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How to draw portraits without photos?

How to draw portraits without photos?

Question from Daniele Casini

“How can you learn drawing portraits without photos?”

Answer from Vladimir London, Drawing Academy tutor
Illustrations by Vladimir London

Hi Daniele,

Your question suggests that the only way for you to draw portraits proficiently is to copy.

Here’s the question you have to ask yourself: What is your goal in art? To be able to draw whatever you see, think, or imagine? Or be a “human photocopier?”

When you talk, do you always say what has already been written by someone else? Or do you actually say what you think, using your own words?

Why do you think it is any different in drawing? Copying photos is like repeating only what has been said by someone.

How to draw portraits without photos

Learning how to draw portraits without photos requires three things:

  1. Stop copying photos
  2. Learn the fundamental drawing principles, and the human head anatomy and proportions
  3. Use this knowledge to make your own original artworks, drawing from life, memory or imagination

In the Drawing Academy, you can learn fundamental drawing principles.

A human head anatomy and proportions info is explained in the Anatomy Master Class »

Also, in my book, How to Draw a Portrait you can find out the step-by-step process of drawing portraits in the three-quarters view.

To learn professional drawing techniques,

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