There is more than one technique to draw lifelike portraits from photographs. You can use a grid or you can simply look very carefully. Here I will demonstrate how to make portraits from photos that are quite realistic. We will use the lattice method.
Maybe it is easier to learn how to draw realistic portraits with the grid technique, because it is more likely that you will start by drawing the face with correct proportions.. Long before some geniuses invented photography in the 1800s, artists have been using this method.. This is because the grid method is one of the best ways to create an accurate drawing.
The grid method for learning how to draw lifelike portraits from photographs works like this:
Get a paper copy of the photo, and draw a lattice over the top.. For example, if the photograph you are copying is 8 inches by 10, you will draw a grid of 10 squares over top of the photo.. To make the grid, all you need to do is measure 10 increments both left and right, and up and down, and then draw straight lines going across and top to bottom..
Does that sound confusing? Don't worry - here are the instructions for creating a grid in further detail:
Place a ruler on the left side of the paper. Make a small mark at every inch. Do the same thing on the right side of the paper. Now draw a straight line going across, connecting the left side and the right side. Do this for every inch.
Repeat this process for the top and bottom of the paper: make a mark at every inch along the top of your photograph, and then connect it with the corresponding mark at the bottom of the paper, using a straight line.
This grid will help you learn how to draw lifelike portraits from photographs. Your measurements must be exact. Make sure of this., and that all the squares are of equal size and proportion.
The next step is to draw precisely the same grid on your drawing paper.. This is really important. You need to use the same exact scale as the grid you drew on top of your photograph. If the grid you draw on your paper isn't the same scale as the grid you drew on your photograph, then your portrait drawing will not be proportionate.
Now that you've drawn a grid on both your photograph and your paper, you are ready to learn how to draw lifelike portraits from photographs!
The next step is to examine your photograph one square at a time, copying everything that you see in that square into the corresponding square on your paper. For instance, start with the top left square. Look carefully at what is in that square. Don't look at any of the other squares, or you will be distracted. Focus only on one square at a time.
For example: if you see a line in the top right square of the photograph, draw a line in the top right square of your paper. Use the edges of the square as your guidelines to help you figure out exactly where to place that line. If the line in the photograph goes from the bottom left corner to the middle of the right side, then in the top right square of your paper, draw a line that goes from the bottom left corner to the middle of the right side.
Repeat this process for every square on your paper. When you go from square to square, draw not only the lines - draw the shading as well. The lines create outlines, but the shading creates form. It is the shading that will result in a lifelike portrait.
Anyone can learn how to draw lifelike portraits from photographs. In some ways, it's actually easier to learn how to sketch a portrait by looking at a photograph instead of working from a live model, for the following reasons:
- The photograph does not move, whereas models can (and will) move and fidget. In addition, any changes in the light source will affect your drawing when learning how to sketch a portrait from a live model.
- Because photographs don't fidget, you can work at your own pace. You can set aside a drawing for days, weeks or even years if you don't have time to work on it. When you come back to it, you can pick right up again where you left off.
- You're not self-conscious when you learn how to draw lifelike portraits from photographs in the same way that you would be if you were learning how to sketch a portrait from a live model. When you are learning how to sketch a portrait from a live model, you may get a feeling of performance anxiety because chances are, the person who is posing for you will want to see how the drawing is coming along.
- Lastly, one of the best reasons to learn how to draw lifelike portraits from photographs is that you can try again and again until you get it right. A live model might get exasperated or tired after awhile. When learning how to draw lifelike portraits from photographs, you can start over again any time you need to.
These are the main reasons why learning how to draw lifelike portraits from photographs is easier than learning how to sketch a portrait from a live person. The grid method is a great way to get started!
About the Author
My name is Peter Gray, and I have been interested in drawing and painting for a very long time. If you want more ideas and suggestions for your drawing, visit HowtoSketchFaces.com