Have You Ever Tried to Draw a Portrait?

by Jollyon Hooley
(San Sebastian CA)

Betty Edwards

Betty Edwards

It does take quite a lot of skill to get a likeness when drawing a portrait.

You have to carefully assess proportions and start thinking in forms (like largest shapes) and how they interlock with adjacent forms.

If you are keen--and that would include a little drawing practice, here is a useful tip to get a likeness. Start off by getting a photograph with a full range of tones (values, meaning plenty of light, dark and medium greys) so you can see the "form" of the head clearly).

Now, you will use the technique that Betty Edwards wrote a book about. Her technique is as follows; turn the photo upside down and start drawing, just start anywhere. What this does is to get you to see and draw the mass part of the head, you do not see detail such as eyebrows, how big or small the nose is etc.

Forget all you've been taught about drawing and start copying the photo upside down. You will be quite surprised how accurate you get using this method.

If you can draw a good likeness even in a sort of cartoon style, you can earn quite a few bucks on Fiverr and other sites like Gigbucks.com. You can even set up your small table in the local town center and draw in lots of people who are always fascinating to watch artists at work!

Go on, try Betty Edwards technique and load your portraits up here. Or get her book "Drawing on The Right Side of The Brain"

Jollyon Hooley
Contributing Editor
March 3 2016

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