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Drawing Lesson 9, Part 1 – How to Draw a Girl

How to Draw a Girl – Sketching a portrait

Video Lesson Description

In this video lesson, you will discover how to draw a girl by making a copy of a girl’s portrait after the Leonardo da Vinci sketch.

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How to Draw a Girl – First steps

We begin the portrait with the central line of girl’s face. This is a virtual line that goes from the top-middle of the forehead, down through the nose and middle of the mouth and ends at the middle-bottom of the chin. Another important line goes at the girl’s eye level. I also mark the line of the mouth and the line at the base of the girl’s nose.


How to Draw a Girl
In this “How to Draw a Girl” video lesson you will discover how Golden proportions are applied to a human face. The topic of golden mean or golden ratio is fully described in the Drawing Academy video lesson.

At the beginning of the “How to Draw a Girl” the girl’s head outline is indicated with just a few lines. I check the proportions of Leonardo’s sketch, such as the ratio between the height of the head to its width. This helps to portray a recognizable copy.

How to Draw a Girl – Facial features and proportions


How to Draw a Girl - Drawing Academy Video Lesson
The girl has quite a thin, long neck, which was probably done intentionally by the Great Master to portray a stylized, ideal female portrait.

The girl’s eyes are quite big. It had been done by the Master with the purpose of idealizing this female portrait. The girl gazes directly on the viewer.

You may refer to the Drawing Academy’s video lesson dedicated to the subject of how to draw eyes to refresh your knowledge on this topic.

How to Draw a Girl – Drawing eyes

Just to remind you of some key points on drawing eyes:

• The distance between the eyes is equal to the length of the eye.
• The iris is usually partially covered by the upper eyelid and has a small gap between its lower outline and the lower eyelid.
• When drawing an eye, remember that eyelids have thickness, which need to be depicted.
• The upper and lower eyelids are not symmetrical.
• The upmost point of the upper eyelid’s inner outline is about one-third from the inner corner of the eye.
• The lowest point of the lower eyelid’s inner outline is one-third from the outer corner of the eye.

The girl’s mouth is quite small. It was also done intentionally to beatify the portrait.

The topic of how to draw a mouth is also covered in depth in the dedicated video lesson in the Drawing Academy course.

The furthest part of the mouth is foreshortened in perspective and looks smaller than the other part, which is closer to the viewer.

The girl’s hair is sketched out with few lines. Leonardo wanted to attract the viewers’ attention to the girl’s face and therefore, all secondary areas are done quite sketchy with less attention to details.

How to Draw a Girl – Rendering shades

The original sketch by Leonardo was done in silverpoint. For this fast copy I am using a graphite pencil. If you want to know more about metal-point techniques, I have presented several video lessons on this topic.

I am lifting the pencil off the paper’s surface at the end of each stroke. The same method was used by the Great Master as it is now clearly visible on his drawing.

Making copies of the Old Masters’ artwork is a perfect way to learn from the great artists. I strongly recommend you make copies as part of your drawing practice. In the Drawing Academy, I have presented a video of my sketchbooks filled with copies of the portraits of the Great Masters. Most of those copies I have done in the National Gallery, London.

I strongly believe that by copying the Great Masters, you will come closer to understanding their drawing techniques. Learning the craft of drawing via art reproduction was the usual practice for art apprentices in previous centuries.

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