Start Drawing: Techniques for Pencil Portraits | Gabrielle Brickey | Skillshare

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Start Drawing: Techniques for Pencil Portraits

teacher avatar Gabrielle Brickey, Portrait Artist -

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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.

      Introduction and Materials


    • 2.

      Pencil Techniques


    • 3.

      Choosing a Reference


    • 4.

      Proportions and Measuring Tricks


    • 5.



    • 6.

      Planes, Light & Shade, and Edges


    • 7.

      Start Shading


    • 8.

      Learning the Eye


    • 9.

      Sketching the Eye


    • 10.

      Shading the Eye


    • 11.

      The Nose- Anatomy and Planes


    • 12.

      Sketching and Shading the Nose


    • 13.

      The Mouth


    • 14.

      Drawing the Mouth


    • 15.

      The Ear


    • 16.

      Drawing the Hair


    • 17.

      Tips for Success


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About This Class

Drawing is an art that is accessible to anyone. Originally a self-taught artist, I learned so much through practice alone. However, through studying tutorials posted by peers online, taking classes with professional portrait artists, and by studying the works of old masters, I’ve been able to reach a new level of knowledge that I would love to pass on to anyone willing to learn.

I’m teaching this class to share my process with you so you can learn the drawing secret it has taken me years to discover: the most beautiful drawings are often the most simple drawings. 

What You'll Learn

In this class I'll teach you how to get started drawing your own beautiful life-like pencil portraits. We'll cover: 

  • Materials. Which materials and references will make for the best portraits. 
  • Basic Sketching. How to compose your basic sketch through gesture and accurate proportions.
  • Planes. How to understand light and shade on the planes of the face.
  • Features and Forms. How to structure the forms of your subject's eyes, nose, mouth, and hair. 
  • Finishing Touches. How to capture those finishing details that will really make your portrait special. 

What You'll Do

Use this class to get started on your own pencil portrait. Collaborate with classmates from all over the world and share your project for feedback. 

Class Supplies

You can get started with any pencil, paper and erasers but below are some more specific recommendations from me. 

  • Paper. Heavy weight bristol paper. I'd recommend: 100lb Canson vellum bristol, 9”x12” or 11”x14”
  • Pencils. Mechanical pencils, I'd recommend: 0.3mm Draft Line and 0.5mm graphite 925 Staedtler 
  • Lead. I'd recommend: Pentel lead refills 0.3mm 3H lead and 0.5mm 4B lead
  • Blenders. Tissues, q-tips, and blending stumps
  • Erasers. Regular erasers, I'd recommend: Pink Pearl eraser, kneaded eraser, and Faber-Castell eraser pencil


Class Outline

Drawing portraits. In this class, you’ll learn how to draw your own beautiful, lifelike portraits. Gabrielle will discuss:

  • Graphite pencil techniques
  • Proportions and measuring tricks
  • Other tips, which will help you create beautiful portraits

Creating your own. With Gabrielle’s help, you’ll use this class to get started on your own pencil portrait. You’ll be invited to collaborate with classmates from all over the world, and to share your project for feedback.

Using materials. You’ll learn which materials make for the best portraits, and the other tools you need as you begin drawing realistic, dynamic works of art. Gabrielle will make specific recommendations about:

  • Pencils and erasers that you should use
  • Ways to hold your pencil to create different tones
  • The correct way to blend, in order to keep your dark and light strokes distinct
  • Ways to make textures in your drawings by using a simple eraser technique.

Relying on references. Gabrielle will give you tips on what makes a photo a good reference tool, and how to break it down, in order to analyze its shadows, lights, and shapes more clearly. You’ll learn how to add drama to your portraits, and how to work with light and dark values, in order to make more successful drawings.

Sketching. In this pencil drawing tutorial, Gabrielle will help you understand how to compose your basic sketch with gesture drawings and accurate proportions. By using the simple rule of thirds and other measurements, you’ll learn how to divide the face accurately, and how to place eyes, brows, the bottom of the nose, the lips, and the hairline. As Gabrielle demonstrates the way she sketches, she will narrate her thought process and explain her techniques, so that you can easily follow along as she works.

Working with planes. You will learn how light and shade interact with the planes of the face, and how to work with those planes when you are drawing portraits, in order to take your work to the next level. Gabrielle will break a face down into planes, and will discuss how different lighting can create different tone values on each one.

