portrait tutorial


a humble attempt at me trying to explain how to draw faces

I had to compress the files a ton, so let me know if there’s issues with seeing my god awful handwriting or just the post in general


Hey guys! I made a video on portraits with a Star Wars theme! ⚡ Enjoy :)

watch me draw!

Hello, friends!

It was requested more than once so here it is: my YouTube channel!

I’ll be posting a variety of content: speed drawing videos (both digital and traditional), tutorials, art tips, drawing challenges, q&a videos in my pajamas, etc. Maybe even a random vlog here and there. And, of course, suggestions are always welcome!

So please do subscribe if this sounds appealing at all :D

And enjoy this simple self portrait speed drawing video!

Oil Portrait Tutorial ft. Martin Freeman

For @sherrkey who asked for oil painting tips and to whom I said I would make a tutorial but never did. Until now. Sorry about that.

Firstly, tools!

What you see here is essentially everything I use to paint, minus my palette and the canvas. From top left to bottom right, those are:

  • dirty cloth, for cleaning up odds and ends and wiping brushes
  • turpentine, for diluting paint for the first layer of painting and cleaning brushes. Never use water with oil paints.
  • linseed oil, for diluting paint for the last layer of painting.
  • paint, top row: zinc titanium white, chrome yellow, lemon yellow, chrome orange yellow, scarlet, crimson red, vermilion, rose, purple, ultramarine
  • paint, bottom row: cobalt blue, emerald green, viridian, chrome green, olive green, yellow ocre, burnt sienna, burnt umber, raw umber, lamp black
  • brushes, size 20, 10, and ½
  • palette knife, size 3 (I personally don’t use this very often, usually only to scrape mistakes off where I can’t wipe them)

The painting:

I’m going to use my progress shots from this painting I did a couple months ago

1. The reference picture - I used this photo of Martin Freeman as Richard III here:

2. The initial sketch:

  • I used a brown because it’s close to skin colour and isn’t too glaring.
  • Dilute the paint with turpentine a lot so that it’s quite wet and the lines are light. This gives you more room to fix errors. If you make a mistake, get your dirty cloth, dip it in turpentine, and wipe the mistake off. Cloth+turpentine acts as an eraser of sorts at this stage.
  • Don’t worry if the first sketch looks bad. Mine looked real bad. Keep fixing it until you you’re happy with what you have.
  • Try to get in as much of the tonal values as you can here, because it’ll help a lot to have values sorted before you get onto painting. If it isn’t sorted, when you come to paint you’ll have an extra thing to worry about on top of your hues and saturations and whatnot. Use more turpentine for lighter tones, less turpentine for darker tones.

3. Base colours:

  • Start with the background, then move on to the darkest areas of the person and work your way lighter.
  • Don’t worry too much about details. At this stage you’re just laying down the basic colours and filling in all the area.
  • Focus on getting your overall colour right.
  • Use turpentine to dilute the paint a little, so the paint isn’t too thick, but make sure it’s not transparent like the initial sketch.

4. Middle layers and details:

  • On the basis of your first layer, now you can start working on the details.
  • Do not use turpentine here, just pure paint. Don’t be afraid to make it thick, texture is an inherent part of oils and it makes the picture more interesting to look at.
  • Don’t try to do everything at once. This is the section that will take the longest and the most effort. Split up your work, pick something to focus on for one session, and just do that part. The first thing I worked on was the hand:
  • then the head:
  • then the coat:

5. final touches

  • This is where you do your refinements and extra small details and go back and fix things you didn’t spot before.
  • Because we’re just fixing things, there’s no need to go too thick, use linseed oil to dilute your paint if you need to, especially for details like hair where you wouldn’t be able to get fine lines with thick paint.
  • I added more detail to the hair and beard, and fixed the nose:
  • Then I redid the background just because it had gone dirty, did a final layer on the coat to tidy it up, put in the shadow of the tassel I’d forgotten before, and added highlights on the hair, badges, buttons, eye, and sleeve:

And that’s it!

