How to draw a portrait – the easy way

This is how you draw a portrait in pencil, the easy way. Of course you can also make a portrait of yourself. With this special technique you can draw a beautiful portrait with three types of pencils and some extra useful items. Our students tried this technique out during our art classes in the studio. I must say that I am very proud of the results!

self portrait Tyla – 16 years old
self portrait Reema – 16 years old
self portrait Penfei – 16 years old
self portrait Noa – 15 years old








This is what you will need:

-A3 or A4 paper of approximately 200 grams
– pencils HB, 2H, 2B and 6B
-a shaper
-a ruler or a triagle protractor
-eraser and a putty eraser
-a black and white photograph on A4 of a face taken from the front. One side must be illuminated and the other side dark.

Step 1.
Fold your portrait photograph exactly in half so that you have exactly the same width of face on both sides.

Step 2.
Place your A4 photograph  folded in half in the middle of your sheet of paper so that the fold is exactly halfway. See tutorial.

Step 3.
If necessary, attach your photo to your drawing paper with a very small piece of tape, be careful not to damage your paper.

Step 4.
Take the triangle protractor and place the center line exactly on the fold of the photograph. Measure how many centimeters the side of the face is compared to the fold in the center. Mirror this distance on the right side of the drawing paper and put a dot. Move the triangle protractor down a little and measure the distance again in the same way. Put another dot and repeat this process until you have measured all parts of the face, the hair, the neck and any clothing you might see.

Step 5.
Connect all dots with a sketch line. You can see the shape of the face developping slowly.

Step 6.
Use the pencils to shade and  the shapes that have now emerged. Use the HB, 2H, 2B and 6B. Read how to use these and some additional material tips below.

Step 7.
When you’re done with one side of the face, you can flip the photograph around and attach it to your paper so you can draw the other side of the face. Make sure you attach the photograph properly, otherwise you will create a crooked face.

Step 8.
Repeat all steps on the left side of your sheet of paper.

Step 9.
Remove the photograph from your drawing paper and view the result. Perhaps you need to make some corrections here and there and even some parts out a little.

Step 10.
Don’t forget to sign your portrait with your name. It is always a great idea to add your age and date.

Material tips:
– HB pencil is suitable for sketching
– 2H pencil is a somewhat harder pencil, you can use this for the light gray parts in your drawing.
– 2B and 6B pencils are softer pencils and colours darker because they leave more graphite on the paper.
– you can rub the shaper over the coloured areas to make them more even.
– use the kneaded eraser to make light spots. For example, shiny parts in the hair or the whites of your teeth.

Variation on this theme:
– Draw a portrait with sunglasses. In the sunglasses you can place an image, for example a nice holiday destination, your favorite meal or something similar.

Have fun with it!

self portrait Leah – 13 years old
self portrait Margaux – 10 years old
Self portrait Reema – 16 years old
self portrait Anna – 11 years old
self portrait Penfei – 16 years old


self portrait Elisa – 14 years old

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