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PENCIL PORTRAITS: Drawing Eyes, Nose and Lips

Theme: Learn Pencil Portrait Drawing

An artist wishing to draw a portrait with a pencil should make up his or her mind to keep certain aspects ready in memory. First and foremost is the drawing of eyes; the stage of drawing nose and lips comes afterwards. One can wait for it.

Portrait (pencil)

In order to do a perfect pencil portrait an artist needs study the subject first; here subject being the face of a person whose portrait is to be drawn. Eyes and nose posing crucial identity of a person, we should draw it realistically. It is important to know about the size and shapes of both the eyes. Artists generally believe that the lines while drawing nose should be hard. In fact nose requires more shading work and less lining.

Preparation: Before starting a pencil portrait of a man, woman or a child, just engage yourself with the eyes. Inspect carefully all the aspects of the eyes: the shape, the lower and upper eyelids, the pupil, the iris and the white portion. Carefully examine the shapes and shades of the lashes, the eyebrow and the portion of the eyes that catches the incoming light. These all comprises the set of complications in pencil portrait making; but it can be handled effectively if the artist is watchful for the same. Look at the above portrait for its masterly done shading work.

Drawing Procedure: You will have to use different types of shading. If the paper is white, the white of the eyes can be left on its own. One most important thing to remember while doing pencil portrait is that it is to be given to a person whose portrait it is: so the resemblance is crucial.

In the portrait of Fanny Cornforth, a well-know British model during nineteenth century, we can see the different aspects an artist would keep in mind while doing portrait of a beautiful woman. Look at this portrait, and you would find that how the artist Rossetti has tried injecting the feel of the woman's beauty into her portrait.

If the final portrait differs, even slightly, with his of her original face, it would not do well. So every stoke matters; every shade counts, every proportion speaks. If the set of eyes is drawn properly, the artist would not find it very difficult to draw the nose and the pair of lips. If you are to paint the portrait in oil or other medium, then the pencil drawing is of paramount importance. Only the properly drawn pencil drawing can be a suitable base for a final oil portrait.

Tips for the Beginners:

Pencils are numbered from 9H to 9B. The H letter represents the hardness and the B represents soft and black graphite. Higher the number, the harness or softness would increase. it would be better to use 2H to 3B pencils in the beginning. (Image Courtesy By Ricce [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons)

Theme: Drawing of faces: eyes, noses, lips and hair.
Blue and Green eyes

This is an example of Blue and Green eyes. These are the same eyes, however the color appears to be quite different depending on the surroundings. In the top picture, the eyes appear more blue or grey (Image Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)
Portrait Drawing: Before starting a pencil portrait of a man, woman or a child, just engage yourself with his or her eyes. Inspect carefully all the aspects of the eyes: the shape, the lower and upper eyelids, the pupil, the iris and the white portion. Carefully examine the shapes and shades of the lashes, the eyebrow and the portion of the eyes that catches the incoming light. These all comprises the set of complications in pencil portrait making; but it can be handled effectively if the artist is prepared from the beginning.

Drawing The Eyes: Before doing the pencil drawing of the eyelids, we should have in our mind that the natural colour of the eyelid would tend to be darker than the surrounding flesh and skin of the face. And once the eye is opened, the upper eyelid folds itself up. The lower lid would be a bit thinner than the upper one. However in cases of some people, there would be delicate skin folds in the eyelid; it would be a statement of the age of the person.

How to Draw Eyeballs

A BLUE EYE -by Srmagnetismo

Drawing The Eyes: When you sit for drawing a face of a portrait, you would keep certain basic skills in mind. First of all it is necessary to look minutely at the proportion of the eyes. The size of both the eyes matter to be viewed closely: whether the eyes are big, small or medium. The shape is to be understood closely. Then we can go drawing the inner parts of the eyes. If we draw the entire pupil of the eye we can have its sparkle and the liveliness. Some artist like to add shadow of the lid or the lashes falling on the iris or pupil; bur lesser we do such shading, more will the drawing become neatly pleasant. It would be advisable to put shadow of the lashes on adjacent skin area of the face, if you want to show some shading.

The Art: If you want to make the drawing of the eye more effective, adding of a dash of highlight across the iris and pupil would be a good idea. If you are to show the face going through the act of laughing, then do keep it in mind that while laughing the lower lid of a persons eye moves upward covering the iris. Adding such a feature would make the pencil drawing of an eye more lively.

Before doing the pencil drawing of the eyelids, we should have in our mind that the natural colour of the eyelid would tend to be darker than the surrounding flesh and skin of the face. And once the eye is opened, the upper eyelid folds itself up. The lower lid would be a bit thinner than the upper one. However in cases of some people, there would be delicate skin folds in the eyelid; it would be a statement of the age of the person. (Image Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

The Artists: The pencil drawing has been the primary work for any famous painting or the old masters work. You can display your pencil work, too, the art galleries and online art shows. All the figure drawing or most of the framed and famous paintings have their beginning from the pencil drawing. The colour pencils have also emerged as a separate medium of painting, like pastel colour painting and charcoal drawing.

The artists are unique persons; as every artist chooses his or her own visual language. Each and every painter experiments with different tools, different set of colour combinations and the textures. But the love for the pencil drawing makes an artist understand much about the anatomy of the finished work to come.


Pencil Drawing is, the primary art of painting, a foundation of painting.

Painting is an universal language, as it helps crossing the boundaries of nations, of races, of gender. You fill free while communicating through the art of painting. The painters, since the age of carvings on stones, have endeavoured to reveal their emotions on the surfaces they chose. They used the tools of their linking and availability. The oil paintings came after invent of the durable oils. But pencil drawing, and preparatory drawing by any other tools, has remained a major source of artists’ pleasure, leading to perfection. [ Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons ]

Like pencil drawing, the drawing or making portrait drawing and self portraying have been a favourite sport of the artists. It is one kind of blessing for us, too, as we can identify the artists of pre-photography period. Artists paint themselves as independent paintings or drawing; as well as they include their own presence in the middle of another work, too. The earliest known self-portrait is from Jan Van Eyck, the portrait he painted in the year 1433.

THE ART

In simple words we can identify the drawing, pencil drawing or ink drawing, as a distinct form from the art of painting itself. Here we are not using colours or brushes. But if the lead of the pencil were to be considered as a colour, then the pencil drawing is a branch of painting.

The portrait drawing can be done very effectively through the use of technique of pencil drawing. In the above drawing we can see the same. In this portrait, the artist has depicted his artistic skill by using the communicating lines and shading. Look at any stroke or any one dot on the face of the paper; you would find it speaking something about the person portrayed.

While using pencil drawing as the medium of communication through painting, the artists has to keep several factors in mind. The major factor is the appropriate balance of lines and shading. Shading is the technique of varying the tonal values on the base, usually the paper, to represent the shade of the subject itself as well as the placement of the shadows falling in the opposite side of the subject. Careful attention to reflected light, shadows, and highlights would result in a realistic rendition of the subject chosen for painting or drawing.

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