Tag: portrait drawing

Step-by-step drawing: 3 graphite pencil techniques that work

Drawing is so fundamental to artist’s skill, we can hardly skip it, working in the realist tradition. Here I’d like to share several basic tools and techniques I use, drawing portraits in graphite pencil. I must note that these techniques are applicable to any kind of pencil/charcoal drawing, and these steps and tools are universal across any subject you pick to draw. In the end of this post I share my inspiration behind the drawing and a short video illustrating the steps. Let’s dive in!

#1 Use paper stumps with care

step by step drawing

I begin shading the image by placing the darkest darks on paper. You can compare this method to drawing from shadows to light. Here I draw on the Strathmore Bristol smooth paper that’s super smooth and thick. Because it accepts a limited number of layers, I need to be more mindful how dark I’ve got to go in the first step of shading. (Strathmore drawing paper, medium has a slight texture that’s more forgiving for general drawing techniques in pencil and colored pencil because it accepts more layers).

Paper stumps help artists blend the graphite and charcoal.

Once I’m done massing out the shapes in a soft, 4B graphite pencil, I use the blending stumps to blend large areas, such as the background and the hair. I’m mindful of the pencil pressure as well as of the stroke direction. It’s important to blend in the “right” direction and not to overwork the surface.

Blending with paper stumps unifies the surface, blending everything to a medium gray tone. Therefore, I strengthen the darkest areas immediately after that. Various sizes of paper stumps give me the precision I need blending the graphite.

Never use these paper stumps for colored pencil work! They will ruin the surface.

#2 Use kneaded eraser and the Tombow Mono Zero eraser

how to draw people

In the second step, I usually pull out the highlights with the kneaded eraser. Any brand of kneaded eraser works.  This type of eraser has dual benefit of lifting out the pigment without any residue and creating soft edges around the highlights, which look natural and give a realistic effect of soft light.

What’s to lift out? The lightest lights you see in your picture. I often lift out a bit more than I need to come back to it with finer shading over the lightest parts of my image to create subtle tonal transitions.

General’s kneaded eraser

Tombow Mono zero eraser is a great eraser that lifts out tiny details, such as thin strands of hair or tiny highlights in the pearls. This eraser also works great in colored pencil drawings when I try to erase hard to reach, very small areas in my work. I buy these on Amazon, and it takes about a month to arrive home from Japan! So if you decide to give it a try, order two or three at once, you won’t regret it!

Tombow eraser

#3 Shade in graphite in layers, erase and repeat

Kat with a shell, graphite pencil on paper, 9×12 inches

This step consists of several steps that’s simply a repetition of my actions. I layer the graphite by erasing, enhancing the dark values, and refining details. I develop my picture further with every new layer.

I work on subtle transitions with harder pencils, especially if it’s a skin tone. I usually shade with 2-4H gently transitioning from mid. tone to light. While I’m doing this, I pay attention to values to turn the form.

 

how to draw people
Drawing detail

Value scale

Every color has its own value scale going from the darkest dark to white. Because some colors are darker than the others naturally, they have a wider value range as opposed to the light colors. (Think of ultramarine as a dark color and yellow as a light one). Why do you need to know that?
You control your values at all times as you draw or paint to have a range of tones that makes your image look three-dimensional. Usually, students complete their drawing with a very limited range of tones. That’s why everything looks “just grey” or “too flat.”
Convert your color image into a black-and-white picture on your computer, and you’ll understand how dark the shadows should be, or how light your lights really are. Then step back and compare your drawing to that picture.

Drawing detail: hands with a shell

I finish working on my piece with a final fixative, spraying my drawing outdoors. I strongly recommend using professional-grade varnish, like the Grumbacher matte final fixative for dry media. It gives a very nice and even finish to my artwork that’s impossible to achieve with cheaper brands like Krylon.

Final fixative for dry media

My inspiration

Sandro Botticelli, The birth of Venus
Sandro Botticelli, The birth of Venus, 1486, Uffizi gallery, Florence

My pictorial inspiration for my drawing comes from the Italian Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli, The Birth of Venus. His shallow treatment of background space and the romantic figure of Venus coming out of the sea influenced me to create my goddess of the ocean. I worked on clothing and poses with a model to complete a fun photo shoot on the beach in Naples, Florida. The completed drawing is a study that I will later take to my oil painting.

You can read about the Botticelli’s artwork here.

Video

Here you’ll find a 40-sec. video as a summary of the step-by-step drawing described above.

 

How often do you draw in pencil? What’s you creative challenge? Let me know what you’d like to learn from me.

Share your thoughts in a contact form below!

Check out the step-by-step demonstrations here.
Join the art student club to receive a free drawing demonstration! Click here: http://eepurl.com/bIJlGf

how to draw a portrait in colored pencil

How to draw a person in colored pencil step by step

Here you’ll find the information how to draw a person in colored pencil step by step. Over the years I’ve drawn various subjects, but drawing people is becoming my passion. I love to draw stories and emotions though the human form. Before we start, please consider the following drawing tips that will help you find, or set up the subject for your project.

Before you start drawing

  • Pick the person to draw that will keep you interested and motivated to take your artwork to the finish line.
  • Always consider and study the lighting on your model. Most colored pencil artists work from pictures. Learn to take good pictures as your reference material. To begin you may look at portrait photography online to understand how the light changes the form.
  • Keep track of some professional artists working in the field, and study their artwork for composition, design, and the use of a color.
  • If you just start out pick the image with a face looking straight at you. Eliminate the head’s rotation for now that complicates things.

Step by step demonstration

I had a photo shoot with my model, positioning her under a single light to give me definite shadows.

In this demonstration I use a very light grey, smooth, printmaking paper, the surface of which is similar to Stonehenge paper pad. I also draw with the Prismacolor Premier colored pencils and Luminance. I use Gamsol solvent with a synthetic brush and Caran d’Ache full blender for blending.

how to draw a person step by step

 

  1. I work on the outline of my drawing on a sketch paper, and then transfer it to my high-quality drawing paper. It’s crucial to get the anatomy right at this step. Therefore I take my time and check for mistakes by looking at my drawing in the mirror. I keep fixing the outlines until the portrait looks good to me. Next I create the underpainting by working from dark to light in one dominant color that I see in my photo. Here I use dark brown to complete the initial shading. I focus on shadows only to block them in with the consistency needed to develop a sense of light and shade.
  2. In the second step I carefully introduce the second color and slightly overlap it over the first one to create softer transition into the light.
  3. In the third step I focus on the face and add warmer colors (yellows and pinks) in the middle tones.
  4. In this step I throw the same colors I’ve used in the face into her neck, arms and even hair. This is important to do for color unity, so that everything ties together visually. This is the main reason why I work from general to specific, and don’t draw one area from start to finish, ignoring the rest of the picture.
  5. I introduce the blues and lilacs into her shirt that creates a play between the warm skin tones and cool hues of the clothing. As usual I work from dark to light, so I shade the darkest folds first, then add the middle tones and finish up with the lights. Please see below how I approach drawing highlights on colored paper.
  6. In my last step I work on the background that compliments my subject. Here I’ve experimented quite a bit. I added silver acrylic paint to paint the seahorses, so they change their color slightly, depending on the viewer’s position to the drawing. I din’t use any Gamsol on the face because it would make the darks appear too harsh. I fixed the drawing with a final fixative for dry media, spraying it twice outside.

Join the art student club to receive a free demonstration! Click here: http://eepurl.com/bIJlGf

 

Blending & background:

Blending

There are two basic colored pencil blending techniques. One requires blending with a solvent and another with a colorless blender that looks like a pencil. Sometimes one technique is better than the other. While the solvent dissolves the pigment and moves it around fast, making the color look darker and blended, some colors may look too harsh after the application. The pencil full blender ( I recommend the one by Caran d’Ache) blends all the colors equally, but the process is very time-consuming especially if you work large, and requires a very heavy pencil application to achieve even blending.