Here are some tips just about oil painting in general:

  • Oil painting takes a long time. Don’t expect to get everything right the first time. You’ll be working with multiple layers, so be patient, and take it a step at a time.
  • Make sure a layer has thoroughly dried before painting over it. This does not mean touch-dry. Oils can touch-dry in two days depending on humidity, but don’t dry enough for you to paint over until at least a week. While you’re waiting for a layer to dry, work on a different area, then go back. If you paint over a layer before it’s dried properly, the oil in the new layer get soaked into the bottom layer and your colours go dull.
  • Use turpentine for the bottom layer, linseed oil for the final top layer.
  • Clean and keep brushes in turpentine after painting. This keeps them soft for your next session, otherwise the paint will dry. If you’re waiting a long time until your next session, keep them in turpentine for a day or two, then wipe them and put them away.

Finally, as I like to say in all my other tutorials, this is never an exhaustive or definitive method. Everything in here has either been taught to me or been from my experience. I don’t claim to know everything, and others will experience things differently as well. There shouldn’t be absolute rules in art, only guidelines. Some guidelines are more important than others, of course but the best way to learn is to try something yourself.

Hopefully this has been helpful, and thanks for reading!

The importance of a fill light! 

Whenever people ask me how they can improve their art, I always stress how important it is to paint your fill-lights in - not only does it lift the character into another level of painting, it also sets them back into the environment more. So for example if they are in an environment that is mostly green hue’s, their fill light will have a green tinge to it. Likewise if its a mostly blue environment, then it will be a blue fill light etc etcc 

Also bare in mind bright lights, secondary light sources and reflective surfaces! 


Hey guys! I got such a great response from my Star Wars portrait tutorial and wanted to make a similar episode featuring more of the character! HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR! Enjoy :) ~


【Watercolor Portrait】White Night by Laovaan 

Tutorial #6: Drawing A Self Portrait (from life)

Drawing a self portrait from life is one of the fastest (and most challenging!) ways to learn how to draw faces.


  • 4B charcoal pencil
  • newsprint pad
  • mirror
  • kneaded eraser (optional)

I like to use a 4B charcoal pencil because it allows me to build up the shading gradually, but you could use any kind of drawing utensil you want. You could even start with an inexpensive regular #2 pencil.

I like newsprint because it’s cheap and the charcoal goes on it very smoothly. I find it easier to draw when I’m not worried about wasting expensive paper.

I don’t like using an eraser when I work on quick drawings like this, but if you want you can use a kneaded eraser.

Step 1

Set yourself up with your mirror angled however way you want. Remember you’ll be drawing yourself from the same angle, so choose a relatively comfortable pose you can maintain for several minutes.

Remember to keep your eyes on the mirror 80% of the time. You’re drawing what you see, so you should spend more time seeing than drawing. Don’t worry about making the drawing look like you. Worry about translating the shapes you see within your face down on paper. When you see your face, don’t think of it as being made up of a nose, eyes, lips, ears, etc. Think of it as a structure made of many shapes.

Don’t ask yourself things like does this look like a nose? Ask yourself, does this shape look like the shape I see in the mirror? Is it rounder or more elongated? Is it wide or narrow? Is this pointy or curved?

Trust your eyes and ignore your mind when you draw. You’ll be surprised with the results.

Step 2

Start by drawing the overall shape of your head first. Consider the contour of your head and face and how each area is proportioned to one another.

Ask yourself where your hair ends and where your neck begins and where your ears are placed in relation to these. Can you see your ears? Are they at about the midpoint of the overall shape of your head? Above or below the midpoint? Note where your hairline is and how much space your hair takes in relation to the rest of your head.

Take the time to study your face before you put any marks down on paper. It’s ok to take a while.

At the beginning stage, make sure you focus on the greater shape of your head, including your hair, ears and neck; not individual facial features like your nose and eyes.

Step 3

Slowly begin putting down marks to indicate where your major features are located. I normally consider the entire eye socket first before defining where the eyes themselves are. That’s roughly the area between your eye brows and your cheek bones. I’ll put a mark down to indicate where the eyebrows and cheekbones are. Then roughly where my nose ends (I see it as the triangle that’s formed between your nostrils and the tip of your nose). Then a line to indicate the middle of my lips. Then where my chin ends and my neck begins.

Note the angle you’re seeing yourself from. Is your chin closest to the mirror or is it your forehead? The closer something is to the mirror, the larger it will appear.

