Drawing a Realistic Portrait - Grid Method || Portrait drawing for beginners | Ritika Sridhar | Skillshare

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Drawing a Realistic Portrait - Grid Method || Portrait drawing for beginners

teacher avatar Ritika Sridhar, Artist, Illustrator

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Class Introduction


    • 2.

      Materials and Tools


    • 3.



    • 4.



    • 5.

      Drawing the Eyes


    • 6.

      Skin Shading


    • 7.

      Skin Shading - Full DEMO


    • 8.

      Drawing Hair


    • 9.

      Hair drawing - Full DEMO


    • 10.

      Skin Shading Part 2


    • 11.

      Drawing the Hand


    • 12.



    • 13.

      Hand and clothing -Full DEMO


    • 14.

      Finishing touches


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About This Class

In this class you will learn the techniques for Realistic Portrait Drawing.  I will teach you  how to draw a portrait using Grid Method. At the end of the class you will know the technique to draw a portrait from scratch and by the end of the class You will be creating a beautiful portrait .

This class is for those who are struggling to create portraits without losing the person's Identity, by taking this class you shall learn the methods to add Realism and to bring Life to your Portraits !

Materials :

Staedtler pencils, Pentel Graph gear mechanical pencil, Tombow mono zero eraser, Brustro Battery eraser, Fabriano Drawing sheets, Kneaded eraser, sharpener.

If you like this class please leave a review that will help this class reach more aspiring students.

You can also watch my YouTube Tutorials here

Also, you can check out my other skillshare class on  Tips and Tricks on Realistic Art here



