Portrait Drawing

Portrait drawing! What can I say, everyone wants to learn to draw people!

While people are fascinating subjects, drawing them can be very intimidating both for the beginner and the more advanced student.

And why not? It is very true that there is much to learn in order to draw a face that is not wonky-looking.

And that is saying nothing about using portraiture to express an emotion, or reveal something about the sitter to the audience.

There is so much more to portraiture than just being able to draw a technically accurate face. But, one step at a time. Before you delve into the many possibilities of portraiture, you need to have a good understanding of value, light and form, how to construct a head and its features, and much more.

Everything that you have ever learned about drawing comes together to draw an accurate face and figure. They are timeless subjects that we are all interested in.

Portrait drawing by John William Waterhouse

There is no one way to draw a head (or anything, for that matter!). This is because no two drawing scenarios are ever exactly the same, so there can be no “formula” for drawing. However, there are plenty of strategies to draw heads. You may choose to rely on head construction to block-in your portrait. Or maybe you see shapes particularly well, and will rely on those.

Interestingly, whatever you feel is the most comfortable and effective drawing strategy for you at the moment, I can guarantee that your drawing will improve immensely if you also study the method that is most challenging for you.


Because if you learn various strategies, you will be able to combine them to solve whatever drawing “problem” you have before you, and getting “stuck” will become a thing of the past.

With the free drawing tutorials and lectures that are coming soon to this page, I will do my best to expose you to various head drawing strategies.

Portrait Drawing Tutorials and Articles

Portrait Drawing Tutorial, Page 1
Blocking in the Portrait

This page is all about creating the block-in: a detailed line drawing of the face that maps out the information you need to complete your drawing.

Learn about drawing concepts such as negative shapes and rhythms, which will help you draw a more accurate, yet organic-looking portrait.

Portrait Drawing Tutorial, Page 2
Shading the Portrait

On this second page of the tutorial, I pick up where I left off with my completed block-in and begin applying tone to my drawing.

Learn how to render the portrait: from massing in the general shapes of the face to shading the more detailed features of the face.

How to Draw Hair:
A Step by Step Tutorial

Learn how to simplify such a complicated subject as hair, draw hair that looks like your model's without obsessing over every detail, draw realistic and dimensional locks, and much more in this step by step tutorial!

5 Proportions of the Face
to Use During Your Next Drawing

Each person's individual proportions make them look distinctly like themselves. This can create quite the challenge for us when drawing!

Here are five proportions to pay attention to in order to draw a better likeness of your sitter.

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