Portrait and painting are an ageless form of art. For some, this project comes naturally with very little difficulty. However, for the rest of us, we can hit the nail on the head with the basic structure; still completely missed the reality of the portrait when creating features. Aggravating as it may be, there is hope!
If you draw or paint from a photo, you may need to simply look at it from a different angle to force yourself to really notice the shape and design of the elements. Try the following tips the next time you find yourself in a bit of a rut:
As mentioned earlier, looking at the photo differently will more attract your attention to the features. First, take a piece of separate drawing paper and a sketch pencil. You will completely ignore the color for the moment and focus only on the depth and shape of the facial features.
Park yourself comfortably at a table and make sure to have a proper light source that does not shine directly on the picture, rather than an angle on either side. This will help you highlight those features and areas you need to focus on to bring your portrait to life. Once you are comfortably installed, you will take the picture you draw and turn it upside down. It may seem strange to you. However, you will be surprised at how much the difference will turn the photo upside down!
Before you start drawing, take a minute to really look at the features and their location. What shape are the eyes? Are they oval, square? Are they uniform in shape, or does each eye have its own "personality"? Focus on the shape of the face; is it oval, square, triangular, etc.? Pay attention to the tilt of the head. Take your sketch pencil and measure the features and their relationship with the location of the other feathers. If you look at a straight portrait without tilt, a good rule of thumb is that the length of an eye is equal to the gap between the two eyes and also the distance between the outer corner of the eye and the edge of the face.
Now that you have studied the structure of the face, the placement of features, and the relationship of other features, start by simply drawing the general structure of the face. Once you have the basic outline of the face, sketch out the basic shape of the features in their specific location. Once you have done these two steps, sit down for a moment and consider what you have accomplished. Since the eyes are the main focus of everyone, this is the area on which you will work first. You will draw in the details, including the shading. Work your way from the eyes once you finish them. Go to eyebrows or nose and keep going until you're done.
When you have finished your work, return the photo and your portrait. What does it look like? Some of you may find that you have done better; others may find that it looks "ok". The purpose of this exercise is to take a moment and look at the project from a different point of view. You will have more practice and you will have a better understanding of the face. When you feel that you are more comfortable, try again at the last portrait. You may find that you have some kind of "writing block" when you draw or paint, simply pausing and moving away from the project all together. Go somewhere that you will be able to easily see the portrait and focus on another task for a few minutes. If you try to keep working, you will become more frustrated and more than likely make hasty additions that will aggravate the frustrations. Have fun with the project and do not stress yourself. Take your time and enjoy your project.
As mentioned earlier, it is a good idea to keep in mind that you need an appropriate light source when painting or drawing. It can make a difference in immunity, especially when working on a portrait. When your subject is not properly lit, you will probably miss important details that will make all the difference in your project. For example, The Daylight PROFESSIONAL ARTISTS Lamp is a great idea to consider. This innovative light source combines functionality and style, combining the latest technology of daylight simulation with the grace of a contemporary accent piece.
Try this trick for your portraits and keep in mind that you need a light source that will do justice to your work.