You’re inspired, your pencil is sharp and your sketchbook page is blank. You’re ready to draw. It’s tempting to want to jump right in and get your imagery onto the paper, but you have to know where to start. When drawing a person’s face, for example, it’s much easier to break the task down into smaller parts—the eye, the cheek, etc.—and then allow the pieces to come together into the final portrait.
But it’s not just the individual features that express an individual. Accessories such as hats, sunglasses and costuming are just as important as the arch of your subject’s eyebrows and the shape of his or her eyes. Knowing how to draw (step by step) each of these elements will make your artistic journey easier.
Authors Mark and Mary Willenbrink are experts at not only drawing, but also at teaching drawing for beginners. In this free excerpt from their book, Drawing Portraits for the Absolute Beginner, they share seven “mini” drawing lessons just for you.
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Drawing Tips From the Authors
“Drawing portraits offers the artist a unique opportunity to observe people. Every person is unique with his or her own special features and personality. Portrait art captures the personality of the subject through the eyes of the artist. With simple tools and basic principles, this book will help you to develop your drawing skills. We will use some fun drawing lessons, tricks and techniques to help you learn how to draw portraits, even if you are an absolute beginner. Everyone is an artist, including you, so get ready to have fun!” — Mark and Mary Willenbrink
Drawing For Beginners
“Each portrait includes unique features that combine to express the individuality of a person,” the Willenbrinks write. “A portrait is easier to draw when you break it down into separate facial features. Instead of looking at the face as a whole, first map out the placement of the facial features and then concentrate on them individually.”
Drawing Basics: Features
The first set of these step-by-step drawing lessons for beginners goes over specific features of the human face; after you’ve learned how to draw an eye, nose, mouth and ear, you’ll move on to a drawing tutorial that focuses on the sheen of a boy’s straight hair and includes his facial features as well. Next, you’ll learn how costumes and accessories also add to your subject’s personality (tip: you can always consider adding jewelry or props to your drawing).
In addition to the drawing exercises of specific facial features, there are dozens of basic drawings that you can refer to as you practice sketching, including people of different ethnicities, ages and genders. The best part? Once you review these free drawing lessons, you’ll be able to apply the skills you’ve learned to draw your own subjects—family, friends, models or self-portraits. Some of the basic drawing concepts included in this free download are: the use of highlights and shadows, proper proportion and various pencil strokes, all to create realistic portraits.
Step-by-Step Drawings Also Includes Drawing Lessons on:
- How to Draw an Eye: Draw a young man’s eye, with a full eyebrow and few wrinkles.
- How to Draw a Nose: Draw an older man’s nose, which is characteristically long and large.
- How to Draw a Mouth: Draw a woman’s mouth that indicates youth and beauty with full lips and white teeth.
- How to Draw an Ear: Draw a middle-aged male’s ear (specifically, the author’s!).
- How to Draw Hair: Draw a male teen with straight hair that has sheen and is lying flat.
- How to Draw Hands: Draw a man’s hand that is held up to his mouth, as if he’s talking under his breath.
- How to Draw Costumes and Accessories: Draw an individual with a baseball cap, and one who’s wearing eyeglasses.
Plus, along with this free download of Step-by-Step Drawings, you’ll receive the free Artists Network newsletter with inspiration for painting with watercolor, oil, pastel, acrylic, colored pencil and more!