I’ve been working on portraits again recently, after focusing mainly on landscapes for a year or two (I find landscapes to be much less challenging when you’re still getting to grips with how to paint in oils), and what I’ve found is that by far the most important and most difficult aspect of a portrait is the drawing.
No matter how radiant your colours, or how beautiful your brushstrokes, if the drawing isn’t accurate, then the portrait won’t be convincing.
Although I know how to draw, I felt like I was getting a bit out of practice, and so I decided to brush up on my drawing skills, and signed up for Portrait Drawing: The Complete Online Course, from Vitruvian Studio.
This is a fantastic drawing course, in which the instructor, David Jamieson, draws a portrait in graphite (pencil), from start to finish, and explains the process in detail.
The drawing process was familiar to me, but it was useful to go through the steps again, as I haven’t drawn a portrait like this for a long time, and I definitely picked up a few new tips along the way, such as using triangulation to find the edges of the head, and blending the shadow masses with a paintbrush.
If you’re interested in learning to draw a realistic portrait, this course would be a great choice. They also offer a drawing basics course for the complete beginner, and you can optionally pay extra to get your own drawing critiqued by the course instructor at regular intervals. Could be a good last minute Christmas gift!
I’m looking forward to doing more of these pencil drawings, and applying the skills from this course to my paintings too.
Here’s my finished portrait from the course: