Portrait & Figurative Art: How to Draw or Paint People & Figures

Mastering figurative art is no small feat, particularly when it comes to portrait art. Rendering the human form, in any medium, requires careful attention to proportions, scale, and familiarity with anatomy. Here we delve into must-know information on painting portraits, including how to draw people and how to draw portraits to moving beyond a sense of likeness to capture a figure’s essence.

janelewis_CarnivalCostume-II-pastel

An Imaginary Realm | The Inventive Pastels of Jane Lewis

"The figures in Jane Lewis’ paintings," writes John Parks, "look out at us from a becalmed, strange and curiously timeless world. Rendered impeccably in subtly shifting tones and hues, the paintings present characters dressed in improbable costumes that seem to belong to a bygone, classical age.

Costa Vavagiakis

Oil Palettes for Landscapes and Figures

I experiment extensively with different brands of pigments in order to find the properties of each color that best suit my techniques. Because I paint in many layers, I have to be concerned with the drying properties of each pigment. I work with faster-drying colors in the beginning and then slower-drying ones for the...

cropped portrait-drawing-by-Holly-Siniscal

Drawings With Depth

Striking. Powerful. Thought-provoking. As I browsed through the seventh edition of Strokes of Genius: The Best of Drawing, I found myself pausing on every page to take it all in--the details, the colors and the depth of the drawings.

Step 7

Cesar Santos on Classical Oil Portraits

Once the proportions look good, I start adding more information. I find the eye sockets, the nose and the rest of the features. My advice: If you have to put some value down to see proportion, better do it, but don’t fall into shading or rendering. Remember, this stage is to facilitate the painting’s...