Note whether your eyes are tilted one way or another. All of your features will follow the same tilt.

Tip: the eyes are usually located in the center of your head, so make sure you’re not placing them too high up or too low. Compare the distance between your eyes and the top of your head and the distance between your eyes and your chin. Are they about the same or is one greater than the other?

Ask yourself questions like how far are my lips from my nose? What is the distance between my eyes? How much of my cheeks do I see? Where are my ears in relation to my nose and eyes?

Step 4

Use shading to help you define the shape and volume of your features. Remember your eyes are resting within sockets, so there will be shade around them, especially near and around the nose. Don’t be afraid to exaggerate the shading to bring out the forms.  

I suggest you avoid putting too much effort into the hair and tiny details like eyelashes. Especially as a beginner, you’ll learn the most when you focus on getting the overall shape and proportions of your head right.

I consider drawing individual hairs and eyelashes a waste of time. If you want to draw something perfect and realistic, you’d do better working from a photograph. If your purpose is to learn to draw a face, forget the minor details and focus on the greater shapes and proportions of the face.

Step 5

I like to leave the eyes and eyebrows toward the end to avoid getting distracted by them. The eyes are normally the focal point of a face, so it’s easy for us to get caught up trying to get the shapes just right and ignore the rest of the face. Don’t do that or your drawing will suffer from it.

Once you’re happy with the placement of the features, continue to push the contrast between light and shadow. I prefer to block in the shadows, building them up without worrying about being too subtle. This is especially true for quick drawings, like this one. This portrait took about 9 minutes. 

NOTE: You’ll notice I pause often. This is not time I spend looking at how good or bad my drawing is looking. These are moments I take to look up and study my face before I continue drawing. Again, remember to keep your eyes on the mirror 80% of the time. You’re drawing what you see, so you should spend more time seeing your face in the mirror than drawing! 


Simple Art Tip #7: Draw/Paint Self-Portraits


Over 20+ hours, I’m not sure. But this armour really is hard to draw as the scales are really tiny and i had to draw them with 0.3mm mechanical pencil. all other pencil had to be kept sharpened at all times.

The biggest problems I struggle with when it comes to drawing with pencil is that I make my drawing too bright and when i have to make white stand out, it doesn’t. I tried to get the shine on the scales and rings stand out and so far it looks fine.

The leather was another tricky part as again, the details here as tiny, and I have too keep it looking like worn leather

I also worked on his hair trying to blend them in better

general art tips pt. 1: skin and facial features! ft. jimin

so recently i’ve been drawing this portrait of bts’ jimin and i just wanted to give out some art tips that i learned that i think might help. and just a disclaimer, by no means am i professional artist! im self taught and what im about to share are just the way i do things haha. but i hope it helps! so let’s start!

ok so first off, i obviously just pick a reference picture. youre going to need one if youre drawing a portrait of someone 

damn jimin lookin fine. still not over the perfect man performance ahhh. now you can use this picture but if you want to test out new waters and really work with bright, enhanced colors rather than exact reference, try referencing a filtered photo! it really helps in encouraging you to use more colors which overall, makes everything look more interesting. but you don’t have to do this.

next step is laying down the outline. now if youre new to all of this, i highly suggest printing out your reference, putting a grid on it, and then transferring it onto your paper. or if youre too lazy like me, you can just trace it. it’s not cheating trust me! it just saves time especially if youre doing realism. all the magic is in the coloring anyway haha. and when you get better at it, you can try freehanding.

for your outline, make sure to keep things light and soft. you don’t want dark, heavy marks, because they are just there to guide you. you’re going to end up erasing most of them later on when you get to coloring. try not to have solid connected lines either. remember these lines are just a guide so it can look accurate.

time to color! i usually color in little sections. doing this makes things a lot less overwhelming and easier to handle. as you can see, i usually like to start with the eyes. i think it’s just a nice starting point and also because i really wanted to draw jimin’s eye makeup hehe. 

the key to coloring, is starting off with a light base color. for jimins eye makeup, i started off with a basic red. (sorta shows up pinkish on camera):