You will also learn about half-tones, highlights, reflected lights, form shadows, and cast shadows. And you’ll learn how to identify the soft and sharp edges between them.

Understanding features and forms. Gabrielle will explain how to structure the forms of your subject’s eyes, nose, mouth, and hair. You’ll learn the basic anatomy of facial features, and how to accurately sketch, shade, and blend their forms. You’ll also come away with tricks for drawing hair in quick, confident strokes. Finally, Gabrielle will show you how to avoid the common mistakes that make portraits look unnatural, and how to tweak the eyebrows to create expression.

Finishing touches. You’ll learn how to capture finishing details, which will help make your portrait stand out. Gabrielle will also share her extra tips for approaching your work with a new perspective, helping you see details that you might otherwise miss.

Meet Your Teacher

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Gabrielle Brickey

Portrait Artist -

Top Teacher

Hey there! I'm Gabrielle Brickey.

And I'm so glad you're here!

I teach artists like YOU how to draw and paint portraits and characters you can be proud of. I'm so excited to help you improve your art skills, gain confidence, and create the art you've always dreamed of!

Jump into class. Let's get started. :))

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1. Introduction and Materials: Hello. My name is Gabrielle and I wanted to welcome you to start drilling techniques for pencil portraits. In this class, through videos, images, and easy to follow project steps, you will learn how to make a great portrait. In my Skillshare class, I will walk you through materials to use as well as how to pick the best reference photos. Then we will start sketching and I will teach you how to accurately draw the portrait using gesture and correct proportions. I will then share knowledge about the planes of the face, and light and shade. Blending and shading techniques will of course be covered. I will also walk you through the structure of the eyes, nose, mouth, ears, and hair, and how you can bring these features to life in pencil. Finally, you will learn how to make your drawing really special with finishing touches. All along the way, I will be sharing tips and tricks I've learned through my years of study. This class will be packed with information and will help bring your drawing skills to the next level. Let's get started with materials. My suggestion is to buy the best materials you can comfortably afford. Because if you have good materials, you won't be struggling the whole time to get not so good materials to do what you want them to. If you have the good stuff, it'll be easier and more fun right off the bat. For paper, I would recommend Canson Vellum, Bristol in size 9x12 or 11x14. Now, make sure when you buy this paper, you're not buying the translucent Vellum that looks like tracing paper. This paper is pretty thick and it's white. It's a nice quality paper. It is 100 pound and 260 GSM. Now, these people are changing their covers all the time, so it might look like this, it might look like this or might have a different cover. But I think Canson is a good company and I like their Vellum Bristol, Strathmore is also a good company. I like to use is a 0.3 millimeter draft flight mechanical pencil and I put 3H Pentel lead into it. I like Pentel 3H lead a lot because you can get very smooth tones of it. I use this pencil when I'm drawing smooth skin. This is my 0.5 millimeter Staedtler mechanical pencil and I put 4B lead on this one because I like to have a nice soft lead. 4B Pentel lead is great for dark tones. Make sure when you buy your mechanical pencil, you're also buying the same size lead that will fit into that pencil. For erasers, I like to use a kneaded eraser, an eraser pencil, and just any old regular eraser. All these erasers do slightly different things. I like kneaded erasers because you can pull them right apart and shape them into any eraser you need. With a few quick strokes, eraser pencils work great for things like flyaway hairs. It's good to have a regular eraser just to erase some big things, especially while you're sketching your gesture. I like to use tissues or toilet paper for blending, as well as Q-tips, and blending stumps, and tortillions. All of these are good for blending small areas, and the tissues and toilet paper or good for blending large areas. Some other materials you might want to have are a nice hard board or nice hard surface to work on. You can work at a desk or you can grab a board like this. This is a masonite board. You're also going to want a piece of scrap paper to put onto your drawing hand while you work so that you don't smudge your work underneath and you're also going to probably want a ruler just to measure things if you need to, or just to have a straight edge. 2. Pencil Techniques: To get a nice clean tone, try to angle your pencil downward like this instead of working like this with the point of it facing up towards the sky. When you work like this, it makes it so that more lead is able to touch the paper. So you'll have a broader stroke versus when you work with this, just the point of the pencil is touching the paper. If you work with your pencil up and down, you will get a smaller, sharper line, but for drawing big smooth tones, you'll want to angle your pencil so you'll get a broad smooth stroke. Try to make a smooth flat tone. I like to use my 3h pencil and draw smoothly and