Background

Background is important. Never draw your subject without considering the color and value of the background behind it as the background determines contrast and edges. You must have enough color on the page to do the blending with Gamsol. Otherwise, there is not enough pigment to dissolve the colors. Be conservative in your application, and never allow your solvent to run like water. Use a small brush to have a controlled application. Let the first layer dry completely.

In my drawing I painted the seahorses with the acrylic paint after the blending. You need to have a good brush for this that keeps a fine point. I didn’t use any water to spread the paint around, but used it for cleaning up the brush periodically, because the acrylic paints dry super fast.

In my second layer I shaded with the same colors with a much heavier pencil pressure.

In my third layer I added light grays and blues to make softer transitions and to achieve a different effect of “soft fuzziness”. I also shaded with grays to neutralize the brightness of the colors so that the background doesn’t “compete” with the figure.

Drawing of white fabric and highlights:

I use pure white colored pencil only over some previously applied color underneath it, reason being white by itself is a cool, dull color that needs a punch. I shade with white with the heaviest pencil pressure over the previously applied light color. I consider the color temperature of the highlight (warm or cool) as well.

What tutorial would you like to see on my website? Post your comments below. 🙂

Listening to the voice within, 15×20 inches, lightfast colored pencils on paper

“Finding the voice within” is the artwork about understanding and trusting yourself to navigate in this world. It’s inspired by the healing energy and colors of the ocean that’s symbolized in the female form.

 

These are some of the tutorials available for download. They teach the basics of color theory, layering and blending in colored pencil.

 

 

 

 

 

how to draw a portrait in colored pencil

Portrait drawing in colored pencil: as love grows within

 

 

In this post I show my basic process of drawing a portrait. While I prefer painting from life, a lot of times it’s not possible. So, I take pictures of a model and then draw from my monitor or a picture. I often add additional elements to my drawing that are not photographed. Here you see me place orchids to the right. Usually, I create drawings as my studies. Some of them become paintings in the future.

Colored Pencil Drawing step-by-step:

Colored Pencil Drawing step-by-step
Step 1

how to draw a portrait

In the beginning I focus on blocking in the shadows, using dark brown and sienna brown.

 

Join the art student club to receive a free demonstration! Click here: http://eepurl.com/bIJlGf
how to draw a portrait
Step 2

Here I add color for the middle tones.

how to draw a portrait
detail

Tip: In my experience, drawing larger is actually faster than drawing small. Since colored pencil is a very slow medium, we tend to draw small. But I figured that I spent more time shading the 9×12″ pieces, had less detail and experienced more problems working small. So I increased the size of this drawing to 15″ x 22″ and it made a big difference to me. I didn’t have to force and cramp every detail in there, yet it looks complete.

 As love grows within, 15x22" lightfast prismacolors and luminance on printmaking paper
As love grows within, 14×20 inches, lightfast colored pencils on paper

About this artwork

Love is  a complex feeling that begins with self-love and self-care. Love moves and helps us grow. Sometimes it’s hard to find love:  it can be as elusive and fragile as these beautiful orchids, but thus we are blessed to see the beautiful things in daring places where others may see nothing at all.

Share my post on your favorite social media platform today!

Tutorials:

On my website you can find several step-by-step colored pencil demonstrations and art books available in a digital and print format. 

 

colored pencil drawings

The power of story-telling in colored pencil art

What is art for you? What pulls you in to look at paintings? Is it the beauty that we see? The color? or an idea? A memory or emotion? It’s all of the above for me.

How I create a story:

  • Step 1

Stories come to me as an emotional response to my surroundings and people I encounter. Creating a painting is falling in love with the idea, a visual element, and even the light shaping the form. I see a lot of beauty in people’s faces even when they may appear ordinary to the outside world. Every person has that special, beautiful side to him or her that I so like to capture!

I usually draw or paint from my pictures, but sometimes I brake the rules and follow my aesthetic and perception, working from my  photographs. When I shoot portraits, I aim to tap into a special place, to open the character of a person, to see a novel side of him or her.