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Ritika Sridhar

Artist, Illustrator

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Level: Beginner

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1. Class Introduction: [MUSIC] Hi, I'm Litika. I'm a portrait artist and also a YouTuber. Welcome to my second course where I'm going to teach you how to draw a portrait using grid method. Even though there are a lot of methods to draw portraits grid method is one of the easiest and the finest technique, which will help you to bring accurate results. [MUSIC] In the class, you will be getting all the information about the materials that you will be requiring to draw a portrait. [MUSIC] Then there will be detailed and also demo processes of the shading. [MUSIC] In this class, I'm going to teach you how to draw a portrait from scratch and then I'll also be guiding you on how to draw the grids, then sketching and then the complete shading process. If you are an aspiring artist and are struggling with portraits, this course is for you. Usually, the shading techniques will differ for each texture, like the dress, the hair, and the skin. So I will demonstrate each and everything with the help of this one single portrait. [MUSIC] Don't wait further. Jump into the class and learn the method of drawing a portrait. [MUSIC] 2. Materials and Tools: Thanks for jumping into the video. I'll show you the list of materials that I'll be using for this project. This is the charcoal HB pencil from Staedtler. I prefer using Staedtler graphite and charcoal pencils. You can use any brand that you prefer or that you are familiar with. Here is a mechanical pencil from Pentel. I've got extra lights for that. We can use the mechanical pencils for filling final areas in giving a smooth shading. This one is the charcoal pencil from Kohinoor brand. I am not going to use this for this drawing, but it'll be very helpful for other charcoal drawings. [MUSIC] Moving on to the other important tool erasers. This is the kneaded eraser and a regular one. Tip eraser and a battery eraser. The kneaded eraser is like a clay. You can tab it on the drawing to reduce the tone for the shading. Once the color changes due to the absorption of graphite and charcoal, you can no longer use it. The tip eraser, you can use it for final areas like raising hair and all. You can cut the tip of eraser and then use it again. Similarly for the battery eraser also, if the tip is covered with graphite or charcoal, you can cut the edge slightly and then use it. You can remove the lead easily and replace it with a new one also. [MUSIC] Moving on to the next, which is most important for drawing a portrait especially, have a printout of the reference image and also have a soft copy for it. Then these are the extra supplies that you might be needing. A craft knife for sharpening or cutting off the eraser tip, white gel pens, and a pencil extender. [MUSIC] These are all soft makeup brushes, which I'll be using for blending and smudging. I'll use the smaller ones for finer areas and the larger ones for a wide area like skin, clotting, etc. [MUSIC] Next is the sharpener. The one that I'm using is a chrome manual sharpener. You can also use regular sharpeners. [MUSIC] Moving on to another important material, that is the papers. For rough sketching and painting, you can use sketchbooks like these. I do random sketching and paintings in this. If you are not going to do a finished project, you can try using this and practice in this. [MUSIC] These are the papers that I'll be using for a finished project. This is Canson 224 GSM paper. It has a very refined and a rough texture. I personally love this paper. You can try using for a pencil drawing or a color pencil artworks. The next one is Fabriano Accademia. It is of 200 GSM. This is also a rough-textured paper. If you're not a person who prefers rough texture, you can use a smooth-textured papers also. [MUSIC] These are some of the smooth papers that I prefer using. One from Winsor and Newton. It has a very smooth texture but it's slightly thin. If you want a thick paper, you can use Strathmore Bristol. It is very thick and it's one of the best papers that you could use. [MUSIC] 3. Grids: Moving on to the next lesson, how to draw grids. Let me show you how to draw grids. Now, take the reference image and divide the entire length with a particular measurement. Here, I'm going to divide it of two centimeters. Starting from here, I'm marking for the divisions. To make it more visible, I'm using HB pencil, you can use any pen or pencil. Now we have to do the same for all the remaining three sides. After marking it on all sides connect the points and then you'll get the grids. Now we have to do the same for the drawing sheet as well. So take your sheet and to keep the measurements accurate, use the printout, that is the reference image and measure its length leaving off the borders, and then mark the exact same length. I'm leaving off the borders and marking the grid's length alone, the starting and the ending. I'm transferring the same measurements there. Now repeat the same on all the remaining three sides and then connect the points. I have got my grids ready for identification when you draw, just number the grids so that when you draw from the reference image will be able to identify the grids easily. Number them on both the reference and in your drawing sheets. 