Exercises to stretch your portrait drawing muscles

I’ve been busy writing a series of articles for The Leisure Painter about watercolour portraits. After all if I can paint a cow I can paint a person. Right?

The challenge is to train your hand to do what your eye wants and secondly, to learn to believe what you see.

We all have so much experience stored in our brains that we end up seeing what we think we should see and not what is actually there. Because faces are so important to us, this really kicks in when drawing portraits. So I’ve thought of some exercises to help and put a film lesson together.

1. Understand the perfect proportions. How is the ideal face put together?

2. Train your hand and eye to work together through blind continuous line drawing.

3. Cut to the chase in a timed drawing. What’s important and don’t get caught up in the eyelashes before you have drawn the head.

4. Upside down drawing. Now you will believe what you see and not see what you believe.

Here’s the film. Hope you enjoy it!  https://youtu.be/pY5sujyR9a4

If you have any tips for achieving a likeness please share them!

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