ll notice in the upcoming pics that I keep going back to darken various places in Audrey’s hair little by little.

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Now we’ll add Audrey’s neck. Measure…

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Her neck on this side is 3/8 of an inch, and it lines up with the inside of her pupil. Go ahead and add a slightly curved line for it.

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The other side of her neck is angled. It begins just under the jaw line and lines up roughly 1/4 inch from the end of her eyebrow.

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The other end of her neck is 2 1/2 inches below the end of her eyebrow.

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Connect the dots, then measure out her shoulders, noting where her shirt begins….

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Notice her right shoulder is a half inch farther out on the bottom of the ruler than on the top.

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You’ll also want to map out her arms and the little sliver of back on her left side (our right)…

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I just eyeballed the neckline.

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Once you have her neck and shoulders mapped out, you can begin adding shadows where you see them.

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If you get them too dark, you can dab them a bit with your eraser.

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Next, begin shading in her shirt.

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There are some faint highlights on her left side.

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At this point in my drawing, I realized that I had forgotten to add the dangling parts of her earrings. Oops!

The bottom of her left earring lines up with the corner of her mouth and is about 1/8 of an inch from her jaw line.


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Mark the bottom of the earring.

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Then sketch it in.

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Repeat those steps for the other earring.

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Shade both earrings.

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Now go back and add any missing shadows and darken any that are too light. You may want to use your soft pencil on the darkest darks.

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If you’re drawing on tinted paper, you may want to use a charcoal white pencil on the whites of the eyes and the brightest highlight on the mouth.

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And that’s it! I hope you found this helpful. 🙂

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Portrait Drawing Part 2

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In my first post, I showed you how to begin to map out the face and draw the eyes and eye brows. Click here to view that post. In this post, I’ll show you how to add the nose and mouth.

Roughly speaking, the end of the nose is usually halfway between the eyes and the chin, or 1 1/2 “eye lengths” down. I wanted to be a little more precise, so I measured the distance from the corner of the eye to the tip of the nose. It was about an inch.

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I added a light mark to my face map for the end of the nose. I actually did this before I finished my eyes, but it’s fine to do it after.

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Next, I measured the distance between the end of the nose and the central line of the mouth.

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This space is just shy of 1/2 inch, so I marked that on my drawing.

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Now, we can start drawing the nose. The nostrils will sit just above the nose line. Try to draw the shape of the darkest part of the nostrils first.

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Once you have the nostrils, you can erase the guide line going down the middle of the nose and begin “carving out” the nose with shading. There are actually very few hard lines on the nose. There is a line at the edge of each nostril, but most of the rest is just shading. You may want to go back and darken the nostrils with your soft pencil if you have one.

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Add in all of the shadows you see on either side and under the nose. Start light…

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Now we’re ready for the mouth. You’ll notice that the corners of the mouth line up roughly with the inside edges of Audrey’s Irises. Sorry, the pencil distorts this a bit in my photo.

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Go ahead and sketch out the basic shape of the center line of the mouth beginning with the “mouth” mark you made earlier.

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Now lightly add the shape of the lips above and below.

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Once the shape is mapped out, shade the lips in. Pay attention to where the highlights and deepest shadows go.

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That’s it for this blog post. I’ll show you how to define the rest of her face and draw her ears in my next post. 🙂


Portrait Drawing Part 1

My drawing class at co-op recently expressed an interest in learning to draw facial features, so I decided to find a fun model for them to practice on. It’s harder than you might think to find a good, straight-on portrait to draw from, but I finally came across this timeless photo of Audrey Hepburn.


The first step in drawing a portrait is to map out the basic shape of the head. You’ll want to start with an upside down egg shape. It doesn’t need to be perfect right now, just draw VERY lightly so that you can tweak the shape of your face to make it more exact as you go.  To keep things simple, I drew my portrait the same size as the original.

I used a ruler to measure the height and width of the head, but you could easily just hold your pencil up to it and use your thumb to mark where the edge is. Measuring will help you get your proportions right.

