How to draw a portrait.
Drawing portraits using a grid.

How to draw a portrait in six easy steps.

Step 1:

How to draw a portrait. Sasha G by Voronin

The Grid method is another easy way to reproduce, scale down or enlarge a picture. The grid method basically means using a grid to divide your picture into segments. This is done by applying a grid over the top of the image prior to drawing it. This method can be applied to any type of picture and has proved very popular for many artists for scaling and enlarging photos, magazine pictures and any over photo media. Examples of using the grid method can even be seen in children's comics and books and referances have been made to its use dating back hundreds of years. With that said the grid method's a great way to start out and begin to get the idea of scale, proportion, line and shape.

Sasha by Voronin-Selected-picture

As you can see in the pictures above the only part of the picture I want to copy is the face and shoulders to just below the hairline. Using MS paint or whatever photo editing suite you have you can crop the picture accordingly as shown. If the picture you want to copy is in a magazine or book then you can either scan the image into your editing suite or if you just want to draw the image but not keep the picture then you can draw your grid straight onto the picture. See Below:


Marking out your grid.
To mark out your grid you will need to measure equally down each side of the picture using a pencil and a ruler making sure that all your spaces are the same, for example, 1cm apart. You will need to start at the top of the page and mark down all sides of the page so that when you join all your points together you will end up with a grid as shown in the picture. It is very important that you only use a sharp pencil and apply medium pressure when drawing your lines on the referance picture.

HINT: I have found that by using my PC to process the image I can sometimes print my image straight onto graph paper. This saves me a lot of time. This method works well if the image is quite light but you will find that darker images tend to hide the grid lines as can be seen around the hair in the picture.

I then scan the image.
I also use standard A4 grid paper as it fits nicely into my printer. By scanning the image of the picture with the grid applied it, it makes things easier when you come to draw the picture as you can enlarge the scanned image to get a better idea of how everything looks and exactly where each line crosses and meets on the grid.

How to draw a portrait using a drawing board.

Another method I use is a Drawing board. Using a drawing board is much quicker and I find that it is also more accurate than measuring down each side of the picture as the drawing board has a rule already marked out on it. All you need to do is line your paper up with the preset marks on the drawing board and then move the T-square between each point and draw a light line right across the page. Also, you only have to turn the page once to draw your lines both ways.

picture-with-grid-reference-pointsAdding reference points
To do this I number down each side and use the alphabet along the top and bottom of the page. This for me works quite well as for instants in the picture to the right you can see that the top of the head is located at reference points 1K, 1L, 1M and starts sloping down at reference point 2J and 2N and the tip of the shoulder is at the intersection point 15D. I always put the reference points on all sides of the page as it makes it far easier to reference a point when drawing as I tend to work from both sides of the page.

Preparing your blank page.

Once you have completed marking out your picture you will then need to do the same on a blank sheet of paper be it lose or in your sketchbook. I am using A4 again as this is for demonstration purposes as it is also the same size as the original picture that I want to copy but you can use any size of paper you like. Using A4 is the most convenient size paper to use as it fits nicely into most standard printers or scanners enabling you to scan, copy, edit or print your image if required. I will use my drawing board to do this as once the page is marked out I can attach the paper to it and begin my drawing.
See below:

prepared page If you want to scale up or enlarge the drawing then you will need to make your squares bigger. For example, if your grid on the picture has squares that are 1cm apart and you want to double the size of the image then you will have to allow 2cm's between each line. Remember also that you may need a bigger sheet of paper to fit the scaled-up image onto.


NB: you can purchase a drawing board similar to the one shown HERE!.

Top 5 shading mistakes.