quickly back and forth. I try to make it so that each stroke is touching the one next to it so there are no white paper gap showing through. You can't expect blending tools to do all the work, so if you want to draw something smooth like scan, you have to have a smooth base from the start. If you want to have a smooth gradation of tone from dark to light, work the darker area to build up the value. This will take some time to do, but be patient with it and remember to make your strokes neat. When you blend, blend from light to dark so you don't drag your dark values into your light. So here's a technique you can use for getting texture on your drawings. With the point of your mechanical pencil, take it and puncture holes into your kneaded eraser. Then you're going to want to use this and use it sort of like a stamp and just dab it on your tone like this. This will give you a texture effect. Definitely experiment with this and see what you can come up with. To draw a very dark town just use 4B lead and press down hard. But as a word of caution, it takes a long time to cover a very big dark area. 3. Choosing a Reference : So what makes for a good photo reference? Well, having good light and shade in your reference will not only make your pieces clear to draw, but it will also make for a more interesting composition. If we squint down our eyes, we can see light and shade more easily. Here the model has a good amount of light and shade, which can be broken down into simple shadow shapes, so it'll make for a good reference. Here the model also shows simple, light and shade. You can pretty easily see the line it makes down the face. Intense light and shade can also add drama to your piece. In this class, let's try to avoid low contrast images because working in light and shade with light and dark values will be key to the success of our drawings. I would also suggest avoiding using references with big smile showing teeth, because they are very difficult to draw. Of course, if you're up for a challenge, go right ahead, but if you like a smile, a simple smile without teeth will look great in portraits. I would also highly recommend working from clear photos. Blurry photos are very difficult to work from. The higher the quality, the better. Where do you find the reference? Well your family, friends, and yourself will make for great free models. Awesome, yeah, work it. Experiment with lighting to see what you can come up with. If you don't want to do that, there are great stock artist online. But for now, try and look at these stock images. Squint your eyes and try to see where the value changes from light to dark. Once you find that great reference that inspires you, go ahead and print it out as large as your drawing will be. 4. Proportions and Measuring Tricks: It's super helpful to know the general proportions of the face, because regardless of age, gender, and race, we all pretty much have the same proportions. First, you want to place the eyes. To place the eyes, you draw a head and from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head, divide it in half, is where the eyes will go. Now it's not to the very top of the hair because hair can be poofed up really big, it's to the top of the skull. So to the top of the head, to the bottom of the chin, divided in half, and you will get the placement of the eyes. Once you have placed the eyes, you're going to want to visually placed the brows. Once you place the brows, you take the brows to the chin and divide that in half. Once you divide this in half, you can place the bottom of the nose. Here we go. Here's the bottom of the chin and there's the bottom of the nose. We can take this same measurement and it will be the same as from the bottom of the nose to the brows, and it'll be the same as to, from the brows to the top of the forehead or the hairline. The face can be broken down into thirds. In the middle third, you'll find the ears. Between the brows in the bottom of the nose, you can place the ears, illustrate on there. To place the lips, you divide the bottom of the nose to the chin into thirds. That will be here, here to here, 1, 2, 3. One third down from the bottom of the nose, you'll get the division of the lips. This is very helpful for placing the lips. Another third down from that, you'll get where the chin comes out again. This spot will go into shadow and then the chin will come up there. Now the distance between the corners of the eyes is about the length of another eye. You can imagine another eye being here. To get a good likeness, you'll have to draw accurate proportions, and this should really help you to do that. Here I'm locking my arm and putting on straight out towards my reference and putting it over a troublesome angle and then dragging it to my drawing. Then you can compare angles. So put the pencil on top of an angle and drag it right to your drawing with a straight arm, and you can see if you've drawn it correctly. Next I'm dropping a straight edge, straight down the image, and I see that it lines up the pupil and the corner of the mouth on my reference. Then I take that straight edge measurement and bring it to my drawing and see if my drawing matches up. You can also measure distances with a piece of paper. Here I'm measuring the outside corners of the eyes. You can do this with the lips too. Take a piece of paper and put a little mark and then bring it to your drawing and see if it matches up. Your images will have to be the same size for this to work. You can also take