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Once you have a basic egg shape, you’ll want to measure off where the eyes and nose will fall. Draw a line across the middle of your egg for her eyes to fall on and another line up and down the center of your egg for her nose and mouth to center on. Audrey’s eyes angle up a bit in this photo, so I curved my line a bit. Think of a string laying across the egg. Draw these lines VERY lightly as well. You will erase them later. You may be thinking that this will put her eyes awfully low, but remember, a large part of her head is covered with hair.

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Audrey’s face is actually turned ever so slightly to the right (our left) in this photo, so I adjusted my lines accordingly by moving the nose line over about 1/8 of an inch to the left.

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Once you have your eye and nose lines drawn, you’ll want to measure an eye.

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Typically, a face is five “eye lengths” across: one eye length from the side of the face to the corner of the first eye, one eye length for the eye, one eye length between eyes, one eye length for the next eye, and one eye length from the corner of that eye to the side of the face. Once you have your eye length, go ahead and mark it off across the eye line. Audrey’s eye was about 3/4 of an inch for my drawing. Because Audrey’s face is turned slightly to the left in this photo, I measured the space from the corners of the eyes to the sides of the face separately, and adjusted my marks accordingly.

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Once your eye lengths are measured off, go ahead and LIGHTLY sketch in the eyes. Eyes are typically almond shaped. Once you have almond shapes, study the shape of the eyes in the photo and adjust your lines accordingly. Do this lightly.

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Next, add the iris. Try to pay attention to how much white is around the iris and where the edges of the iris fall on the upper eye line.

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Once you have your iris mapped out, add the pupil and highlights. If you are drawing on tinted paper, you can use a charcoal white pencil to add the highlights. If not, you’ll want to outline the highlights with pencil, so that you don’t accidentally fill in over them.

I’ve already added lines for my nose and mouth in this photo, but  you don’t need to. I’ll explain how to do that in my next post.

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Next, shade in the iris. Notice that parts of it are darker than others. Try to make your shading as similar to the photo as you can.

I like to do most of my drawing with a good ole No. 2 graphite, mechanical pencil. It will stay sharp and is able to do both very light and fairly dark lines. Then, I use a nice, soft (extra dark) graphite pencil to deepen the darkest darks, such as the pupil. Soft drawing pencils usually have a ‘B’ on them.

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Next, add the little tear duct in the corner of the eye.

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Now, begin to thicken up the top eyelid line to make lashes.

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Once you have the eyelashes shaped right, go ahead and add a line for the crease about 1/16 of an inch above the lash line. Pay attention to the shape of the crease in the photo and how it intersects the lashes.

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It’s amazing how much more realistic a few lines and a little shading can make your drawing, isn’t it?

Next, measure the space between the corner of the eye and the eyebrow. Notice that the beginning of the eyebrow lines up fairly well with the corner of the eye.

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The other end of the eyebrow is at about a 45 degree angle from the outer corner of the eye, and the highest part of the arch is almost directly over the outer corner…perhaps a little before it.

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Measure off where you want your brow to start.

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Lightly sketch out the basic shape of the brow, and line the end up on an angle with the corner of the eye.

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Now you’re ready to fill in the brow. Notice that it is darker in places and lighter in others. Try to match your shading to the photo. Also, remember that eyebrows are made up of little hairs, so use little strokes to mimic the hairs. Start light and work your way darker. I often come back and darken areas later, after moving on to other parts of my drawing.

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Short little strokes fill in the bottom lashes. There is a teeny, tiny space between the lashes and the bottom of the iris.

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Add a light shadow from the beginning of the brow angled down toward the nose, one just over the iris, and one from the outer corner to the end of the brow. Just draw the shadows you see in the photo. Start light.

We will add more shading to this eye later, but for now, go ahead and repeat this whole process to draw the eye on the other side.

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Et voila, eyes!

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If you’re drawing on colored paper, you may want to color the whites of her eyes lightly with a charcoal white pencil.

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That’s all I have time to post tonight.  I’ll show you how to do the nose and mouth in my next post. 🙂