I create stories around the models, and not the other way around. Therefore, it’s vital for me to get the “right expression” or the “right pose” before I could proceed with the design of my artwork. It’s shooting blind at times with plenty of trial and error experiences. After the general edit of my pictures, I pick one or two images to work from.

when-she-sails-11x14-colored-pencil-sm-veronica-winters-colored-pencil
When she sails, 15×20 inches, lightfast colored pencils on paper, private collection

In this drawing the model is an avid lover of boats and travel. I created a nautical background here to highlight the man’s romance with the  sea.

  • Step 2

Next I focus on the overall theme and color of a piece. Blues and greens tend to be calm and soothing, while the reds and yellows give an upbeat vibe. Every color carries its own significance to me and affects the perception of my subject. Thus I almost never leave the background to color last. And even if I do, I know what’s supposed to be there. The idea is set in the beginning and I often draw the background simultaneously with my subject. It’s much easier to maintain the color unity and the overall  movement in the piece this way.

nicaraguan-boy-sm-veronica-winters-colored-pencil
Nicaraguan boy, 9×12 inches, lightfast colored pencils on uart paper

This is a very special drawing for me. I took a picture of the boy in Nicaragua. He wore shabby clothes and I didn’t speak English. Yet, he was eager to pose for me as soon as he saw my Nikon aiming at him. The expression in his eyes is infinite.

  • Step 3

I find the artwork with the narrative to be the most fulfilling to me. It lets me create a world  that may exist although it doesn’t. The power of storytelling is more evident in my oil paintings where I let the figures keep their secrets and give the visual enjoyment to people looking at my work.

Some technical tips drawing in colored pencil:

  • It’s vital to draw on smooth paper. I burned out drawing on textured paper every time i tried it. While Bristol smooth paper might be too smooth for you, I find the Stonehenge papers to be exceptional in terms of layering, smoothness, and color choices.
  • Don’t economize on professional colored pencils. If you still draw with crayola, don’t expect the results you see in other students’ work.  🙂 Some professional brands include: the Prismacolor premier, Pablo, and the top of the line is Luminance.
  • If you are the very beginner in drawing, I strongly suggest to draw objects from life using graphite pencils. Draw one object from different points of view and under various lighting conditions. Adding color is like stepping up a notch or two. So if you are not that good drawing shapes correctly, the colored pencils is not going to fix it for you. A few of my art instruction books have demos done in graphite and then progress to colored pencil drawing. You can check them out here: http://www.veronicasart.com/Books.shtml , or find the book descriptions right here in my blog, by doing a title search.
  • Join a few Facebook groups to inspire and be inspired! Sharing helps to get good feedback, if you ask for it.
  • Have fun with it!!!!!!

How I draw in colored pencil step-by-step:

This demonstration gives you an idea how I draw in colored pencil.

  • Step 1-3

I work out the outlines on a sketch paper and then transfer the lines using the transfer paper. If it’s a portrait, I always begin drawing the eyes first. Nothing works, if the eyes don’t.

  • Step 4

I mass out the hair with the darkest color I see in the model. I don’t look at individual strands, rather focus on major shapes and masses.

  • Step 5

I draw the shadows in the face.

  • Step 6

I work on subtle shifts in color and value in the face. This is not easy to achieve, believe it or not. The trick is to overlap colors, instead of layering colors next to each other.

  • Step 7

I add color to the hair and strengthen the highlights.

  • Step 8

I add flowers as my background using the same color scheme I have in the model. For outlines of the flowers I use gold metallic pencil. I didn’t draw the flowers first because I knew I’d smudge these light colors while drawing the hair.

I always spray my drawings with a final fixative to protect them from the UV rays and moisture.

how to draw

My drawing methods shown on YouTube:

Shading: one mistake every beginner makes https://youtu.be/GaDyhypmWwY

The colored pencil demo of drawing a cherry: https://youtu.be/onvAG_TpV8o

Still life drawing:  https://youtu.be/rP3pUQszhKU