a compass and set the points to the areas you want to measure and compare it to your drawing. Or if you want, you can just use a ruler. That'll work too. 5. Sketching: I'm going to do my sketch on cheaper paper first and then trace it to nicer paper later. I do this because when I'm sketching on cheaper paper, I feel more free and I'm not as afraid to make mistakes. Here I'm winding my hand up to draw circle because the head is like a ball with a jaw. Then I began to generally draw the hair, trying to capture the swing of it here. Now I'm measuring and I see my pencil is about the length of her face. Now I'm making a line to represent the arc of the eyes, and I make another line down the front of the face. This helps to show the direction the face is pointing. Then I go right in with a value to place the eye sockets. I like to put down quick tones when I do my sketches versus just line. Because personally it helps me place the features better. Now, I'm adjusting my papers to make sure they are both straight, so my angles will be accurate. Definitely make sure your papers are straight up and down too. Now I am defining the nose shapes, and I'm looking at the shadows to start placing the eyes. Another reason I like to do the sketches on cheaper paper first, is so that I can erase if I need to. I found that if you erase too much on good paper, it can sometimes ruin the texture of the paper and make shading and blending more difficult later on. Of course, you don't have to do a sketch on scrap paper like I have here. If you are a confident in you're sketching skills, go right ahead on good paper from the start. Make sure your proportions are pretty accurate before moving on, because you don't want to be towards the end of your piece, only to realize that that beautifully shaded eye you drew is half an inch off from where it should be, that's the last. Make sure you have the eyes, nose, and mouth placed with accurate proportions. You can make changes to the shape later, but the placement needs to be correct. If you're having trouble, try measuring these things. Maybe the distance from the corner of the eye to the side of the face, or the distance between the bottom of the nose and the top of the lip, or the distance between the tip of the nose and the side of the face. Just keep using the measuring tricks if you find you're having trouble, and remember the general measurements for human proportions. When I'm working with charcoal, I start right in with the good paper because you can push and pull charcoal around. I think graphite pencils are more delicate medium though. I like to have clean lines from the start and I achieved that by tracing the sketch onto good paper with light clean lines. 6. Planes, Light & Shade, and Edges: A plane is a flat surface on which a straight line joining any two points on it would wholly lie. This is flat, this is flat, this is flat. Now, on the face, these things aren't actually flat. We're changing all the time but very generally, these are the planes you'll get on the face. When I learned about the planes of the face and the head, it really transformed my work and pushed it to the next level. I think is important to learn these. You can see the first group of planes by drawing three lines, and they all originate from the cheek bone here. You go from the cheekbone to the masseter, it's the chewing muscle, and then draw another line from the cheekbone to a corner of a chin. Then another line, you go all the way through it will go to the canine tooth, the pointing tooth. Once you draw these lines, you get to see some of the planes. The forehead can also be broken down in the plains. Three major ones right here. In certain light situations, you'll get different values on each of these parts. The eyes are on a plane that pushes inward because they are protected by the brow ridge. This area will often be in shade. Knowing these big planes will help you get started shading, so you can capture the big light effect in your drawing. There are a lot of different lights situations that can occur. But in this example we're seeing direct light. Direct light situations occur when there is one main light source. Some examples of direct light would be light from the sun or a spotlight. Basically, one main light source coming from one angle. For this portrait drawing class, it will be great to use an image with easier C shadow shapes, because it will make drawing those shapes much easier. In direct light, if you squint your eyes, you can easily see where the values change from light to shadow. Let me go ahead and break down light and shade in this example a bit further. Here's the high light. I like to use my kneaded eraser to get to high light or you can just leave the white of your paper. Just don't draw on it. This is the half tone, also known as the midtone. I use my 3H pencil to draw these areas because it's light and you can gradually build up your tone as it leads to the form shadow, which is right here. After the form shadow, we have the core of the form shadow, which will be the darkest part of the form shadow. After the core of the form shadow, we have the reflected light. Now, makes sure the reflected light is never as light as anything in the half tone or in the light. Because of it is it will look strange. It will pop out where it shouldn't. If you squint down and this is popping out, make sure you make it darker. Because when you squint, this should all belong together, and this should all belong together, and they