Welcome! I am J.R. Dunster, and I have been drawing portraits for a long time. I have sold many of my portraits to collectors over the years, and I guess I can consider myself a competent portrait artist. (To the left of this text is a small example of one of my colored pencil portraits.)
I wanted to create this page to help "newbie" portrait artists. I remember all too painfully my teen years, when I first started to get really serious about portraits. I was so lost, had no encouragement, and didn't know where to start. I needed inspiration, some guidance, and some basic advice on materials to use, things to strive for and to avoid, and basic portrait tips. I hope to supply a little bit of what I feel would be helpful in this page.
This page is a "mirror site" of an old Geocities page I wrote on drawing portraits back in 1998 or 1999. I hadn't updated the Geocities site in so long, so I've decided to transfer it over here to its new home on Portrait-Artist.org. That little Geocities site was the "pre-Portrait-Artist.org." I got so many good ideas and great feedback from it, that I decided to create a whole website about drawing portraits. Which is now Portrait-Artist.org!
Another example of my work:
I used Prismacolor Colored Pencils on colored paper to create this portrait. I drew a preliminary sketch on tracing paper. (No, I did not trace the drawing from a photograph! I just drew a light sketch on the tracing paper.) I then transferred it onto the dark colored paper. (I sometimes draw directly onto the colored paper, but when I am fussing with a likeness, I find it better to work it all out on some tracing paper first.)
The way I do this technique is that I do the tracing paper drawing. I then rub the back of this tracing paper sketch thoroughly with flesh-colored Prismacolor colored pencil. This makes it a sort of "carbon paper." I then trace firmly with a hard pencil while the tracing paper is placed over the colored paper. This makes a vague outline impression of the portrait onto the colored paper (in this instance, brown Canson paper.) I then work to render and perfect the portrait on the colored paper from there.