Page 3 of step-by-step portrait tutorial.
Step-by-Step Portrait


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Step-by-step portrait

When you decide that the proportions of the face are accurate, start to refine your rendering of the portrait.

Erase the extra "alignment lines" you drew in the beginning of this portrait, and also erase any extra "loose" sketching lines you made when you were getting the feel and structure of the face.

Start to add more detail to the eyes, nose and mouth. Start to draw details like the pupil of the eye, detail around the lips and nostrils, and so forth. Refine the shadows and rendering in the face.

Don't be shy about erasing problem areas and reworking them. When you want to just lighten or subdue an area, learn to "pat pat pat" with your eraser. This is better than vigorously rubbing as you erase delicate areas. Learn to have a light touch when erasing!

Still consult the mirror, to see if you have inadvertently made something lopsided or "off." Constant vigilance is needed in this regard, especially with front-view portraits (like this one). It is quite easy to get the features lopsided. But you won't do that, as long as you keep checking the mirror and correcting errors!

If you are having some trouble with a certain area, or are getting frustrated because you are not getting the result you want, take a break.

Frequent breaks can be very helpful, and will save you time in the long run. Don't keep on reworking and fussing and reworking and getting increasingly frustrated, (and maybe messing up your drawing in the process). Get away from the drawing for an hour (or day) and work on another drawing, or just do something different for a while. More than likely, when you return to the drawing later, you'll find that you can now solve the problem area right away. Trust me on this one—there are times when it's wise to tell yourself, "That's enough for now." It'll save you a lot of mistakes and headaches.

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Pretty girl

The finished portrait! Yes, it looks a little bit different than the prior "step-by-step" illustrations. That's because I made the step-by-step illustrations after the fact.

But that doesn't matter. The basic principles that were described and illustrated in this tutorial still apply. Click on the picture above to see a larger version of the portrait. (You can print it out if you'd like to consult it when following along with the tutorial.)

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