should be separate. Now, this is the cast shadow. The cast shadow has an edge and that edge is pretty sharp compared to the form shadow. See how soft and gradual the form shadow is? It's very soft as it moves from light to shade, it's very gradual and soft here, this edge. It's blurry. Whereas here on the cast shadow the edge is hard and sharper. We can see shadow and then boom light. So make sure you keep that edge quality, and the difference between the edge quality of form shadows which are soft, and cast shadows which are hard. For my shadows I like to use my 4B pencil, and I like to use them for the form shadow. The core of the form shadow, the reflected light and the cast shadow. I will work the 3H here right into the form shadow, and then I usually go in with the 4B gradually. Here we have a form, the lip, and then that lift is casting this shadow right here. So this lip, to me seems to be rendered very softly. The transitions are very soft and gradual in value. Whereas here for the cast shadow, we see dark and then it goes right to light. There's not really a transition there. The edge right here is sharp, whereas the edge here is very soft and gradual. 7. Start Shading: The first thing I usually do after I have my sketch ready is, I put a tone over the whole face. Because that will help me to start thinking about values. Then I just go in darker and darker, slowly, gradually building up different tones, trying to capture the light effect. Now I'm looking at those planes, the one that goes from the cheek to the chin, because I can see that one of my reference. The reference I'm working from is very subtle though. Continuing to put in base tones here. This is going to seem like slow work when you're doing this because your pencil is so small and you have all this ground to cover, but you will get there, you just have to be a little patient. I'm using the measuring technique with my paper to try and be more accurate and about my proportions, because I was having difficulty with the placement of that nostril. To get it, you can measure the side of the face to the nostril, squint down and you'll be able to see the values better. Although it takes a lot of time, always remember to keep your strokes neat. You shouldn't get sloppy with them because the tissues can't fix it, really. The tissue is for blending, will just help it. But you should really keep your strokes neat. This is what I do. I just slowly build up the tone. Then I go in and add details on the different features as I go. In the following units, I'll go into more detail about how I do each individual feature. Here I'm blending everything I did softly with a tissue. 8. Learning the Eye: So here's my reference and before we start, we should really be able to name a few things, so we're familiar with the anatomy or the parts. So here we have the sclera. Sclera is the white of the eyes. It's actually not white though. Its right here. Here we have the iris, that's the colored part of the eye whether you have brown eyes or blue eyes, that's the iris. Here we have the pupil. Here's the lower lid and the upper lid. Here we have the orbicular muscle, and often times in your orbicular muscle, you'll see this triangular shaped shading here, and you'll also see it over here another triangular shape. Here we also have the tear duct. Now, don't want to overplay the tear duct too much, sometimes less is best there. Of course here we have the highlight. So I'm going to draw some eye examples right now and say this is the face. The eye, I'm going to be drawing this one right here. So when you first drawn an eye, what you don't want to do is just start off by drawing a football shape. A lot of people do that or they'll draw like the Egyptian eye and the shapes don't really work too well, if you want to draw and eye. They're not accurate enough, so don't start off with that. What you want to do is instead look at the angles. So the top lid, we usually have three angles, one, two, three and the bottom lid will have two usually. If you want to make it even more simple, you could break it up into the top having two. One, two and the bottom also having two. So definitely try to think about and see the angles, instead of just doing the football. Great. Another mistake people sometimes make is they want to draw the iris like this, and they leave all this white space here with the sclera. Now, when you draw an eye like that, the expression is going to look surprised. So what you want to do instead, is have the upper lid slightly cover the top of the iris, and this will give you a more natural look. So another thing you should look for is the expression that comes from the brows. Because honestly, you can get a ton of expression just from tweaking the brows ever so slightly. You don't even have to be this dramatic. So if the expression is looking off and it's not looking like the expression in your photo reference. Try and take a look at either the eyebrows or the eyelids. Because how far the eyelids go over the irises can make a difference, and how the eyebrows are arched will also make a difference. So take a look at the eyebrows and the lids. 9. Sketching the Eye: Now we're going to start sketching and we want to see the angles in this eye. Here I'm seen two on the top; one, two and on the bottom one, two. When I do my sketches, I like to do them with my 3 edge because it's lighter and I can erase if I need to. Here we go. Actually, we can add the third little one there. I'll put a little in there. Shape