(also note that you don’t need to have expensive, high quality colored pencils. i typically just use Crayola colored pencils LOL. i sometimes use Prang and i have some Artist Loft ones that were given to me as a gift. crayola ones are actually very nice because the colors show up more bright and intense. artist loft ones are generally lighter which is good for shading and blending) SO LAY DOWN THAT BASE BRUH. details come later. 

bam. jimins eye makeup is truly goals. i don’t have pictures of his eyes with just the base color (sorry, bad on my part) but basically, what i did to obtain this is that i worked with A LOT of colors.  

take a good, hard look at your reference, try to pick out all the basic colors first and lay them down. and then study it harder and pick out as many colors as you can see and slowly build up.

it helps if you can look at it on a computer because you can zoom in! as you can see, there are purples, pinks, yellows, different oranges and reds, browns, and even a little green. try to keep a soft touch because it makes blending these colors a lot easier. don’t think that you can’t add in colors like green and blue because they’re not “natural”. these colors are actually a lot more evident in skin tones and facial features than we think! even the whites of an eye are never completely white. try to add in purples and blues to make them more natural. 

make sure to layer colors. here, the top is just the basic red. but on the bottom, i have layered on a purple and a brown. it helps make the color look a lot deeper and it helps for shading. don’t shade with black! try shading with other colors (in this case, darker reds, browns, purples, oranges, pinks, etc.)

as for black, a lot of the time people will tell you to NEVER USE BLACK. however, i’m against this LOL. it’s totally ok to use black! just be careful with it. leave it for the end, after you have laid down all the colors. it’s hard to layer over black.

so for the skin, you’re going to do the same thing. lay down a light, base color. for jimin, i’ve chosen a peachy color. but depending on who you’re doing, you might have to use a brown, yellow, or maybe even pink. regardless, just start off light and work your way into the darker colors slowly. 

remember to color softly and lightly. as i said, work slowly. and you can also erase colored pencil if you work lightly! so if you make a mistake, you can clean that right up. it doesn’t give a completely white space, but the erasing is mostly if you lay on the color more intensely than you planned.

these are just some colors to make your drawing look more natural and realistic. but dont’t limit yourself to just these (the left side is if you press hard with the pencil, and the right side is if you shade lightly):

the bottom two are my favorite two colors to incorporate because it really helps the drawing pop! the blue is a light ultramarine blue and the purple is more of a lavender. the light green also helps in lighter areas too.

see? it really gives the drawing more life! i would recommend staying away from gray because using too much gray can end up making the person look a little sickly LOL and it ends up looking dull. try to find substitutes for grey like blue. 

i also love to use gold to help shade skin tones. weird, right? but gold is a nice transition between those intense colors and our base color. it gives a nice, natural shading.

as for areas that are “black and white” like nostrils, the inside of a mouth, or teeth, make sure to incorporate other colors into those too. its hardly ever just plain black and white. on the teeth, i mixed in pinks, that ultramarine blue, oranges, pinks, and lavender.

for dark areas, mix in dark purples and a navy blue along with black:

all in all, for realism and portraits, incorporate lots of colors to give your drawing more life! human skin tones have tons of colors. it’s never just one basic color like peach or brown. you’d be surprised what colors would help. 

so closely study your reference for the different use of colors. LOL sorry chimchim for doing this to your face:

but also note: don’t follow a reference to the grave. if you want to up the contrast between colors or the shading, go for it! do what feels right. but if you want to do it as it looks, that’s totally ok too. take risks in your art and be proud of it. 

another tip is TAKE BREAKS. it can be from a five minute break to a day. if you stare at your drawing too long, it might start to look bad to you and you’ll get frustrated. but it’s not bad, you’ve just been looking at it too long so it’ll look weird to you. take a break, and come back to it later.

so here’s what i have so far:

the face isn’t even done yet but i just really wanted to make this post to share what i’m doing. i hope it helps and i’ll be back with part two: hair (aka the most difficult part for me lololol) 

sorry for the long post but i hope you enjoyed! check out my blog for other fanart :)

anonymous asked:

Your sketches are the best! do you have any tips/tutorials for someone that want to start doing portraits? what was your process? thank you :)

Hullo there! Thank you so much! It’s difficult to explain in words, so here’s some basics of portrait drawing, and a brief outline of my process. We’ll use Hugh Laurie as House,just because here’s a nice front shot of his face.

