Portrait Drawing Tips For Beginners

Portrait Drawing Tips For Beginners For 2022

Nothing in this universe works well until you choose the appropriate path, and good portrait-drawing requires the same. You can’t just pick up a pencil, an eraser, a sketch pad, and a piece of paper and start portrait drawing while expecting it to turn out fabulous. Even the most seasoned and accomplished portrait-drawing artists require ideal settings for their work to shine.

If you’re new to drawing from observation, portrait drawing can seem a little daunting. If your drawing is out of proportion or you don’t know how to portray the essential elements, there are a lot of things that can go wrong.

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person wearing gray shirt sketch

Portrait-sketching is a type of observational drawing that concentrates on capturing the human face, its features, tones, and expressions. To accurately reflect a likeness in a portrait-drawing from observation, you must perform several precise tutorials.

A suggested read: Type of Sketching: All about Sketching

Today’s “portrait drawing tips for beginners” blog will provide you with all of the portrait-drawing tutorial information that you require to become a more effective portrait artist. These portrait drawing tips for beginners will help you become a better, more confident, more capable portrait-sketching artist. Whether you want to break into the art world, build your portfolio, start a YouTube lesson channel, or hone your skills, this is the place to be.

Here are the best portrait drawing tips for beginners you need to level up your art game.

Portrait Drawing Tips For Beginners – Get Set Go!

To begin your tutorial or practice, you must first have peace of mind. You must devote 100% of your attention to what you’re doing, and you must have a clear picture in your mind of what you want on the paper. This perfect “portrait drawing tips for beginners” guide is incomplete without this step. 

Analyze your thoughts in light of the artwork’s requirements, then select a location with the least amount of distractions and settle in. Before you begin your artwork/tutorial, go through your Instagram feed or listen to your favorite relaxing artist, but don’t do so to the point that you lose interest in it (Yes, we all know that happens xD).

To get in the mood, light some fragrant candles. Candles are believed to assist you in concentrating all of your attention and energy.

white candle on black holder

Before we get going, go sign up at GoSocial to host your own portrait-drawing art workshop and connect with a lot of like-minded artists. 

So, clear your mind and get in the mood to get started on your tutorial for the masterpiece.

1. Make a strategy and gather all your tools

This entails having a firm grasp on the message you wish to convey through your portrait drawing. To begin your tutorial session, you must first develop a strategy.

black book on brown wooden table

The variety of art resources available can be overwhelming. It is best to begin your portrait-drawing tutorial with the most basic, limited, and inexpensive supplies. However, familiarity with each tool is essential, as is experimenting with alternative supplies or tactics whenever possible to select the best ones and work with them.

Having the right pencils, erasers, sketch pads makes it a lot easier to make a beautiful piece of art.

But wait, did you feel overwhelmed when I said “the right tools”? Don’t worry, I’ve got your back. Below, I’ve listed the best and budget-friendly art supplies that you can use to begin your portrait-drawing👇

A. Portrait-drawing paper/ sketch pad:

Portrait sketching paper comes in various sizes. If you are a beginner, I’d highly recommend you to start your tutorial practice sessions on an A5 sized paper that come with the GSM of 140 or 180. Make sure you document all your tutorial/practice sessions in a single place.

person holding book with sketch

Pro Tip: While practicing, make sure you note down tips/methods that might help you while you are doing your final work.

You can find good sketchbooks for portrait drawing here:

  1. A5 sized Sketchbook with 140 GSM Paper (50 Sheets) 
  2. A5 sized Sketchbook with 180 GSM Paper (50 Sheets)

If you are looking for paper to have your final artwork, that you might want to frame, then go for Brustro’s Sketching and Drawing Papers (A5 with 200 GSM)

Also read: Cheap Watercolor Art Supplies

B. Sketch board:

Having a good sketch board with a smooth and even surface is important. You’re sketching on numerous layers of paper when you draw directly in your sketch-board. This results in a supple sketching surface. 

person holding black marker pen

You make depressions in your paper when you draw on a soft surface. When you shade in your drawing, these grooves in the paper appear as ghostly white lines. If you use a drawing board, the amount of ghostly white lines in your final designs will be reduced. 