with the left round, bring it down near where peculiar muscle is, so we braid into the lash line. You want to start thinking about the rhythm of these thing and connecting all of it, so it's good to do just the right thing. The tear dot, in the air above it, you can start to make a round thing and then go down and press down and get that circle. Will get you ready for the motion of making a circle there. Think about that triangular shape in here, lightly indicate it, just you don't forget about it. We're in the pupil, again I'm not going super dark I'm just trying to figure it out. I'm trying to figure the whole thing out. Get a feel for it. Nothing settles down, if you don't like the way something looks, grab your kneaded eraser and you erase it out because if you keep trying to get it and you're not liking it, you're not going to fix it. If it's not right, go ahead and take some time to erase if you need to. It's looking pretty. Once I have a basic sketch like this, it's time for some shading. 10. Shading the Eye: The first thing you're going to want to do is put a tone over the entire eye. Then start to look at these darker areas and you can draw the triangular depression that's between the bridge to the nose and the corner of the eye and work that right into the brow. Then start to shade the form shadow of the orbicularis muscle. Go ahead and put some dark accents on the crease of the eyelid as well as on the lash line, and you can darken up the brow as well. It's good to build up the tone slowly, so that they all relate to one another. Now I'm putting in the pupil and adding some more dark accents. Now it's time to put in the tone of the iris, just so it relates to everything around it. Now I'm using a tissue to blend, but also it makes it a little more realistic. Adding more dark accents, and working it right into the orbicularis muscle. I like to use blending stump sometimes too, they work well for the small areas in the eyes, Q-tips tutor. I've slowed this part down to really show you the lashes. Make sure you are thinking about them as triangular shapes, groups of lashes in triangular shapes. You don't want to think about them as single lashes. You should clump a few together and use quick confidence strokes to draw them. I'm just defining some things, adding some details, looking at my reference the whole time. There, I thought I added too much, so I took some out with the eraser technique I taught earlier. Now the iris will be lighter on one side than the other, and it's the side that's opposite the highlight usually. That will really make it look like light is hitting the eye, if you add light to the iris. Now on lashes triangular shapes. Using my kneaded eraser here to highlight details, works nice for that, not giving too much attention to the tear dot there. You don't want to distract from the iris or the eyelashes or something. That's pretty much it. 11. The Nose- Anatomy and Planes: It's good to study the anatomy, and so the important parts of the nose are the nasal bone, the lateral cartilage, the alar cartilage, the wing, the nostril. Down here you'll find the septum. If you have an anatomy book, I would definitely suggest looking through that and trying to get some different pictures, and different angles so you can see how this stuff is working and where it all is. Now it also suggests when should you that printing out in another reference and drawing over it like I've done to try and really understand what you're seeing. Having a good basic knowledge of the anatomy will really bring your artwork to the next level. Oftentimes when people go to draw a nose, they'll do two circles, and you go like this, and then put the bridge of the nose like that, maybe even connect in there. But to get a realistic portrait, you need to have a different approach. I would encourage thinking about the nose like a wedge shape. We have the front plane, two side planes, and then the bottom plane which usually goes into shadow, unless the person do it from below. We have 1, 2, 3, 4 and its most simple form, we have four points. You can also see this from the side view, three-quarter. You just miss out on this point here. So one, two is over here, three and four. So it's really helpful to see these planes. I would suggest printing out your reference and maybe drawing right over top of it. Here we have the front plane. Here's the side plane, and the bottom plane, front, side, bottom, and there's a side here we can't see. Now if you squint your eyes, what makes this helpful, you can see this is the lightest part. This gets a little darker. In this part, is in shadow. Having knowledge of the planes will really help you to better understand line and shade. 