How to draw a portrait

We take a ready-made tablet, paper-drawn pencil, an eraser, which we try to use only when we don’t know how to fix the job at all, ask us not to bother anyone and sit down to draw. The subject for the drawing is a living person or a plaster head.

So, we draw a portrait, and we begin to draw in steps:

1. We make a detailed review of our nature, consider it from all sides, consider it in great detail and analyze the shape, you can and even need to make a few sketches to analyze the shape of the head constructively.

Draw your nature from different angles, in different corners - this will give you the opportunity to study it, get used to it, notice more about the characteristic features of its general form and details separately. Walk with a pencil over all parts of the head and feel, "probe" how its shape is arranged:

2. We choose a place to work with a good overview of nature, choose a point of view, do not use a strong angle, let nature sit in a calm position now.

3. Compose the composition in a sheet.

4. We find a place for individual parts of our composition - head, neck, body. The third and fourth paragraph, of course, involves the enhanced work of our observational perspective, the eye, and in the future, the eye works in the first order, not slower than the hands.

5. We specify the main volumes, find the rotation, the main axis of construction.

6. Build the form. From the general to the particular, from the particular to the general, "all together and separately" and then again reduced to "all together."

7. Step by step, we check ourselves for the correspondence of perspective reductions and proportional ratios of primary and secondary forms and their correspondence with each other.

8. We proceed to the hatching, with leisurely and accurate movements we define, separate light and shadow.

9. We model the shape taking into account spatial vision and the available chiaroscuro. We try to lay down the stroke in form. Do not forget, modeling any part, you need to understand that it is necessarily part of one large volume.

In the process, you can get this:

We analyze Mistakes and learn to understand them. The first thing that catches your eye is that the work is highly blackened. The second is, as it were, cottony, inflated forms that are completely different from what they really are. They also name as cast-iron drawing. The proportions are broken.

You can still be very strongly expressed in addition, the construction lines are simply drawn.

Let’s add to all this: hair is drawn, eyebrows and eyelashes are pointed, there is even an attempt to convey the character of a person. Like, the work is ready. But this is far from the case.

Reasons: the draftsman is trying to reproduce the volume of the head, trying to take into account the distribution of chiaroscuro in its shape. But it can’t go from total to private in any way. When trying to work out any detail, he loses integrity in the picture and at the same time he understands this. And if he doesn’t understand, he is sure to feel it.

And the draftsman, trying to work out these details in his tone, simply does not understand how they are arranged or how to “link” them in the total volume. As a result, a person understands that he cannot detail the work (go from general to particular) and, seeing the appearing fragmentation in the drawing, possibly losing perspective relationships, he tries to at least put everything together and keep the integrity of the work in tone. Clinging to one piece of the form and making mistakes in it, he tries to connect it with another form, as a result, over and over again superimposing layers of graphite — what else can be corrected, of course, by stroke. That's all, the portrait did not work out. And the thing is that a person has poorly studied the shape of the head of nature and does not know well the drawing of details.

If this happens to you, then you need to do the following:
If you have already structurally disassembled the volume of the head and began to simulate the shape with a stroke, and then you begin to feel discomfort in the further conduct of the work, you need to stop working in tone and disassemble the volume of the head again. Lightly with a pencil, go through the shape again and align the head structure with the conditional planes. In the process, you will feel the connection of each site with each other.

Once again, you will analyze mentally “what comes from and what flows into”, it is more beautiful to say how the form is formed and why exactly. This process also allows you to better understand how chiaroscuro will be distributed, according to the simplest way, which part will be in the light, which part in partial shade, which in the shade. Which is darker and which is lighter. Which is closer and which is farther. And why. We disassemble something like this:

Now the next - if you feel difficulties in parsing the form, then proceed according to one of the following points:

1. According to the fractures of the form, we notice visually and divide it into conditional planes, with which we simulate the volume.

2. We are trying to understand how the form is structured, analyze, observe, and then build with either conventional planes or constructive lines, or combine these methods.

3. if neither one nor the other helps, we generalize the form. That is, a lot of incomprehensible folds, wrinkles, muscle formations incomprehensible to you - we generalize by conditional planes, taking as a basis the main design points and planes, taking into account the proportional features of this form.

Look at the picture below, try to do no less. Here there is the use of all three points, except for this - step-by-step execution of the work, which we designated at the beginning:

And here's another work.
It is somewhat blacked out, but the study of the volume of the head is clearly visible, there is a simulation of its individual forms, the constructiveness of the drawing is felt. Each individual detail of the total volume in its place, both structurally and in tone. There is planning. The drawing works.

If you generally look at the distribution of chiaroscuro, the cube design is read: the front part — one plane of the cube — in the shadow, the skull — like the light plane of the cube — in the light, the side part — its face can be seen along the three-quarter turn line — another plane, which is in partial shade. Look at the nose - the same principle is used to study the chiaroscuro of its shape, the neck is a cylinder, chiaroscuro is distributed on its basis, the chin is not cut, its lower plane is visible, which makes it clear that the chin is bulky and this lower plane “turns” it to the neck cylinder.

