How To Start Your Pencil Portrait Drawing

In this pencil drawing lesson I will show you in 4 steps how to start and finish your portrait.

Before you start drawing you have to do some measurements first. If you didn’t read the previous article about how to use the proportions correctly, I recommend you to go back now and read it first.

So many times I have wondered, what is the best way to start a pencil portrait? What should I put first on paper? I’ve seen so many videos on YouTube that tells you that is better to start with a circle. Well, I don’t disagree with this, it’s a great way to start drawing, but the thing is that is not working all the time, because it depends on the human particularities. After all we are all unique.

First step:

  • Choose your paper and then think about where will be the frame. So the best thing is to trace some lines just to be sure that your drawing will gonna look great with and without frame.
  • Put some basic shapes on the paper. Just to make an idea of how it will look like.
  • Use the proportions to create the basic shape of the face. Tip: use a hard pencil (H – 8H) so you could erase the lines more easily if you need to.

Second step:

  • Keep using the hard pencil and add some highlights but don’t add details yet.
  • Try to make an idea of where the hair will be, you can even lightly draw the outlines.
  • Choose a background and draw it lightly.

Third step:

  • Now that you know how it will look like, you can start adding some details. Tip: use mechanical pencils for small details
  • Concentrate on the eyebrows, eyes, nose, and lips. Tip: The key for a great drawing is the eyes. If you manage to draw properly the eyes, they will capture your attention. Be sure to put also a great smile! So that the portrait will create you a positive feeling. Remember: feeling is all that matters in creating great art.
  • Draw the hair. Tip: draw individual lines in the direction of the hair growth, and keep in your mind also the action of gravity.
  • Draw the background. Tip: make sure is a simple background, because you want the portrait to capture attention instead of background.

Fourth step:

  • Sign your artwork and frame it.
  • Show it to your friends 🙂

How did you used to start your drawings?

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