12. Sketching and Shading the Nose: So you want to start with a sketch and you can look at your angles, and I also like to lightly indicate the planes because that'll be helpful for doing light and shade. I also like to look at the anatomy, and then the reference so I could see the lateral cartilage. So I try to indicate that. Now I've done the whole thing with 3H to give us a good base and blind it with a tissue. Now I'm starting to separate the values of light and shade and I use the planes as the guide. It's very helpful if you squint down during this part, because you can see the separate values more clearly. I like to use cue tips to blend smaller areas and tissues to blend bigger areas. Now here I'm just defining with more dark accents. Now, oftentimes there will be a highlight on the nose and it will be the shape of an exclamation mark and when you put that in, it really makes the things start to look real. Here defining the cast shadow, and nostril, and the other dark parts, and I'd like to think of the alar cartilage as a ball and I like to really softly render that. Again, it's helpful to squint down, [inaudible] see the values and ask yourself, what's the lightest thing in the picture and what's the darkest thing in the picture and then put that in. All the while using the planes to guide you. 13. The Mouth: The top lip will usually be darker than the bottom lip because that plane is facing downwards while the bottom lip's plane is facing upwards. This, unless the person is being lipped from below, this will go into shadow. Also this part won't really get an outline, it'll just fade right into the skin usually. Then if we break down the top lip and the bottom lip, here's what we usually get. In the center here we get a heart shape and then that goes from there to there. There's three parts up here. Then on the bottom you get two tear drop shapes. Now, around the lips, you also have a fullness. There's a fullness here, convex fullness, fullness here and there's one shaped like a W here. Then these are called the nodes and it's a fullness right at the corner of the mouth. These things are hard to see at first but if you really look you can start to see these shapes. You can also see the line of the front plane down the face. This plane will be what's facing forward and these planes will start facing off to the side. But you can follow the line that is made down the face to see this. What you do is you start at the septum, go down the philtrum line, then hit the tip of the cupid's bow down through the fullness of the bottom lip and then down to the corner of the chin. Instead of outlining the lips with the contour line, try drawing them like this. First, draw two dots, these will represent the corners of the mouth. Then connect those dots with a line, this will be the crease where the lips meet. Next, put a tone over the whole thing, this will be the color of the lips. Then define the cupid's bow at the top and the shadow under the bottom lip. Then add a darker tone to the top lip and add details as you please. Doing it this way is a good shorthand, a better shorthand for drawing the lips than to just draw them with a contour line. 14. Drawing the Mouth: Okay, so here we can see that the top lip is slightly darker than the bottom lip, and that will usually be the case. I'm also trying to see the shapes in these lips. See the heart here and two shapes that come off of that. The bottom lip will be like two teardrops. The bottom lip is usually larger than the top lip. Here we're starting to see that w shape. The nose will be right here. You'll see them too well in my reference. But really look you can see them. Then you can also see the front plane of the mouth here, starts here, goes down like this. This is the front plane. Things here will be lighter than they are here or here. This will be lighter than it is here because this picture is being lit from the front. If you get lit from the side, you'll have a different effect. But it's good to be able to separate these planes here. Here I'm measuring the distance between the two corners of the mouth so that I will get an accurate measurement for the length of the lips. I connect to them and I put a tone over the whole thing and find the top of the cupid's bow and the bottom. Now I put a tone of the entire area to give us a good base to get started. I'm defining the chin and making the top lip darker. Squint down you can see the top lip is darker and it usually will be. Try to look for those shapes in the lips. Blending with the tissue will be good for big areas and key tips work well for small areas, as well as the [inaudible] and blending stumps. Sometimes write at the ram of the top lip you'll get a little bit of a highlight. I use my kneaded eraser to take some of that tone out. Now I'm trying to think about that w shape. Because you don't just want to put lips on flat surface. You need to also draw the shapes around the lips for it to look realistic. To fine [inaudible]. Try to think about those nodes. They're hard to see in the reference I picked. But if you really look hard, you can see these things. Make sure the corners of the mouth are soft and won't be a sharp edge at the corners of the mouth. Sometimes it's a good idea to flip your piece upside down. It will help you to see new things. Now I'm trying to see that triangular front plane that starts at the septum and ends at the corners of the chin. 15. The Ear: In a straight on view, the ears will be placed between the brow line and the bottom of the nose. But this will change as the head goes up and down. If the ears are higher than the nose, it means the person is looking downward. If the ears are lower than the nose, it means the person is looking upwards. If you're wondering where to place the ear, it's located at the back of the jaw. Rather than just drawing an ear like this, is definitely better to take a look at the angles. You can usually see six of them, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. In the middle third, you will find the bowl-shaped contra. This is a good place to start. So here we have a very simple drawing of the ear. Here we can see the helix, which goes right into the contra. We have the anti-helix here, and the two legs of the anti-helix. This one is usually sharper and this one is usually