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How to Draw a Portrait

Pump up your creative juices and learn to draw captivating portraits.


  • Step 1: Draw head and eyes Draw an oval. Add eyes at the oval's center, leaving a space between them equal to the length of one eye.
  • TIP: Create a good likeness by establishing the correct relationship between facial features.
  • Step 2: Add nose Add the nose, placing the bottom of the nose at the midpoint between the bottom of the chin and eyes. Add nostrils and nose wings.
  • Step 3: Add mouth Add the mouth at the midpoint between the tip of the nose and bottom of the chin. Pay attention to the subtle curves of the lips.
  • TIP: The length of the mouth is generally equal to the distance between the two pupils.
  • Step 4: Refine face and add hair Refine the face frame, paying attention to angles. Add hair, noting the direction hair grows and falls, and lay in eyebrows, following the direction of hair growth.
  • TIP: Sketch hair using loose, sweeping strokes to create a sense of flow and rhythm.
  • Step 5: Add neck Add the neck, aligning each side to the outside of the corresponding eye. Gently taper it toward the collar bone.
  • Step 6: Add shading Shade shadowed areas to add form and texture. Now, congratulate yourself for taking your drawing skills to new levels.
  • FACT: Did you know? The National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. houses thousands of photos, paintings and drawings recognizing remarkable Americans for their contribution to the country and culture.

You Will Need

  • A graphite pencil
  • Paper
  • An eraser

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