Sketching Portraits

Yeah, It is Just Like Her! 

"And It Was So Easy To Do!"

With a little dedication mixed with passion--you will be able to draw realistic portraits with ease--and your friends will love it.

Family Portrait of Young ManFamily Portrait of Young Man

Sketching portraits is more than just having big fun; this is a talent and skill that will make you everybody's best friend.

Portrait sketching or sketching people may seem like a lot of technical work, however, with practice and perseverance, you are going to be the best portrait sketcher on your block.

You don't need to have a live model, just use a photograph of a face you know pretty well. This might be a friend, family member, your favorite rock star or actor.

To make your first attempt as prosperous as possible, draw a face that you have passion for to push you through the humps. Use your best artistic eye to pick the dominate details of mass, lightness and darkness and you are on your way to a fantastic first attempt.

Getting Started With Sketching Portraits
Stand before your blank canvas an envision your finished product in your mind. This will give you a reference point where to block the paper for the head, ample room for the hair, a little bit of neck and shoulders, and a empty space of a margin away from the edges. Just like viewing an 8 x 10 head shot photograph, your sketch should fill the page and command the proper space. Assume that your subject is sitting before you at eye level to avoid complicated shadowing and artist frustrations, then select the shape of the face from a round, oval or heart-shaped outline.

Drawing Eyes
The eyes are the window to the soul and are the first thing to capture the attention of the viewer. The human eye is situated in the middle of the face, although it might look a bit strange when you first begin. To add depth and realism to your eyes, give the lower rim an inside lip with a light stroke and add contour with pencil strokes to create the iris. Eyebrows and eyelashes are done with careful light strokes building hairs, shape and shading one line at a time.

Profile of man in pencil showing right handProfile of man in pencil showing right hand

Drawing Noses
Drawing noses can be tricky, and if you look at people closely, you will find there are no two noses alike.

Some noses are turned upwards, other are hooked downwards, so analyze your subject and slowly fill in the lines.

'You will need a sharp eye to get the facial balance correct, keeping the length of the nose from the under eye area to the mouth as accurate as possible.

Width and tip of the nose is going to make or break your portrait sketch, so take your time and get it right.

To get your measurements correct, block off a proposed location for your mouth and create your nose first. The rest of the face will revolve around the well-crafted nose and fall into proper position.

Drawing Hair
A person with almost any color of hair is going to have highlights and dark strokes of deeper pigment. To create this effect, draw your hair component one stroke at a time and envision an angle where the light is going to hit your drawing. The angle of light will hit horizontally in several spots depending on the length of the subject's hair. Your highlighted areas may be lightly smeared with pencil or charcoal or left blank to create the illusion of healthy, shiny hair aglow.

More on sketching portraits lessons later—and drawing people.

Artists Impression of Jesus PortraitArtists Impression of Jesus Portrait
Classic Indian Turban rendered in Pen and InkClassic Indian Turban rendered in Pen and Ink
Portrait of Mary Baker-EddyPortrait of Mary Baker-Eddy
Rough pencil Sketch of Young ManRough pencil Sketch of Young Man

More Sketches of People Here 

Sketching People The Easy Way 

If you are thinking of sketching from a photograph consider 
portrait photography ideas here.


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Your website is beautiful and exudes with goodness—-here is all the info, free of charge, just go and play with it, free your creativity. It would be the perfect site for our 10 year old, who is a keen (and very good) drawer in the sense that she truly enjoys it and will do it in her free time just for fun.

Vardit Kohn
The Hague