Blocking in Basic Head Shapes – Portrait Drawing Tips:

Blocking in Basic Head Shapes – Portrait Drawing Tips:

This short lesson will show you how to simplify seemingly complex portrait drawings into just three planes; light mid and dark. Making these copies of portrait paintings is a great way to understand how you can apply the principle of planes to your own portrait work and make more convincing artworks.

  • Start with a really simple outline of the portrait using as few straight lines as possible (ideally just 4-6 in total).
  • Figure out which direction the light is coming from (you can see that in my example the light is coming from the right-hand side).
  • Using this info, add lines that divide the portrait into the three value planes; light, mid and dark.
  • Start by shading in the darkest plane.
  • Then shade in the mid plane (the value will be between the dark tone and the light tone of the paper).
  • Once the planes are shaded in you can add some embellishments to the outside of the portrait. In my example I made his profile more detailed and added some of his body.
  • Once you’ve got the hang of it you can keep making more simple studies from different paintings.
  • Google Arts & Culture is a great place to find portrait paintings to work from. Click here to start browsing.

Materials:

  • Paper (sheet or a sketchbook)
  • Pencils
  • Eraser
test