Sunday, January 25, 2009

Instructions on Pencil Portrait Drawing - Drawing Children

The drawing of children demands freshness and directness of purpose. Regrettably, there are not too many quick and ready rules. Let us just say that kids' portraits demand a keen and patient eye.

For those who intend to do professional portraiture the good news is that kids' portraits can be lucrative. There are very few artists who can capably sketch children.

Soft lighting works best for portraits of children. The kid could be looking toward a intense light source. This sort of light source will light up the kid's face and create an introspective facial expression. The value stretch goes from light to medium with the eyes really dark.

Addressing the facial proportions of children in a general sense is somewhat of a waste of time. Their facial proportions change dramatically within a six month time span.

Suffice it to say that the younger the kid is the smaller the face in relation to the head. The eyes also appear larger although this can be deceiving. A kid%u2019s nose can be very difficult to sketch %u2013 there is nothing really to latch onto. And the mouth is extremely subtle the same width of an eye. Again, we must stress that these proportions are only a general rule and individual face proportions can vary. The above general rules can be used for comparison purposes when you do your own careful observations of a particular face.

As always, start your sketch by striking the arabesque and then correcting the height/width proportions as necessary.

After establishing the primary facial proportions (i.e., the brow, nose, mouth, etc.) block-in the major light/dark patterns. Then, stump down the graphite using your fingers or a stump. To render and re-shape the lights utilize a clean kneaded eraser.

Now the features are carefully placed, measured and partially sketched. There are two things to remember here:

1. Your pencils must be very sharp, and

2. At this time, you should never fully finish a feature. Sketch each feature no more than 50%.

Once the features are sized and situated as best you can, you can now further develop them. Do not neglect the hair and sides of the face. All should be brought up together. As you proceed to sketch you should always be on the lookout for mistakes in proportions and value.

In conclusion, the basic processes used to sketch a kid's portrait are of course always the same. Above, we listed most of the differences in proportion and shape between an adult skull and that of a kid. Your mood when drawing a kid should be one that reflects the innocence and the softness of a kid.

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About the Author: Do you want to learn the secrets of pencil portrait drawing? Download your copy of Remi's Free Pencil Portrait Drawing Course here.

Remi is a pencil portrait artist and oil painter and expert drawing teacher. See his work at

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