learning to draw people

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This topic contains 18 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by Sanne 6 years ago.

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    I'm starting this topic to share sketches and hopefully progress in drawing people. My goal is to draw realistic portraits and I'm at the very beginning of this road. I'm struggling with a habit of drawing very small faces (as a thumbnail small) which look like identical twins. I'd like to learn how to draw people in all awesome varieties of their features, beacause it's such a beautiful thing. Daily work makes wonders so that's what I'll do. Any critique will be welcomed and greatly appreciated!

    day 1 20 min

    day 2 10 min

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    i got to like my sketchbook paper after all. I thought it's kind of too fluffy to draw nice acurate lines but it turned out just fine when I changed the way I hold my pencil.


    I just wanted to say that you're on the right path to nailing different facial features to make people look unique! Do you feel like you've learned from these sketches already? If so, can you define what you learned?

    I like the jagged edges in your sketches style wise, but it does make them look more cartoonish. If that's what you're going for that's great! If not, I suggest trying to make more fluid strokes so they don't look like straight lines that connect for the most part. :)


    thank you Sanne!
    I think I've learned that if you do something, you do get better at it, and that effort always pays off both in terms of quality of drawing and self respect. And that it's easier to draw if you hold you sketchbook vertically and hold your pencil as you would hold a brush when you're painting a wall =)
    thank you for poiting out the cartoonish look, I'll keep that in mind and will work on more fluid lines. Realistic portraits look so awesome!


    this one is a portrait of the actor I adore, Vladimir Mihailovich Zeldin. Great man.
    Passed away on his 102 year of life, he'd been acting on stage (at 102 !!!) to the very last moments.

    another great actor, loved by many people, Oleg Dal. Such a beautiful face!

    this one is after a famous retro photo of a girl riding a tiny bycicle. she's such a joy to look at.

    very strong and unique face. I guess I should try to draw him again when I get better at this.


    not much this week but I don't drop it, yay!

    I've found that most inspiring faces can be found among old photos of native americans (indians). They have that unique and genuine feeling about them. Aslo, so very calm. A pleasure to draw them


    the main goal for now is to make very simple drawings, just separate darks from the lights and keep the proportions in check - easier said than done =) shading is tempting, but I guess it's far to early for me at the moment. Got to learn how to walk before trying to run

    love this one so much! Navajo boy, photo referenced, as usual

    the shading did me no good and it was a colossal waste of time but i liked it anyway. Love that moment when the pencil fills the dark areas, it's magical

    it was an awesome photo, go to draw it again when I get a little better

    Tibetian princess Leia look-alikes

    Vyacheslav Tikhonov

    cool headwrap and a huge pain to draw all this folds - but so much fun as well!


    I realized the reason why artists usually put their sheets of paper vertically when they draw - you can't see the picture properly if it's lying on a table, the hands cover it and smudge the lines.
    I'm holding a block of paper in my left hand and try to hold the right hand in the air, and my shoulder says no way, but it does so less and less often. Thery good for training the muscles of the shoulder, a Pilates-based exercise.


    Hey :) Great work in here, especially doing portrait work daily and establishing the good habits. You seem a bit hesitant in what I've seen so far in varying how you do portraits (medium, approach, detail, size) as far as I can tell. Along with your daily sketches like these, it may be helpful to also work on bigger, more time consuming portraits where you can explore different variables and study more in depth.

    Doing consistent, various portraits is a great way to improve, but using one or a few faces and taking time to study the face through and through will also show you new lights! :)

    Hope this helps!


    Hello Niosh! Thank you for your time, you kind words and your advise - it helps a great deal!
    Yes, for now it's mostly rough pencil sketches on A4 sheets, the original idea was to fit 1 or 2 sketches into the lunch time. I'd love to add more time consuming portraits to that. Studying a few faces also sounds great, actually, it's a brilliant idea! Thank you! =)


    so, here are two pictures of the same face, and I'm not happy with them.
    I post them anyway just to learn to accept failures and move on.

    I tried to use charcoal instead of pencil to cover the dark areas quicker - and ended up with a lovely grey mess. Lesson learned - respect thy media and do not try to cheat, smartass.

    Second version is a little better. A little. Hard work does pay off, but not instantly


    Hey Mary!

    Great progression so far. :)

    I'm very proud that you posted your recent two sketches even though you don't like them. I agree that they're not your best sketches, but you learned a highly valuable lesson there.

    Maybe you can break those sketches down into two sides and make lists? For example, list things you noticed went wrong, but also things you think turned out good and like. Having a good balance of both sides helps with critical evaluation and the learning process!


    Hey Sanne! Thank you so much for your very friendly and most inspiring comment! The idea about pros and cons is just awesome. It is very helpful and actually makes feel much better and in control of the process. Thank you for your time, it's great to hear a word from you!
    I adore the way you write your comments, you're so nice and you engage people in conversation so easily. Sometimes I feel like being a good person is much more important than being a good artist. Could you maybe give a word of advice on how to make people feel good? You surely know a lot about that =)


    Oh well, so here's another one. It makes me admire other artists who actually draw every day no matter what. But empty complains do nothing while hard work does!
    so, I'm following Sanne's advice and here are pluses ans minuses of the work
    + no rushing this time. (listening to relaxing music helps a lot!)
    + I really really like the model. it'd be helpful to draw only those whom you really really like
    + invested my time and effort like I meant it

    - to much unnessesary details - to early for me to get into details
    - pressing the darks to much
    - got into details before making sure that the general proportions are alright

    all in all, i'm quite happy with this one and plus side won this time =)

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