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Portrait drawing by Scarleette

Portrait drawing by Scarleette

Portrait Drawing Critique

Hello, I am a 16 year old aspiring artist, and in need of your help. Here’s my drawing of a marble bust. I had trouble drawing and shading the statue’s hair. I would like to know what you think of it and what should I improve on. Your help is very much appreciated, thank you.

Portrait drawing by Scarleette

Feedback from Vladimir London, Drawing Academy tutor

Hi Scarleette,

Many thanks for your drawing; it is very very good, well done.

There are few points you may consider when drawing portraits in graphite pencil:

  • Use a well-sharpened pencil. A blunt pencil point is suited for depicting soft and fuzzy textures; not so well for marble surfaces.
  • Draw what you know, not what you see. You know that according to classical human head proportions, the lower edge of an ear is on the same level as the base of the nose. In your portrait, the ear is a bit higher than it should be.
  • Apply pencil strokes along contours (contours are not the same as outlines) to reveal objects’ three-dimensional nature. If you isolate the neck from the rest of the drawing, you would not guess what it is by the direction of pencil strokes.
  • Treat the volume of hairs as one big mass with its global light and shade. Think of it as a big ball. The part of this ball that is closer to the source of light would be lighter and the opposite part would be in shadow.
  • Do not concentrate too much on small details of hair curls. Hairstyle is a secondary part of the portrait, not its focal point.

Once again, thank you for your wonderful drawing. It is a great start.

I hope this helps.

To your creative success,
Vladimir London

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