4. Sketching : Now that we have the grids, we should start sketching by comparing with the reference image. See the grid number from the reference, and then identify where the outline is starting and observe the distance, the cause, and then sketch it on your sheet. While drawing, just ensure that you use sketching on the correct grid because sometimes you might look and draw it on a different grid. Now the outline of the head is done, always use a lighter gray pencil for outlining, I am keeping the outline dark so that it is well visible for you, but make sure you use a light pencil because you're going to shade it further and finish the drawing. This is how you draw the outlines using a grid method. Just compare it with the reference, look onto the grid numbers and identify the same grid here in your drawing sheet, and then sketch it exactly the same. [MUSIC] If you have any doubts on where the outline is starting or ending within a single grid, you can measure it with a pencil and then draw. You can measure if the outline is starting in the middle of the grid or in the edge and then compare it and then you can draw it on your sheet. [MUSIC] Now I'm sketching the hand, actually the hand in my reference image is a little bit blurred, so I won't be getting the exact outline but I'm just assuming and drawing the hand. Now I have almost completed the outer lines, now sketching the face details. When you sketch the face details, just be careful, you have to be very accurate to keep it exact. Observe each and every common image and recreate it. You can try even freehand sketching, but when you want to shade, realistically, you will need the outlines to be exact and perfect, that is why we are going for the grid method. This is just one method to draw the portrait, but there are also many other methods and techniques, freehand and with partial measurements that are many methods to draw portraits. Whenever you draw the outlines using grid, recheck it again and again to make it perfect, if you find any mistakes, just change it then and there. [MUSIC] Now I am detailing the hair, just for identification let me draw the divisions of the strands. Where there's a bunch of hair, I will just separate it for identification when we shade. Without the grids partitioning the hair will be a really difficult process. [MUSIC] Now, sketching is almost done, but all these grids are dark and our outlines might be a hindrance when you shade. So to make it lighter, I'm erasing with a kneaded eraser and flattening the eraser and rubbing it over to lighten them until the outline is visible, but also not disturbing to shape. [MUSIC] 5. Drawing the Eyes: [MUSIC] Let's begin the shading process starting from the eyes. We have the outline here. I'm starting the iris with AB pencil. Make sure the pencil is very sharp, because you have to fill in all the gaps. Also this is a rough textured paper. SO you have to make sure that you fill all the pores in the paper. I'm slowly rendering it and sealing all the gaps. Always for an iris, there will be a highlight. So identify the direction of the light and understand the presence of highlights and leave those spaces. [MUSIC] I have shaded the eyeball fully. Now I'm proceeding to shade the eyebrows. I am giving the basic strokes on how the direction of the eyebrow is. [MUSIC] I prefer using AB charcoal pencil for all of these important details like eyeball, eyebrows, head, beard and mustache, because this will bring a high contrast with the skin. [MUSIC] I'm shading the eyebrows further. See the direction of the strokes and then draw like the same. Each eyebrow head will have a different direction. So observe that from your reference and try to imitate the same in your sheet. I will also use the Tombow Mono Zero eraser to remove any lines in the eyebrows. [MUSIC] You can see the sclera will not be in pure white. The white portion of the eye we'll have a small amount of tone in it. Make sure you shade it, keep it subtle. [MUSIC] Now let's shade the skin. Usually, a layer of HB pencil so that the paper is completely filled. Then for giving the depth, I'll use 4B or 2B. [MUSIC] Here where the eyelid is folded. Notice the depth. You can see from the reference image that it is very dark. Observe that and shade the portion darker. [MUSIC] Now this eye is almost done. The same process goes for the next eye as well. You can observe the process. [MUSIC] 6. Skin Shading: Now it's time to shade the skin, when you shade the nose you have to be very careful with the directions. It'll be like this, so the skin shading is blended with the cheek. so first let me start with the forehead. I prefer using a base layer of shading which is given with a B or a HB pencil, so that I make sure that I cover the white space completely. Since the paper I'm using is rough-textured, fill in the pores of the sheet with a B or a HB pencil, [MUSIC] I'm just leaving all the highlight area, we can shade it later with a mild B tone, [MUSIC] so here there is a shadow, so we have to keep it darker. [MUSIC] Now the basic shading is done, so let me shade the nose now. [MUSIC] After I go a basic layer of shading, I have to add a second layer, only then I will be filling all the pores and make sure the shadings are finer. The skin texture has to be smooth, so we have to shade it again to make it even and finer. [MUSIC] Now, [MUSIC] this is a second layer that I was telling you about, I'm using a B pencil and shading it all over the skin again, I'm also shading the highlights now. If you want to make any particular place lighter or reduce the tone, use the needle eraser. I just want to make it lighter here, and then to make it even more smooth, use a soft brush and smoothen the shading just like I do now. Don't be too harsh on the drawing, just be gentle, and after you use the brush once, make sure you clean it well before you use for the second time. 7. Skin Shading - Full DEMO: [MUSIC] As