Process 5. Portrait Drawing

Slide Show
Gallery --- About Holly
Pricing --- Framing --- Transfers
Process --- Ordering --- Order Status

Flash Magazine --- BlackLightning

Once I've received your order and photos I can begin... As I draw, I try to think not about objects (nose, ear, mouth,) but about shape, shade and edge. The other focus is on how shapes relate to one another. It is fascinating for me to sit back and see how those shapes and shades become a nose that seems to pop off the page. The steps I use I learned, in large part, from Lee Hammond's book "How to Draw Lifelike Portraits from Photos." I use a grid to establish a light line drawing of the dominant shapes in the portrait. I fill those shapes with "color," shades of graphite. A dark triangle, a lighter grey moon shape, a very light oval, a highlighted "candycane." From this base of shapes and shades, I smooth, blend and sharpen. I try to accentuate the feeling of the photo. I use graphite pencils, various erasers and blending tools. Part of the surprise, for me, in learning to draw portraits, was that I use equal amounts of each of these tools. I draw, blend, erase, draw, blend, erase... all toward producing richer blacks, brighter highlights and a striking balance.

eMail me if you have questions! -Holly

Hollyj@hollygraphicart.com Portraits by Holly
252 Riddle Pond Road, West Topsham, Vermont 05086 USA
(802) 439-6462 M-Th 11a-4p Eastern Time


Six Easy Steps to a Beautiful Portrait...

Holly Drawing

Some resources I've found...

  1. Drawing From the Right Side of the Brain
    by Betty Edwards
  2. How to Draw Lifelike Portraits from Photos
    by Lee Hammond
  3. Michael's Crafts in Burlington, Vermont which is a great source of frames and other craft materials.
  4. Thanks to my good friend Noreen, who has helped and encouraged me in all of my artistic endeavors.
  5. And lastly, thanks to my partner, Walter, who has been so incredibly encouraging of my art. This support has extended to creating this web site, handling all of the computer related aspects of this adventure and being chief photographer as well. Thanks sweetie.

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