Helpful tips from
the professional artist-teachers

Portrait Painting Tips
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Step-by-step demonstration of creating a female portrait using a free technique with elements of unique style.
Demonstration of creating a female portrait from reference with detailed comments and conversation with the Artist, questions from the audience and honest detailed answers.

Often, amateur artists are afraid to start creating a portrait, thinking that it is very difficult to achieve similarity with a model, and their skills are not enough. In this article, we share some helpful tips from the professional artist-teachers of ARTLIFE ACADEMY to help you deal with fear and allow you to finally start drawing.
The first tip
First of all, it is important to decide on what technique you want to create a portrait, whether you will draw from life or using your imagination (and possibly a photo of the model).
For example, the American artist Joseph Lee works in the genre of abstraction, applying bold large strokes. His portraits are emotional but lack detailed. And the Spanish pastel painter Vicente Romero Redondo, on the contrary, creates emphatically realistic portraits, similar to photographs. Therefore, the desired technique will depend on how you create the portrait.
The second tip
When creating a portrait, always go from general to specific. First, study the proportions and draw an oval of the head. It is important to pay close attention to the general structure of the head and determine its main characteristics, because in many respects the degree of similarity of the drawing with the original depends on this.
The third tip
Moving on to the facial features, you can use a tool such as a grid. A grid is applied to the image to be enlarged (drawing or photograph). The same number of squares, but enlarged, must be transferred to the surface for drawing a larger size. After that, you can easily transfer the strokes to the desired cell, observing the proportions. Once you have thoroughly studied the general structure of the head, you can move on to analyzing the features of the details of the face: nose, mouth, eyes and ears.
If you are drawing from life, follow these steps:
First step
Take a close look at the model, determine the correlation between maximum height and maximum width, placing points on the most prominent parts of the face (both horizontal and vertical). Draw an oval of the head and, according to the rule of perspective, draw a central axis (it bends in three quarters in the image) and horizontal lines dividing the face into several parts.
Second step
Place the details of the face precisely: eyes, nose, mouth and ears. Note that dividing the face into three parts is arbitrary. Try to define individual proportions and stick to them to achieve similarity. This stage is very important, it lays the foundation for the subsequent development of the drawing. Look at and try to sketch the basic anatomical details (bones, muscles, etc.).
Third step
Imagine the head as a collection of planes that form its surface. This makes it easier to distinguish which areas are the darkest and which are the lightest. Clearly outline both the lit and the shadowed ones, and you get a three-dimensional image. Try not to make too straight strokes, so that the drawing does not come out hard.
Fourth step
Now we are dealing with shadows, which we have already thought about in the previous step. Now we highlight the largest, deepest and most important ones. You will notice that the shadows on the face vary greatly in depth and form a complex pattern. To simplify the image as required by this step of work, close your eyes to a state in which you see only two tones: highlights and areas in shadow.
Fifth step
At this point and, if necessary, in the next steps, continue to work out the shapes of the face, paying attention to the halftones (which we omitted in the previous stage and included in the general shadow). Bring out the most significant details, such as eyes and lips, by darkening or lightening them. Change the intensity of the stroke by increasing or decreasing the pressure on the paper.
Sixth step
At this step, the drawing retains the lines made in the previous stages. Don't wash them, it's better to just soften and blend the tones. It is impossible (and useless) to reproduce all the shades that you see in life in a drawing. Therefore, do not overdo it when doing the final touches and drawing in minor details. A good drawing is always the result of thoughtful selection and judicious simplification.
More helpful tips and a step-by-step guide to creating a portrait await you at online classes at ARTLIFE ACADEMY now with a good discount -15%!
Online class
American artist Joseph Lee will tell and show you how to create abstract portraits using large, expressive strokes, teach you not to be afraid to use different materials (acrylic, oil) in your work and convey the emotions of the model without drawing facial features.
Online class
And Spanish pastelist Vicente Romero Redondo will teach you how to create a portrait from life step by step, achieve portrait resemblance to a model and use all the advantages of pastels to create a realistic and emotional male portrait.
Learn to create portraits using different techniques without leaving your home with International Online Academy of Art ARTLIFE!
An artist from Thailand Gank Pansuay will show how to create bright female portraits with acrylic and oil, how to reliably convey a dark skin tone, achieve a blurry effect, and use the author's technique of depicting hair as one of the main semantic elements of the picture.
Online class
Online Class