you saw in the previous lesson, we have to shade the rest of the skin portion and smoothen using the same techniques. [MUSIC] I'm just smoothening and making the shades final, just by shading it over again and again by layering technique. When there is a darker tone, use a dark shade pencil like 2B or 4B and enhance the tones. Wherever you have to smoothen it, use lighter gray pencil like HB or B and shade it slowly. [MUSIC] I think I made the tone a bit dark, so I'm lightening it with the kneaded eraser. [MUSIC] Now I am shading the nose. Whenever you shade, make sure to compare it with your reference, see wherever the tone is dark and wherever it is light. Don't forget to leave the highlights portion. You don't have to leave the highlights very pure white, you have to shade it with HB pencil very mildly. You can even use 2H pencils. Lastly, after you give all the layering, make sure to even the shading with a soft brush. Now, to make it smooth, I just use the brush. Now I'm creating highlights wherever it's needed. Just dab it on the sheet whenever you have to lighten. You don't have to erase it completely to make it whiter. [MUSIC] 8. Drawing Hair: First to shade the hair portions, we have to identify the strands and then partition it. I'll do that first. I have identified the bunch and the partitions for this part. Since the hair is a wider portion, I'm going to cover only a small portion of the hair in detail. You can see the rest of the portions in time-lapse in the next lesson. Let's start shading the hair now. I have started with the darkest tone. Slowly use HB pencil and render the hair. If there's lighter shade in the reference image, maintain the same tone. If any part of the hair it looks very light, don't leave it plain. Just give a layer of HB pencil; just one layer, that will do. It shouldn't be very pure white. I won't darken the highlights. I'll keep it very light. Darken the tones until you fill all the gaps and add a number of layers to cover the gaps. You have to be very particular about the direction of the strands. You have to see it and observe very well from the reference image and try to recreate the same shading and same direction. Now, even after adding this much of layers, I'm going to repeat the same again. You can see all the gaps in it, so use the HB pencil again to layer it over and fill in all the gaps and darken the tones. While shading this part, I'm going to draw this front hairs also. First draw it lighter and then you can darken it. I'm not drawing it on my own, I'm comparing each and every step with the reference image. I'm using this sponge-like brush, then I'm smudging it all over to fill all the small gaps. Next step is to create the highlight. Let me use this dumbo and battery eraser and slowly erase each strand wherever you can see the highlight. If it looks very light after you erase, make sure to tone it up with HB pencil by at least grading it all. This is the in-depth study of hair and the rest of the hair portions I will show you in a time-lapse in the next lesson. 9. Hair drawing - Full DEMO: As you saw in the previous lesson, I'm going to shade the hair just using the same techniques. I'm doing the first layer. I am using only HB pencil for the hair. Create variations of tones only using HB pencil. This is my suggestion and this is my method of doing it. You can also use other pencils as you prefer. But this has given me better results to create the variation of the skin and the hair. [MUSIC] Now I'm proceeding with the second and the third layering. You have to add a number of layers to make it dark. Also try to blend the area with the skin. The forehead part has to blend well with the skin. [MUSIC] Side-by-side when I'm shading I'm also creating the highlights. [MUSIC] Now almost many layers are done. To fill all those small gaps I'm using the soft makeup brush. This brush that I'm using is looking like a sponge. You can still see small white gaps. Again, I'm sharpening the HB pencil and filling all the small gaps. Now with the [inaudible] I'm creating highlights. Then tone it down if it looks very light. This is a multiple process, you know you have to do it until you're satisfied with the tones. [MUSIC] I'm almost done with the shading hair. Create highlights, and if you're not satisfied, darken it down, fill all the gaps and try to make it look really darker compared to the skin. 10. Skin Shading Part 2: [MUSIC] Before shading the mustache and beard, I'm going to shade the skin, so that the background is filled first, and we won't have any whitespace. [MUSIC] Now I'm enhancing these shadows below the nostrils. The pencil that I'm using here is 6B. [MUSIC] Next, now we can shade the mustache and beard part. I'm giving a basic layering of HB pencil, then draw the mustache hairs. You can see from the reference image that it is very dark when compared to the skin. That is why I prefer using HB charcoal pencil for the hair and mustache. If you use any other graphite pencil, it won't go well with the hair part. Since we used a HB charcoal for hair, you use the same for the mustache and the beard. [MUSIC] Also the left edge of the lips is also dark, so make sure to focus on all the tonal variations, even the minute ones. [MUSIC] Starting with the lips, I'm using 2B pencil. Keep it smooth and subtle, just slowly shaded with circular strokes. [MUSIC] Since the lip has to look very fine, I'm using this mechanical pencil to fill in all these small gaps. There are small highlights on the lip, so I'm trying to create that with kneaded eraser, and also this battery eraser. [MUSIC] Now I've started shading the lower part of the lip. There are lots of highlights and cuts, so I will leave spaces for those and shade it accordingly. [MUSIC] Once you create highlight, make sure to shade the rest of the portions. [MUSIC] To enhance the cuts, I'm marking all the small fine lines that you can see. See all these details won't be shown in the printout, that is why I suggest you to use the soft copy and hardcopy. You can see all these details really clearly in your soft copy. Again, like shading the mustache, give a basic shading for the beard. Then, [inaudible]. Don't forget to shade all those little hairs that you can see on the edge. This is a mulatto shading the hair. But don't forget to keep a sharp pencil when you shave the hair. [MUSIC] Now I'm shading the ears with 2B pencil, and to fill in all the gaps I'll use B and HB pencil. [MUSIC] For the darker tones I'm using 4B pencil and layering good again and again. The ears should look very soft also, so shade it with B pencil or a HB and make it final until it looks smooth. [MUSIC] Now I'm shading neck. [MUSIC] After I gave a basic shading for the neck, I am smoothening it with 2H pencil. It doesn't bother if you use 2H or B, you can use any light graded pencil until you're satisfied that the dawn shade it all over again and again. [MUSIC] 11. Drawing the Hand: [MUSIC] In this lesson I'll show you how to shade the hand. Shading the hand will be little tricky because there will be nerves and bones that you have to shade. Unlike the face, it is not very smooth area. [MUSIC] As I told you before, give a basic shading first, and then wherever the tones are dark, darken it with 4B pencil. [MUSIC] I just completed the shading for the thumb finger. For the rest of the portion, I am starting off with a basic shading. [MUSIC] Here, the shades are very dark. I'm using 4B pencil and darkening it. Shade in the same direction that you can see in the reference, and try to blend the shading with the highlights portion. This tone variation should look very gradual, it shouldn't be very drastic. I'll explain where the shades will be drastic. [MUSIC] Here where there are nerves, the edge will be very dark, and the nerve will be very light. You can see the drastic change in the tones there. That is what it gives the depth in the drawing. The edge of the nerve will look very dark like this, and then the bulged area will have a lighter tone. I'm erasing with the eraser and making it lighter for that. This is how you have to create the no shading. [MUSIC] For the final step, we have to smoothen the shade. Slowly cover all the gaps and smoothen the shading. [MUSIC] That's it. Our hand shading is almost done. The other hand I will be showing in the demo process in the next lesson. [MUSIC] 12. clothing: [MUSIC] Now let's start shading the clothing. Here the tones are very dark since it does the shadow. I'm using a B pencil for this. [MUSIC] I will demonstrate this left part of the clothes. [MUSIC] Since it is a shadow that is formed here, I'm using a B pencil. I don't want to mix graphite and charcoal on the same particular area. [MUSIC] For this small portion alone, I'll use only HB pencil. If you use graphite and charcoal together in this small area it will look very different and variant because the graphite has a smooth texture whereas the charcoal has a rough texture so it will differ a lot. That's why I suggest you using charcoal here. [MUSIC] While shading the clothes, try to understand the direction of the fold and then shade it. I'm using 4B pencil here. You can see a lot of highlights in this portion. Try to leave the highlights and then shade it at last with the HB pencil, then use more than this, just off the shadings. [MUSIC] Now once the first layer of shading is done, I'm smoothening it with B pencil just to layer it over again to fill all the gaps. [MUSIC] Lastly after the shading is done, don't forget to smoothen with the self makeup brush. 13. Hand and clothing -Full DEMO : [MUSIC] This is almost the last lesson. Here I will show you the rest of the clothing and the other hand shading. [MUSIC] Since I use the same techniques here, I am showing it in a time-lapse video. You can just observe how I shade this part of the dress. [MUSIC] Here also, there is a dark shadow formed in the clothing. So just like the previous lesson that I showed you, I'm using 8B pencil here, to create the depth in the clothing. [MUSIC] Now moving on to the hand shading, all the techniques are same. I'm using 4B pencil for dark areas. To smooth in the shadings I'm using HB pencil. If not you can use the makeup brushes. [MUSIC] 14. Finishing touches: [MUSIC] This is our last lesson of this particular class. I'm just giving a final touch to the drawing. I will compare all the tones with the reference image. See thought this area was little bit dark, so I'm lightening it. You can recheck the measurements, recheck the values, and correct it if anything is wrong. [MUSIC] In this part, where the hair and the skin mixes, it has to be a little bit dark. These areas are supposed to be dark. I'm smoothening with the brush. [MUSIC] All these final touches will mostly be aiming at the highlights and the tones. For the highlights, I'm using only the kneaded eraser. [MUSIC] You can see I'm repeating the same steps again. I'm shading it with the HB pencil and evening with kneaded eraser and the brush until I'm satisfied with the skin texture. [MUSIC] The portrait is completely done now. Thanks for watching this class. Our portrait is completely done. Hope you enjoyed and learned a lot of new things in this class. Letting me do in another beautiful course. Meanwhile, you can check out my other courses and also you can check out my YouTube videos and tutorials. [MUSIC]