First, proportions:

As you can see, eyes are half way down the head, given you press the hair right down flat on the head. The hairline, eyebrows, nose, and chin are spaced in thirds.

Generally, the width of the eye is one fifth the width of the face at the widest point. Make sure you take the width of the actual eyeball, not the outer eyelid. The nose is as wide as one eyeball’s width. The corners of the mouth are in line with the centre of the eyes. The ears are in line with the eyebrows (top) and nose (bottom).

(A thing to remember: use these proportions as guides, and not absolute rules. Everyone has a different face, and no one will measure to these exactly. Some people might have bigger eyes. Some people might have slightly longer noses. Foreheads will be larger with receding hairlines. These tiny differences are what make each face unique. So long as you’re not grotesquely disobeying these proportions, don’t feel restricted to follow them exactly if the photo reference tells you otherwise.)

Now, to start drawing the outlines. I’ve done this digitally for the sake of speed, but I’ve drawn everything in lines so you can duplicate it all with a pencil and eraser.

First line in the general shape lightly. Also mark in important features such as the eyes and nose, but ONLY once your outlines are accurate. Always draw from big to small, from outside to inside, basic to complex. There’s no use spending time on smaller details if the outlines containing them aren’t right.

Draw in the details. Break hair down into chunks, as that makes it easier to deal with. Note the guidelines coming down from the eyes, as per proportions previously mentioned. They’re not necessary to draw in as you get more experienced, and you’ll find you can do them just by eye, but they help a lot when you start.

Shade in all the shadows in one grey tone. This gives you a general idea of how light hits the face and sets you up for the proper shading. Notice how the hair is still being dealt with in chunks.

Start with the blackest parts. This is because black is the easiest tone to get right, since it’s just black, and you don’t have to worry about the darkness/lightness of it.

Move onto the next darkest areas. Use the black you did at the start as a comparison, so that you’re getting the tone about right. Shading is all about comparisons and relativity. One tone will look light compared to a darker tone, but dark compared to a lighter tone. Constantly look at the picture as a whole so your comparisons are accurate, and you don’t exaggerate the darkness/lightness of the tone you’re working just because of the surrounding tones.

Keep shading lighter and lighter until you’re done! You may see some small changes you’ll need to make to the size/shape of the features as you shade, that’s only natural because the way we perceive things flat and the way we perceive things 3D (shaded) are a little bit different. Always keep looking back to the reference picture. Take a break if you’ve been at it for too long. Or stand back and look at your drawing from a distance. Fresh eyes do wonders in spotting mistakes.

This is a very very brief rundown of what I’ve learned over the years and by no means comprehensive of portrait drawing, but I hope this gives you somewhere to start. If you have any further questions feel free to ask me, and I’ll try to answer those as best I can from my experience. Hope this helped!


Here it is! The list you’ve all been waiting for (not really though)! It’s only temporary, so I’ll probably add more or make another in the future! I really hope you guys find the list helpful, or at least a bit inspiring! Stay creative guys, and know that I believe in you! 

(Oh, and credit to Markiplier for his face)


The step by step process of my light study digital drawing. This is my first Tutorial so I hope I did it right.

Total time to complete: 11 hours.

Program: Photoshop cs6

She is missing a finger but I am too lazy to go back and add it… so yea. If there are any spelling errors, it would be a big help you told me so I could fix it, thanks in advance.

Commissions: Open

Contact me at astressedscribble@gmail.com for more information about commission or for whatever else.

Follow me on:

Instagram: @a_stressed_scribble

Twitter: @astressedline

DeviantArt: Astressedscribble


So my first ever time-lapse video of a portrait painting is finally up on my new channel ! Took me forever to edit it and do everything properly but I do hope you guys enjoy it and perhaps even find it somewhat useful ! 

If you feel like it, you can subscribe to my channel for more videos on character  design and painting ! I already have a few things planned <3 

Any feedback / recommendations / ideas are always welcome so please don’t hesitate to message me! 
Thank you! <3


I love Prince and I always will. Watch me paint him in 7 minutes. <3