This website is self supportingLearn how: Drawing women's faces. A step by step guide on portraits.

Portraiture. The female face.
How to draw a portrait using the grid method.

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How to draw a portrait in six easy steps.
The Shoulders and Upper body.


Step 6:

You are almost finished and your portrait is now ready for the final stages which are doing the shoulders, completing the upper body and fine tuning the details.

The Shoulders:
Portrait-stage-5 The Mouth, Chin and Neck. If, as with my subject, your subject has long hair which extends down over the body I would recommend first that you deal with the areas of the body that the hair covers. Again working from left to right.
I decided to first add some detail to the right shoulder as my subjects hair comes down over the shoulder to below the neck line. I personally find it easier to first add the shoulders and any other areas of the upper body that the hair covers before blending them in and adding the hair, as by doing the hair first it can make it more difficult to blend those areas of the body as there is a risk that it can all become smudged in together and the hair is lost or loses its natural flowing look. If your subjects hair extends down across any other parts of the body then it is again best to shade and blend those areas also, taking care not to shade beyond the bulk of the hair cover, that you sketched out when doing your outline, as if you cover to much of your outline and lose the natural line of the hair, unless of course you have a good eye and can do it free hand, you may find it difficult to get the natural flowing lines of the hair when you try to complete the portrait.

Once I was happy with the look of the shoulder and upper body I then began to extend my hairline further using the same techniques discussed earlier, see (Hair and Eyes.)

How to draw a portrait-stage-6

Using a drawing board Tip: 7 If when you have finished blending the body you have difficulty locating where the hair line is and where to add it, you can use a ruler to lightly plot the line of the hair. First, using your reference picture measure from the line of your grid where your numbering and alphabet are located as far across or down your picture as you need to too pick a prominent point, for example pick where the hair ends or curves at its widest point, and by placing your ruler along the visible lines outside of the portrait that you haven't covered or erased mark the points on your portrait with a light dot. Once this is done and you are happy that your dots are in the right place and you now know where the hair is located carefully join the dots together. Just like Dot to Dot.
This method can be tedious but the end product is always worth it, concentrate and remember to take your time, it's your work. If like me you are using a drawing board then this is a lot quicker as you will already have a ruler marked out on you drawing board and you can use the slide rule to line up your reference points.

Once I have finished the bulk of the hair as shown above I will be at the point where I will need to add any individual strands of hair that are visible. My subject has a lot of loose parted hair over her left shoulder as can be seen above so I will need to carefully add each separate strand to build up the overall look of the hair.

Tip: 8 To do this you will need to use a sharp pencil or you can use a propelling pencilPentel Graph Gear 1000 Automatic Drafting Pencil, 0.5mm or technical draft pencil Automatic Drafting Pencil, 0.7mm if you have one.

portrait-6aThe portrait is now almost complete, I have added the shadow to the crease in her right armpit where her arm is close to her body and added a light shadow along the edge of her left breast also lightly shading the top visible edge of her right nipple.

It is now time to make any small adjustments that you may want to make and to clean up your portrait by removing what is left of the grid and any over smudges around the portrait. If like me you have any areas where there are a few strands of hair that come out of the main picture onto the grid you will need to carefully remove any excess from around these areas and if necessary add the hairs back in. When making any adjustments to your portrait only you know what is acceptable and whether or not you are happy with the finished portrait. It is up to you how much you do. The only advice I will give you is not to do to much as you may find that instead of improving the portrait you may make it worse. Sometimes less is more.

Completion.

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The Grid Method.
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