How to improve your portrait drawing skills!

Let’s face it, this is probably the most intimidating endeavor for budding artists.  We are often asked by friends and family to sketch their portrait, and this is when we question our level of craftsmanship.  We are suddenly inundated with self-doubt wondering what if we are not able to capture the likeness (along with other what if’s) How do we get over it?  How do we build the self-confidence where we are excited at the opportunity of drawing somebody instead of being intimidated?

1) Sketch often and frequently.  Don’t worry about the results, just draw, with time YOU WILL GET BETTER.  Read my blog: Start sketching people, on the go.

2) Draw people with salient features:  This means prominent nose, lips, eyes or lines on the face.  Senior Citizens fit this category quite well.   Even inexperienced artists will get the likeness of old people most of the time.  I have found this to be very encouraging, I can draw any old person in a matter of minutes.  Why is it easy you say?  It is because they have wrinkles and character lines on their face, their nose and lips are pronounced and very distinct, therefore it is easier to compare proportions and sizes.  Young people are harder to draw, their faces have very few lines and generally don’t have features out of the ordinary, therefore it is harder to get a likeness.  If you have been drawing/sketching people for a while with discouraging results, give this a go.  For every 1 young person you draw, draw 4 old people.  You will see your confidence soar and in no time you will be seeking out younger people to draw.

Old gentleman with distinct features

3) Draw from a head bust.  Below is a sketch of John-the-bodyless.  He is a permanent feature in my garage and I often draw him.  Again, John never judges me and I don’t have to share this with anybody.  These portrait drawings are mine to keep.  I take my time drawing the bust,  often comparing proportions and I am noticing that with time I am drawing with ease and my confidence has quadrupled.

Drawing John in Graphite

John drawn in Charcoal









4) The most important rule is rule 1)



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