They say that portraits are one of the hardest things to draw. They also say that when you first start drawing portraits, do NOT draw anybody that you know. Pick random people, people you’ve never seen. I’ve been practicing individual facial features–eyes, noses, lips, teeth, ears–different angles, genders, etc. So…I decided to put them all together & try my hand at my very first portrait. It was SO difficult. There’s proportions, shading, making sure it looks realistic, shadowing, highlights, etc.. all these things have to be precise in order for your portrait to be believable, to make sure the person you are drawing looks human and not alien.
So I bring to you my very first portrait: A fictional 7 year old boy. I used a reference picture of Benjamin (my 3 yr old) to use for angles, shading & proportions, but I changed his nose, chin & face shape to make a distinction between him & my son, Ben.
Materials: 4H, 2H, HB, 2B, 4B, 6B, kneaded eraser.
I won’t go into full detail of how I drew & shaded everything, because this took me about 7-8 hours spaced out over 3 days. First thing you’ll probably notice is that the hair looks unfinished. That’s because it sort of is. I haven’t learned the technique on how to draw realistic hair (and haven’t practiced at all) so I just kinda did some shading to make due. Though I don’t think it’s the fantastic drawing, I think it’s okay for my first portrait. It was a valuable learning experience–and like I mentioned earlier a lot harder than I had originally thought. I think drawing a real person would be much harder, because since this boy is fictional theres no “real person” to compare him to. But I got a good feel for portraits and that’s what my aim is.
Here’s the reference pic of Ben just for fun so you can see the similarities/differences: