Portrait Drawing: How to Get A Likeness part 1 | Chris Petrocchi | Skillshare

Portrait Drawing: How to Get A Likeness part 1

Chris Petrocchi, I help artists grow on their journey

Portrait Drawing: How to Get A Likeness part 1

Chris Petrocchi, I help artists grow on their journey

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2 Lessons (28m)
    • 1. Introduction to the course

    • 2. Getting A Likeness part 1

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About This Class



In this 3 part course you will discover the basics of achieving a likeness with your portraits. 

With respect to portraiture you can bet that one of the more challenging in portraiture as achieving a likeness  John Singer Sargent: "a portrait is a picture where there is Just a tiny little something not quite right about the mouth".  He also said: Every time I paint a portrait I lose a close friend." Honest words with some humor sprinkled in. 

But When drawing a face you don't always have to achieve a likeness. It depends on the goal for the drawing.  'It may just be that you want a beautiful drawing that reflects your creative vision' and so moving all the elements into the exact position to achieve a likeness may compromise your unique artistic vision and overall goal.

However, you may want to go further than just getting your portrait to look human. You may want to go through the demanding task of getting it to look like someone specific. It might be because you want to challenge yourself and see if your skills are up to the task or it may be that you have a commission by a client to paint their friend or relative. So, how do we do it?

To get a likeness you have structural and proportional knowledge of the head. If you know then you are not married to copying. The temptation is to try to draw the specific features right out of the gate. However, the first thing you must do is lay a good foundation. Mapping out the proportions and placement of the forms and features is essential for this task.

I will show you the 2 main problems to avoid and how to fix them: sizing and proportion. And I will give you 7 clean and practical steps to start building your ability to get a likeness with our portraits. I will cover the  concept of the generic head, the centerline, implied perspective, sighting angles, the plumb-line and the box.

Sound good? Let's get started!!

Visit More Classes To Improve Your Drawing

Draw Portraits Better Than Anyone Else

Draw The Head Fast With One Simple Shape

Draw The Front Planes of the Head Made Easy

Easy Way To Draw The Face Using Shapes

10 Minutes To Better Portrait Painting

Also, feel free to join the Facebook Group  and request to join to show your work, get feedback and encourage others

Thanks for your support! If you want to know more please visit/follow me online here:



Chris Petrocchi | Draw Jucie Studio

P.S. I want to share with YOU my personal favorite tools that I love drawing with to help you get started. Links for each tool online included! Find the FREE LIST here: https://bit.ly/2Jm12Dy

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Chris Petrocchi

I help artists grow on their journey


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1. Introduction to the course: Hey there. I'm Crispy Truckee, professional artist and owner of Draw Juice Art Studio, as well as creator of Mastering the Art of the Portrait Online drawing course. You may have seen my art on the cover of books concept art, storyboards for games, TV as well as fine art portraiture. After a lifetime of drawing and 10 years of teaching, I Want to help You, which he won scale in portraiture that everybody waas but is the hardest achieved, and that is getting likeness now. Could you imagine what could happen if you got a handle on this coveted skill and how it could transform your mark in this introductory course? I'm gonna give you seven easy to understand keys to getting a likeness that, if practice consistently, will solve some of your problems and make you much more proficient in this area Instantly, you can begin putting these concepts into practice today and start getting results. This course is geared for both the beginner and intermediate student who wants to go beyond just making her portrait's look human and make them look more like someone recognizable. These skills could be applied to Porter joining portrait painting, sculpture, caricature and character side, so let's jump in 2. Getting A Likeness part 1: I took a poll of the students in my mastering the art of the portrait course to find out what they were struggling with the most, what their pain points were. And, ah, how much money they've spent trying to overcome this particular problem. And here's the results. The top was getting a likeness. 34 people here. The next was constructing form and proportions. Seeing values. Drawing features were a close second, while they weren't close, but the's were stacked up close. But by far, getting likeness was the most problem area that people struggle with. So let's talk about that today and try to figure out how toe how to make this better. So with respect to portraiture, you can bet that one of the more challenging things used to achieve a likeness, John Singer Sargent said. Ah, portrait is a picture in which there is just a tiny little something not quite right about the mouth. He also said, Every time I paint a portrait, I lose a close friend. So there's some sense of humor there and maybe some truth. But you know, when drawing a face, you don't always have to achieve it like this right. It depends on your goal for the drawing. It may be that you just want a beautiful drawing that reflects your creative vision. And so just moving everything around and doing the precise work that it takes to get that likeness would somehow compromise your artistic vision right and your overall goal. So if you're just trying to create something, be creative, then it's not important to get a likeness as much as as it is to express yourself so but you. But on the other hand, you may want to go further than just getting your portrait's toe look human. You may want to go through the demanding task of getting it to look like someone specific. That's a lot harder. It might be because you want to challenge yourself and see if your skills are up to it. It might be that you have a commission or client, and so how do we do it? How can we take on ah, that kind of task and succeed well? To get a likeness, you have toe have structural and proportional knowledge of the head. If you know those two things and you're not married to copying the temptation though, is for most people is to jump in and try to draw the specific features right out of the gate, and they miss the forest through the trees. However, the first thing you must do is lay a good foundation. Mapping out the proportions and placement of the forms and features is essential for this task. Let's talk a little bit about proportion in position if I was to come in here and I have the correct size of all the features, but the position is wrong, right? You can see that things quickly go out of whack so I can have the exact correct proportion and size to the elements. But I lose the likeness. Okay, On the other hand, I may have. It's going to liquefy here. I may have the sizes and the features incorrect, and if that's the case, then it's hard to get the position correct. So if the size of my eyes, you know, are too big the too wide, the nose is a little bit too short, right? The upper lip and this is this is pretty funny. Pretty funny stuff, right? So I think you know, we can just really get a little crazy with this stuff. So if the sizes of the features Aaron correct, it's hard to get the correct position for them, right? Because the space between the tear ducks the eyes are too big. It's too. It's too small, typically on a normal human being, so we don't know where to put the eyes. Should we put it farther out? She we, you know, put him upper, raise him up, lower him a little bit, so that's a problem. So how do you get both size and position? Correct. So I want to suggest that you basically you learn from a standard first. So the standard is is like this. It's just, uh it's the plane head. It's the simple construction. It's a generic head. Basically, you could you could refer to it as a generic head or a standard, and it's important to get the concept of the head internalized so you can make predictions . You know, before they figured out, modern science figured out physics, and they wanted to see what floated in water and what didn't every time they'd have to go out and do an experiment and throw a rock in the water and say, Well, did it sink or did it float and throw a leaf? Did it float that it sink right. And every time it was different each day they went out because they they couldn't make any predictions. But if you can get the concept that things that are heavier than water have more mass than water sink and things that don't float, then you can make all kinds of predictions. Well, the same things withdrawing the head. If you can get the concept of the plane had the simple box like structure of the head, then it won't be the case that every time you go to do a drawing, like, how do you do eyes again? And is that knows, a little bit too Highs too low. All these questions, you know, where's three years? The hairline? Um, those things kind of fade into the background, and you're gonna be able to quickly, um, draw a generic head from memory and then tailor make it toe look like the person that you're trying to to get the likeness off. Right. So you have the basic, um, planes the head on the left, right, and then you can move to something a little more realized on the right side. Okay, so they're still generic. And so what you want to do is kind of get a drawing. It starts to look, you know, a little more like this on the left, it's the generic block in on the right is pretty paint like him. I'm gonna use pretty paint. It could be pencil rendering. Doesn't matter. But the idea is that you have this blocking, and it's it looks like that all the time. And then you move it over to this. Okay, That saves time. So on the left is modeling, right? And on the right is really rendering and detail ing if you're thinking about the specific texture and material and details, but those come after this structure is nailed down and firm. Okay, so that's what I want to encourage you guys to start studying and looking for is this generic head idea? So if we're looking at a generic head, the biggest temptation for new draw ours maybe all jars for a time period is to jump in and draw the specific features right away. Let me make an analogy. That's like, um, if you play guitar, you just jump in and try to play the fastest solo you can from Led Zeppelin or Van Halen. You have to start with the Metrodome very slowly so you can get control over the pick and the angle that it strikes the strings and build up speed. Over time, it's the same thing. If you're singing, you've got to start slowly doing basic fundamental things. Otherwise, you can't sing high or you can't sustain a note. You can't control your vibrato, so this kind of generic head saves us from jumping in and making big mistakes right at the beginning. And how does it do that? Let's talk about the center line. Basically, the center line is a concept, and the center line runs down the center of the head, the head of bilateral in nature. It's the same on both sides. The right is a mirror image of the left left and vice versa. So that center line tells where the left leaves off from the right. But it tells us a lot more than that. Let's just do the center line again. Um, we got the center of the chin and coming through with this without the nose and then it hits the eyebrows and then it changes direction a little bit up until the hairline, and then it changes direction even more and becomes the top of the head. So that's the center line. And like I said, it does a lot for us because it tells us about the tilt of the head. So if the head is tilting this way, where it's tilting that way, right, that's center line is going to help us all right with the till, because we're measuring against a standard that's a plumb line that's vertical. That's like a zero degrees right. And if we can measure that against an angle right of whatever degrees, that is what we can measure, that we can establish the basic tilt or gesture of the head. It also helps us establish the gays, like up or down, right. So if someone's looking up or someone's totally looking down right, that's also important that we get this angle compared to if they're straight up and down, right, and that plum line we measure the distance or the angle in between there, we have to get this plum line or the standard. First in our mind what is true vertical. And then we can measure everything else against that. So the centerline gives us a ton of information, and that's just to start. We haven't even drawn anything yet. We're just getting, you know, the basic orientation of the head on the page. And once we know this, it's pretty easy to dio now. The other thing is that, um, if the head is not only tilting up and down or side to side, but it's rotating left and right, right this way. So if it's as if someone shaking their head so that center line is going to be, you know, off the center right compared to someone was looking straight ahead. Now we have this kind of convex line that all the features and everything is now reoriented to okay, simple stuff, but necessary. So not only do we have a vertical plum line, then we can measure things against, but we have a horizontal that we can measure things against. Okay, and that's something to get in your mind to. It's almost like part of a grid, right. We have horizontal and the vertical, and we measure angles off those things. So if we line up the eyes line up the nose, right, everything's gonna be in relation to each other in perspective. So if I have my eyes lined up but my nose is kind of off and my mouth tilt is off, then they're not lined up. These should be horizontal. They should be parallel right in perspective or implied perspective. So these lines are all parallel, even the chin, the eyebrows, and then where the ears are all these things should be parallel lines. Okay, Because when you turn the head right, things start to deviate from the norm, and you can see that this is horizontal. And against that now, my eye line is this way, and the nose should then be thes. Should be parallel these features Mouth, nose, eyebrow years, bottom of chin. Right now they're all parallel, but they're going to a vanishing point somewhere out here in space. Okay. And so that's the implied perspective. You don't have to really respect the vanishing point so strictly out here and do linear perspective. But it's just implied, if you know a little bit about it, or at least you can line up everything so that they are parallel. You're going to solve a lot of problems right there. So parallel lines in any orientation looking straight head till had had rotating. So keep that in mind. That's very important. And it's something that people overlook constantly. If most of the time or many times if something's wrong. Withdrawing from a 3/4 view, it's cause the eyes are, you know, floating upward. And the nose is going off to a different place at a different angle in the eyes in the mouth, same thing. And so we just get this kind of counterbalance kind of thing and it makes our face. It makes the like, getting a likeness harder. So another thing we have to look for is citing angles to help us position the elements. So if I have the angle from tear duct to the a large facial groove, okay, that's where the wing of the nose meets the cheek. The aylor facial groove. That angle right there. Okay, that's important. I'm comparing it in a sense, I could just compare it to a true vertical and then find the distance right and say OK, how far to the left is the tear duct from the aylor facial groove. Because I'm, um I'm really looking for these points that'll show me position, right? So I'm asking myself, How what's this distance? Was this angle just very simple questions to ask yourself. You know how How wide is it? How tall is it? What's the what's the angle between? You know, this feature and that feature. So these questions very simple questions about dimension and position so I can again site an angle. There were, you know, to find the relationship between the nose and the mouth is the nose. Is the mouth as wide as the noses? Right? Is it wider? Just where is it? And I can cite an angle from the LR facial groove to the terminus of the lips. Again, I can drop the horizontal from the top of the chin, bottom of the bottom, lip horizontally out this way like a construction line, and I confined that angle where the front half of the jaw becomes the back half of the jaw and makes its way up to the ear. So that point right there, I found with the horizontal tow line that up Okay, How about the width of the chin? How do we find that right? Because that's crucial in finding likeness. Everything needs to be dialed in. So the way you find that is to usually find the pupil and draw vertical down vertical plumb line right, and they don't give you, on average the width of the chin. Okay, If you don't find that, then your chin could be, could be crooked, right? Could end up over here. This vertical plumb line usually can This model, it's just the eyes are a little fire part, but it gives you the width of the mouth right on average. So the mouth is not going to be intrude or cross those boundaries and become too wide right ? And usually the mouth is wider than the width of the nose. Right? So the mouth has never just that, you know, when a cartoon it could be. But in real life, it won't be if we take 1/3 from the hairline to the brow and then the brow to the nose, you know, bottom of the nose and bottom of the nose to the bottom of the chin. Right. That's on average. If we break this into thirds weaken space in place, the features pretty quickly, right? And then we can really look at the model and say, Well, you know, on this person, if this is our standard from the hairline to the brow, their nose might be a little bit shorter than that, right? Or this distance might be a little bit longer. And then you can just use your eyes to measure these things. And I would just suggest instead of using a grid or using some calipers or measuring precisely. First, do it with your hand eye coordination, measure it with your eyes and then draw it and then go back and use a measuring device and just see if you were in the ballpark or not, because the only way you're gonna develop this skill is just to do it. It's the best measuring tool you have is your your eyes and that sense of making those marks in those distances with your hands? It's the hand eye coordination, so practice it without really measuring precisely. But using your eyes to do it, look at the model and then look at your you're drawing and then go ahead and take a stab at it, you know, and then come back and measure it and see if you got it right If you got it right, Great. If you got it wrong, see where it's wrong and keep practicing it, okay? Because it's an acquired skill. And the more you practice it, the better and better it's gonna get. It's like anything else. So again we can split the head up into thirds. We could split it in two halfs, and that halfway point is three. I line on average. Okay, So that means the eyes aren't going to be up here, right? And they're not gonna be down here by the nose. Just somewhere in the center is good enough when you're blocking in. So you don't have to worry. What you need to do is get control of your box. The box is a pretty easy concept to get down. Relatively speaking. Then I would say ahead would be because if you're thinking, you know Zygomatic arch neighs, Alice, Front Tallis, super silly Eri Arch and all these muscle bone connections, it's gonna be confusing, and it's gonna be really laborious, so it's just too hard to work like that. So just get the concept of your box and your basic value, and then you can fix the proportions to that. You're gonna fix the features and where they go to the box, you know? So if you have this box in space, all right, then you can kind of come along and say, All right, where's the center? And the eyes are in the center. You know, the brow is a little bit above that and get the nose in there. But the features in there mouth, chin, and so it's kind of it's a lot quicker, you know? And then he can kind of cut off parts of the box, right? So I think you get the pick your picture with that, right? So it's the concept that's important. And, um, don't think about anatomy. Think about this. The box, the center line and the basic orientation of the head on the page. First in between, from tear duct to tear duct, there will be one eyes, distance on average. Okay, and then you can adjust to fit the particulars of the person that you're drawing. So we have that with the I is around the same as the with of the nose, All right, around the same as the with of the eyebrow. So you can use You can use that right from the eye brown to the top of the lower portion of the, um, eye socket. Usually you can just take that that distance and move it down and you'll get to the bottom of the nose. Right. So there's all these proportions that you confined and start relating one thing to another . Okay, One last thing. So in terms of proportion, the head is 3 to 2, its three units tall, and you take two of those units and you just bring them over here and measure that with and get your with so you can derive your with from your height or vice versa. But, um, that means that the head is basically an oval, and it's wider on top than it is on the bottom. Okay, a little bit wider on top than it is on the bottom. And the cheeks are the widest part of the head, whiter than the brow. So if it's 3 to 2, that means your head is not gonna be a circle that's gonna look like a bubble head, and that won't be right. And it's not a compressed ovoid shape, right? It's a little bit compressed, but it's not compressed like this one is. Don't do that and don't do this. All right? Okay, guys, that's it for the first video on getting likeness. But stay tuned. I've got two more awesome videos in the series on getting a likeness, and we're gonna critique drawings of students in the course. So stay tuned. I'll see you then remember toe like and subscribe and share Talk to you later.