Drawing portraits can be exceedingly challenging for many art students. But why are portraits so hard to draw? After all, portraits are essentially the same as all other drawings, and are made up of basic shapes and forms. The key lies being able to execute proportions pet portrait painting exact precision.
When you take a closer look at a portrait, you’ll observe that there are thousands of combinations possible for portraits. For example, there are noses with many different shapes and sizes. There are eyes with different shapes and colors. There are lips with different thickness and there are all sorts of little details (like eyebags etc.) that are different. This makes it difficult for the artist to apply a fixed formula when drawing portraits.
The same technique for drawing a fixed object, or for drawing still life, can be used again and again. The basic shapes and forms of a table or a chair is easy to duplicate.
But when you put together a combination of all kinds of different features on a face, it’s a whole different set of challenge. The nose is too small, the lips are too thick, the eyes look all funny, etc. You get into all sorts of funny problems that you can don’t get whether drawing other stuff. That’s why drawing portraits can be such a challenge to many art students.
The way around this is to strengthen the drawing foundation. That means drawing by applying sound drawing principles instead of just following rigid formulas. If the artist can get the proportions right, the likeness of the person will emerge. There’s no need for other complicated techniques. The artist just have to focus on getting the proportions right.
The other area of concern is that many art students do not have the maturity to make sound decisions about the portraits they are drawing. Note that drawing is not the same as photographing. The drawing need not be exactly the same as the subject. There is room for the artist to make decisions on how the drawing will eventually turn out.
Therefore, a good portraitist will always bear in mind the background and the essence of the subject that he or she is drawing. For instance, if the artist is drawing a business person, he may want to capture the shrewd look on the face. Or if he’s drawing a model, he may want the drawing to look Hollywood style.