Tutorial : Why is drawing a face such a challenge ?


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Well, you all would have done your experiments with painting and drawing in your childhood. I have seen a lot of people stating "I used to draw and I used to draw well". "Used to" is the problem. Our lives put us through different situations, circumstantial pressures and financial problems. In our steady struggle to cope up with the financial constraint we have, we tightly distribute our time to the activities that has the potential to yield us money and money only. Luckily I chose to invest my time in art and to commercialize my talent. That gave me a lot of peace but I can't say I did well financially then, unlike now. The efforts that I have put towards my flair then is slowly yielding me results now.


If you think face drawing is difficult, of course it is, but what is'nt ? But if you draw a face and it looks like a face, then for a beginner you should consider yourself successful. If any one of the features resembles the one in your reference picture I would say you are on the right path.

Let us see how to go about a drawing

1. The Structure of the face


Nothing is as important as the shape of the face. You would have heard people around you saying "she has an oval face, lengthy forehead so she is good to be a model". How do they arrive at a conclusion that the face is oval? We all have an artist in us. You may be right about the shape of the face. Even if you are wrong about it, just go for it. Trust your instincts. I think she has a oval face.

2. Placement of features


Every vertical measurement of a feature is important in a portrait. But how do I do that, how do I measure without touching the person sitting in front of me, well it comes only in practice. You yourself would have made comments about the features of celebrities like she has a such a big nose, what a wide mouth??, I don't like her for that fact that she has inexpressive eyes. These maybe arrogant comments in layman terms, but when it comes to portrait drawing this is the judgement we rely on to place our features. In this case, it is not offensive to comment that she has a big forehead. Of course, she does have a big forehead but that is what completes her face. That is why she is one of the best models. To me it always felt like a big forehead completes the face perfectly.

3. The first layer of value for our reference


I select a midtone, a first layer of reference with which I build the rest of the layers. Skin is a beautiful creation. It has blood, flesh and several veins underneath. It has the capacity to reflect any light under which it is placed. As I have always been saying, a perfect painting is a good amount of balance between the darkest value and the highlight. The same formula applied for the portrait drawing as well. I am trying to darken wherever required, but I would like to go step by step so I do not ruin it.

4. Adding values & perfecting my hair


As we draw a portrait, as we keep adding values, the portrait gets closer to your subject. You may lose it if you overdo it. So keep it slow. When you keep it slow, you can gradually go back to your previous step until which your portrait looked like your character. Hair is an essential part that has the capacity to get your portrait drawing 30 - 40% close to your subject. When it comes to hair, select a midtone and keep adding values wherever required. Remember that hair is a pattern which has a lot of randomness and there is a pattern in the randomness of hair. Try to capture it... How would you capture it? If you go strand by strand ? No.... Create the randomness using kneading eraser.

5. The power of highlight


A portrait gets life only with the vast variety of highlights you place. A kind of highlight that needs to merge totally with the skin and another kind of highlight that stands out of the skin. I would like to call the highlight that stands out as reflection of light. It is nothing but the reflection of light from the light source that falls on our subject. Skin has the capacity to reflect light and it can do it very well, believe you.

Finished version


So if you guys were all artists once, lost touch and you are wondering where to start, I guess this article would be helpful to you. The very intent of this article is to keep you inspired so you can start practising art, again!


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