rounder and softer. Here you have the tragus. Here is a little goalie and the anti-tragus. Then down here, you have the lobe. Right here, you'll have the scaffold, which will be dark, and the triangular depression here, which is called the triangular fossa, which will also be dark. You can see all of these parts here as well. We have the leg of the helix, the helix which goes into the contra. We have the anti helix with both its legs in here. The scaffold triangular fossa. Here we have the tragus and the anti tragus, and here we have the lobe. So here I'm trying to find the angles. Then remembering that the helix sweeps right into the contra there. It doesn't stop, it goes right into it. I'm drawing the contra, doing some measuring to help me out. There's anti-helix which is Y-shaped. Now I'm starting to put in the dark areas and then I'm going to put a tone of the entire thing to get started on the shading. It's helpful to put in those dark areas to start to define what you're drawing. The dark areas of the contra and the triangular fossa and the scaffold. The ear is a very intricate body part. There's a lot of little parts to it. I think it's definitely good to know all these parts, but I don't think you necessarily have to put them all in an art piece because it might distract from something like the eyes. So if you think your ears are distracting from the eyes or something on the face, I would say give them a little less attention, but it's definitely good to know all these parts. I use the kneaded eraser quite a bit when I drew this here. It's good to pull the lights out. Now the anti-helix will have two legs to it, and the one near the bottom will be sharper and the one at the top will be softer and more round. Definitely helpful to turn your work upside down. You'll see new things that way. There's the ear for you. 16. Drawing the Hair: When you draw hair, you want to look for shapes like this. Big shapes, groups of hair. Try to see hair in clumps. Look for S shapes and triangular shapes in your reference. To draw hair, you have to use quick competent strokes. This is more a piece of hair for the shape of hair we found. What you're going to want to do is go from the top to midway, and then from the bottom to midway. What this will do is where the strokes meet, it will create a highlight, and it'll start to look like hair. You can also blend if you want with your Q-Tip or with a tissue to soften it. You can do this with a piece of wavy hair as well, or a piece of curly hair. Another shape. Again, go from the top to midway, this time following the character of the shape. Then from bottom to midway. Again, where the strokes meet, it will create a highlight. Here's another technique you can try to get realistic hair. Take your pencil and push the lead back in, so it's just the metal, then draw as if you are drawing hair. You won't really see anything, but what you're doing is you're leaving an imprint on the paper. Now you'll be able to see it once you start drawing on top of it. If you look closely, it looks like there's thin hair showing through. This can look really cool. You can get a very realistic look with this technique. Make some of the edges of the hair smoky. The hair shouldn't be outlined, so the edge of the hair shouldn't be defined in all places. Make the edges crisp in some areas and soft and blurry in others. Whether you're drawing a light-haired person or a dark-haired person, you will still have both light and shade. So squint down to see the shapes of value. I did this drawing in charcoal, but you can achieve a similar effect in pencil. Try making the hair smoky and undefined in some places. Also, draw some flyaway hairs because no one's hair is always perfect. You can draw flyaways in with a pencil or you can just erase them out with your eraser pencil. 17. Tips for Success: It's a good idea to get a new perspective. Here's some ways you can do that. Step back from your work. When you are able to see things from a distance, often times you will find that there are some details that are unnecessary that can be taken out to simplify the drawing. Try turning your piece upside-down. When you do this, you're able to see new shapes you may have missed when your image was right-side up. Look at your drawing in the mirror. This will definitely help you see if you drawn things in the correct proportion. Get rid of things in the photo reference that are distracting or don't go with the flow of your composition. You don't have to copy every detail. Feel free to change things, even if it's just the color of something. Here, I changed the model's hair from light to dark, and I added the top of his head simply because that is what I wanted to do with this particular piece. Unless it's a commission where you have to draw something specific, feel free to use your creative, artistic license. The eyes are usually the most important part of a portrait, so make them special by making them the most detailed feature. Let everything else be slightly less detailed in comparison. Don't outline every edge. Instead, vary your edges by making some hard and sharp and other soft and blurry. Sometimes, the best pieces are when the main subject is the light. Be sure the light makes sense and it tells a story. Finally, always remember to practice. It will take time but if you practice, you'll definitely get better with every drawing. I made this piece and then five years later, I made this one. So keep practicing and keep going. You're going to be great.