If you don’t have a smooth and firm surface it’s a must to invest in a drawing board. You can find Isomars’ Drawing Board with Clip here

C. Sketching Pencils: 

Using Graphite or Charcoal Pencils over regular pencils for your art is crucial. 

brown Stylrite pencil on brown wooden table

The reason why it’s recommended to use Graphite Pencils is that these pencils are less likely to shatter due to the higher quality graphite used. This makes them suitable for precision sketching as well as homogeneous stroke coverage over big surfaces. They are finished with a tiny coating of plastic rather than a wood case to ensure clean and easy handling.

I have looked up everywhere and found the best Graphite Pencil Set of 29 units by Rehtrad that’s best suited for beginners as well as the pro.

brown and black book on black textile

D. Eraser: 

Well, you must be thinking that you can use any clean eraser for portrait drawings which you can find in the nearby stationery store. But wait, remember we are using charcoal/graphite pencils? The regular eraser isn’t strong enough to remove your charcoal mistakes.

There are special charcoal erasers that are used for portrait sketching. You can find a combo of a kneadable eraser with a white highlighter pen easily on Amazon

Source: Google

2. Understand the structure:

The next important step in this portrait drawing tips for beginner guide is to understand the anatomy of the head: parts of the skull and muscles on the face, the curves and dimples, the hairline, and much more.

It’s also important to have lots and lots of practice, and while you practice, you will steadily improve and learn from your mistakes. To improve, we must first recognize and correct our errors. As rookie artists, we may not even be conscious of our mistakes.

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It’s best recommended to start with doodling plus shading and practicing different parts and structures for the portrait and then combining them all to make your art piece.

3. Start with drawing the facial outline:

When starting a portrait sketch, the oval form is the most important mark to make. At this level of a tutorial, always focus on working with a faint light line as you begin. Particularly crucial if there is a lack of confidence in the ability to render a continuous line.

Consider the type of shape you’d like to represent. The variation of human faces is tremendous, whether they are long, thin, plump, or thick. As a result, the character you intend to play must be obvious from the outset.

Here’s how your oval outline is supposed to look like:

Read also: Basics of Sketching- A beginners' Guide

4. Make way for the facial features:

Continuing from the previous step in our tutorial- the oval, in the center of your portrait, draw a centerline. This is an important mark since you’ll need to create a framework of underlying shapes and shades based on the proportions established by the centerline.

A must read: Hand sketching principles and Best Pratices

To find the halfway point, measure the centerline. To find the position, you can either compare visually or apply a ruler/scale. From one end of the oval to the other, draw a horizontal line.

You’ve established the eye level from which vividly detailed eyes can be displayed.

Here is an example of facial structures:

5. The eyes:

man sketching face on white printer paper

A small line across the face depicts the eye-level requirements. When drawing at this stage of the tutorial, a common mistake is to draw with a darker shading of edge. It’s a big mistake because the lovely details won’t be able to be added if all we see are massive construction shading lines.

Subdivide the eye level horizontally into five equal portions sections as the next step.

On the points generated by dividing this line, the shape of the eyes is painted. Make sure the distance between the points is precise and double-check it. The portrait drawing generated will appear inaccurate and out of proportion if one section is longer or more prominent than another.

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6. Completing the eyes – the iris and lashes:

When beginning a line drawing of an eye, it is critical to pay close attention. The form difference between the upper and lower eyelids must be taken into consideration.

It’s worth noting how the upper eyelid covers the iris’s top. The iris is usually drawn too small and squeezed into the white of the eye by most novices. The bottom of the iris sits on or just below the lower eyelid in most cases.

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When designing the glassy surface of the eye, there are two primary components to consider:

  • At the start of the tonal sketch, a sharp gleam of reflected light should be left as unshaded paper. This will become the eye’s brightest element. 
  • The contrast between this reflection and the pupil, the darkest part of the eye, enhances it even more.

The iris has a variety of tones and specks that radiate to the pupil’s center. It is normally darker on the outside and lighter in the center, giving it a translucent appearance.

The final stage of the eyes tutorial in this “portrait drawing tips for beginners guide” is to use a graded tone of shading to represent the firmness of the eye socket and surrounding area.

Don’t forget to apply lashes to the eyes. Draw thin upward strokes starting from the eyelids. Remember that the eyelashes should be thin and little, and the corners of the eyes should be smaller than the center (as shown in the picture).

7. Eyebrows: 

Another aspect that we’d be focusing on in our “portrait drawing tips for beginners” tutorial guide is eyebrows. 