It is often difficult to “plant” the eyes in the orbital cavities, so that they do not turn out like “frogs,” bulging out. Or didn’t get flat. You need to try to feel the depth of the eyeball, do not forget that the eyeball is covered with lower and upper eyelids. And above the eyes hang over the eyebrows, from which a shadow falls on the eyes.

Notice how chiaroscuro is distributed over the hair: they are not always the same in tone - the upper part is in the light and the temporal part is in partial shade, the hair is worked out more clearly along the temporal line, since there the head is “wrapped” in the back of the head, thereby showing that the hair are on the volume of the head.

Of course, if you change the location of the light source, then all the black and white relationships will be built in a new way. But the principle of finding them is one and the same.

Well, a successful search for proportions also helps, of course, both in the total volume and in the individual parts and in the proportional ratios between them. If the portrait does not look like the person posing for you, then this definitely means that proportional relationships in the figure of the person’s head were not found correctly.

In any case, no matter how you feel like it, but at first there will be mistakes and difficulties, no one will get away from them. No need to be afraid or shy. This is a learning process, which, depending on how much you spend practical working hours, gradually turns into a normal, professional drawing. And the more you draw, the less you will use construction lines that will help in drawing at a subconscious level. But it is not now. And if you draw a portrait of a person you get a normal result, then when drawing gypsum, you just click nuts (this is written for those people who began to learn to draw a portrait of a person without further analysis of the gypsum head).

And here are two more works. First - tonal pattern. As in the tonal still life, it must be considered from the point of view that what has been worked out more or what attention is focused on is considered closer.

The nose is the most active part, although dark, but it is still the most protruding part of the head volume to us. This creates space in the sheet here. The principle itself is this.

You will be carried away by the tonal pattern now, remember: what is closer to us is worked out more clearly, in more detail, and more actively. What comes next is weaker. The design of the head should be read in a tone.

The second portrait of a person (see below) is a simplification of form and some ignoring of details.

There is no strong analysis of the form, detail. But despite this, the volume of the head is whole, the chiaroscuro is transmitted, the proportions are not broken, the space in the sheet is created. The drawing works.

See how the background works. He does not compete with the figure, but only supplements it, and there is a certain stretch in tone: there is more light at the top, there will naturally be less light at the bottom, which emphasizes the space in the sheet.

Well, the sketches, of course, is highly recommended. Hand and eye should always be in form.

Catch the volumes of the head. The main structural aspects are the main volume, structural points, basic proportions, planes and shapes. Sketch from a lively head. Watch TV, you can take a notebook and pen with you, at any opportunity and an interesting picture, hurry to capture, "catch the head" of your favorite hero. You can head to your favorite news program announcer. Well, what, than not a way? You need to use any method. Going on the subway, make a sketch of the person who is sitting on the other end of the car. And that is the way. Sketch your classmate, for example, who is “looking for” something in the book =)

And you can just compare the volumes of different heads. Compare their proportional ratios. You can use pictures or photographs for this, since this is more attentive work and it takes more time to complete it than with a quick look, quick searches. Look at the searches on the right, it would seem, almost the same shape, the same "weight" volume. But no, if you look closely, each "head" has its own characteristics, which enable it to be different from the rest.

You can draw such light portraits of people:

And in general, learn to draw better than me;) you will definitely be able to.

How to draw a portrait

Then I leave for you a piece of the old material, which was the very first version of this page, how to draw a portrait. So to speak, as a keepsake =)

In the next assignment, you will need a plaster head, which you can buy at an art store. If for some reason you did not purchase it, you can draw from nature. But when choosing a sitter, remember that you need a person of age who has formed bones of the skull. Also you should ask them to wash off their makeup from the face; it will not allow to correctly assess the volume and chiaroscuro. Moving forward in our topic, how to draw a portrait.

Exercise - building a head as a whole volume

We take a half of whatman paper, attach it to an easel, and even better, pull the paper onto the tablet. Correctly install lighting. Light should transmit chiaroscuro as best as possible. Under normal lighting, shape analysis is difficult to do because of the blurring of shadows and the variability of sunlight. We find the place of our head in the sheet, we determine the proportional ratio of height and width. The situation is as we considered in the topic of how to draw a still life. The same principles of work are observed:

After we placed the total volume in the space of the sheet, we determine how much space the head itself, the cylinder of the neck, and the subject plane- cube occupy.

Next we find the axis of symmetry, which divides the head into two equal parts, and the line of a three-quarter turn, which will pass through the cheekbone and, as a hint to us, will turn the cube-object plane. When you do this, it's time to outline the remaining axial lines that we outlined on the discs. Now add some more important construction points:

See how the volume of the neck is attached to the volume of the head - so that it does not happen that they exist on their own. It must be remembered that the neck is a cylinder, a form that comes in another form.

When all the structural points are found, all the main volumes are outlined, you can outline the volume of hair on the volume of the head.

Next, we move on to the distribution of light and shadow. Sharpen the pencil and outline the shadow. We lay down the hatching over the entire volume, outline the shadow (with all halftones and falling shadows), only then we can proceed to analyze the chiaroscuro separately, starting with large forms and ending with drawing small details. But always remember that you are making a drawing of one whole composition. A portrait of a man is one integral composition. Only at the very end you can work out eyebrows, eyelashes and similar details.

Depart from work more often and look at it from the side. Take breaks. Use the skills that we have developed with you before.