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Learning New Ways to Draw Portraits

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Creating art has been a passion for many years. Working in commercial art, teaching art to children, and doing portraits on consignment.

Drawing from a ytube tutorial

Drawing from a ytube tutorial

Andrew Loomis Drawing Method

My main motivation to start drawing again was to improve my portrait drawing skills. I initially found a great instructor on ytube called Proko who teaches the Andrew Loomis method of drawing. He makes it easy to follow along and fun. This method of drawing has helped me to recognize the underlying bones and muscles of the face that give it structure and volume. It divides the face up into sections making it easier to place the facial features in correct proportion on the page.

Proko also does a great job of breaking down the individual features of the face in his tutorials. Focusing on just drawing the eyes, ears, mouth and nose from different angles and perspectives has been very helpful.

Along with watching and following Proko's ytube tutorials I purchased Andrew Loomis's book to study from. It's full of great examples and directions on how to draw infants, small children, men and women. It also goes into how to draw hands in great detail starting with the anatomy of the hand. Hours can be spent learning all the techniques on its pages. I've found it to be an excellent resource.

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Side view of Loomis head

Side view of Loomis head

The Reilly Method

The Reilly Method of drawing portraits is very different and exciting to try. It focuses on the anatomy of the head using planes of the face and natural curves. I've found a great way to practice this method is to draw the planes and curves of the face over photographs in magazines. I also practice drawing the face from different angles using this method. Proko teaches both the Reilly and Loomis methods of drawing.

Reilly Method Guidelines

Reilly Method Guidelines

Reilly Method from a photo

Reilly Method from a photo

Combining the Loomis and Reilly Methods

Utilizing both of these methods has not only improved my drawing skills when it comes to portraits, but my overall confidence in my abilities to draw. Taking the time to study and practice everyday for at least an hour has helped me to improve. Some days I'll spend two to three hours drawing and don't even notice that much time has past. Things that I struggled with in the beginning are so much easier now. I don't expect perfection, but do seek to create a likeness in my portraits and correct proportions overall.

Bones and Planes of the Face

Bones and Planes of the Face

Art Instructor Tutorials via ytube

Watching and drawing along with a wide variety of art instructors on ytube has broadened my skill set for sure. I find myself experimenting with color more and attempting new ways of learning how to draw better. My own style is developing everyday.

I especially enjoy working along with Chris Hong who's an amazing art instructor of Chris Hong Art. She uses fresh vibrant colors in her work and has a practical and easy way of teaching. I like how she approaches art and enjoy her sense of humor. She also talks openly about overcoming struggles that happen with her art. We all have lives separate from creating art and she acknowledges that.

Drawing from Chris Hong ytube Tutorial

Drawing from Chris Hong ytube Tutorial

Jacki O from a photo

Jacki O from a photo

Photo References

Working from photos with a strong light source work the best as they give you great shadow areas to build shapes in and around features. I've found reference photos in magazines, online or even in my own family photo albums. Magazine photos are also great to draw directly onto blocking out the shadow areas. Its just another way to see and practice mapping out the features and structure of the face.

Pencil sketch from a photo

Pencil sketch from a photo

Colored pencil added to original sketch

Colored pencil added to original sketch

Sketch from photo

Sketch from photo

Colored pencil added to original sketch

Colored pencil added to original sketch

© 2020 Laura Ross

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