The most typical errors occur is in this area. Making the eyebrow hair too light and adding too many hairs to the top one are the two most prevalent faults.

The darkest part of the face is usually the brows. They should always be darker than the eye and hair to contrast with the skin tones.

Around the eyes, the lightest brows should be about half the color of the skin. To emphasize this, a small amount of the pencil can be put to the brows, but not to the eyelashes unless you’re aiming to highlight them.

Light lines should appear to converge towards the eye on the upper brow. It should be darker in the area between the brows.

Also Read: Anime Drawing Tips - Anime Drawing from Scratch

If required, lightly shading the background for eyebrows and then sketching the strokes is the best recommendation.

8. The nose:

Most people’s noses are longer than their faces. The rest of the details will fall into place if you get the nose and eyes right.

Follow the outline drawn by the eye-level line to make the nose. On the horizontal line above the eye-level line, draw two circles. The height of the top circle should be two to three times that of the lower. The nose will be formed from the bottom circle, which will look lower on the face.

9. Smile: 

There is a minor difference between the smiles, as with any facial emotions. About a quarter of a centimeter below the chin, the lips should be.

Move the pencil lower to the point where the lips would be closed to make them appear larger.

When the lips are closed, the cheeks should be larger. A smile on the lips, on the other hand, should never be any wider than this.

10. Make a drawing of the jawline

The jaw is a bone structure that can define the shape of the head and face in some persons. Some people, for example, will have a rounded jawline, while others will have a more chiseled appearance.

The next step is to design the jawline, which will most likely not be in the same location as the underlying oval construction line that you sketched before. Double-check the dimensions of all of the features drawn at this step for visual reference.

11. The Neck:

Sketching the neck is a simple method and the quickest way to illustrate a mark on the jawline that is level with the mouth. The neck can be represented by the points drawn on both sides of the jaw.

Source: Tumblr

To illustrate the cast shadows made by the head on the neck, you may want to add shading and tone. This will begin to evolve the form of the face and head beyond the two-dimensional linear depiction of the face that exists at this time.

12. Ears:

The next step in our “portrait drawing tips for beginners” is sketching the ear. 

The ear is a complex pattern of fleshy ripples and folds. Its uneven shape must be organized into certain basic forms that are easier to sketch. This linear framework can then be used to progressively build up its complex form with tone.

Divide the ear’s tonal structure into three areas:

  • Leave areas that are primarily light un-shaded.
  • Shading the areas that are predominantly dark with a mid-tone.
  • Shading the areas that are exceptionally dark with a dark tone.
A suggested read: 6 Ways To Make Money As An Artist

Look closely at each shade and tone area and attempt to pick up on the minor differences that exist. To create a tone balance, you may need to darken some of the light regions and lighten some of the dark areas. Shade areas that are exceptionally dark with a dark tone.

13. The gorgeous hairline:

You can begin to explore the features of the head, face, and hairline with the help of a tiny quantity of shade/tone. The head and face are depicted in two dimensions here.

Establish the hairline before beginning to draw the hair, keeping in mind that the top of the oval represents the crown of the head or the skull bone. The imaginary fringe hairline runs halfway between eye level and the ellipse’s top.

The hairline is one aspect of portraiture that can assist you in developing the character of the person you’re trying to portray. To draw the hair, use a long flowing hairline. The areas in between can be filled with shading and toning.

Also read: Face Drawing Tips - How to Draw a Face

Concentrate on the type of mark you’re making as well as the pencil markings you’re making. Sketch fine hairline quickly will aid in the creation of the illusion of a shadedelicate flowing hairline.

14. Begin to add subtly detailed details to the different features:

The “portrait drawing tips for beginners” guide is incomplete without the final features and shadings. A skilled portrait-drawing artist who is experienced in the art of portraiture can swiftly draw the features of the face as discussed before in this piece.

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The following step is to shading and tone the characteristics of the face, neck, cheeks, and jaw, as well as the hairline. Adding detail takes time since you must carefully notice the fine detail of the individual features as you gradually add more complexity to your drawing.

woman in black and white top
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And that’s a wrap!

This ends our journey on the blog “portrait drawing tips for beginners”. Hope you enjoyed it. Don’t forget to share your amazing art pieces with me in the comment section below 🙂 

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