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.

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Drawing the Human Head

Concentrate first on seeing and drawing basic planes of dark and light; then proceed to smaller shapes and details. (An excerpt from Drawing Expressive Portraits) by Paul Leveille Drawing the human head correctly takes practice, but I never consider it work. To me, people are the most fascinating subjects to study and to draw. There’s...

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Drawing the Nose

Focus on the Features: The Nose Understanding the basic structures of the various facial features goes a long way in achieving a realistic depiction. (An excerpt from Drawing Expressive Portraits) By Paul Leveille   The features are what make human faces so interesting. Although most features are constructed similarly from person to person, each...

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How to Draw Faces: Drawing the Ears

Focus on Facial Features: Drawing The Ears Understanding the basic structures of the various facial features goes a long way in achieving a realistic depiction. By Paul Leveille     The features are what make human faces so interesting. Although most features are constructed similarly from person to person, each individual still exhibits subtle and...

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Everyday People: Jose Apaza Watercolor Figures

Peruvian-born artist José Apaza takes a simple, straightforward approach to his watercolor figures and portraits. He cites regular people, not artists, as his primary creative influence. View some of these humble people in this watercolor gallery.

Gesture drawing poses | Jon deMartin, ArtistsNetwork.com

Improve Your Figure—With Gesture Drawings

The practice of gesture drawing is an important part of understanding the figure and its ability to create interesting shapes from limitless motions. Jon deMartin, author of Drawing Atelier: The Figure, offers guidance on this in the following excerpt. Gesture Drawing: Finding the Gesture and Orienting Forms by Jon deMartin The figure’s line of...

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Exhibition of the Month: Bay Area Figurative Drawings

One of the most important schools of 20th-century American figure drawing occurred in Northern California’s Bay Area in the 1950s and 1960s, and a new exhibition at the Crocker Art Museum, in Sacramento, looks at the accomplished figurative drawings of these artists. “Back to Life: Bay Area Figurative Drawings” explores 40 works on paper by...

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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.