How to draw a portrait.
Drawing shoulders, arms, and breasts.
How to draw shoulders.The Shoulders and Upper body.
In this part, you will be learning how to draw shoulders, completing the upper body and fine-tuning the details.
How to draw Shoulders.
If your subject has long hair that extends down over the body. I would first recommend that you deal with the areas of the body that the hair covers.
Adding detail to the shoulders.
First, I will add some detail to the right shoulder. I will do this as my subject's hair comes down over her shoulder to below her neckline and covers it. When learning to draw shoulders I found it easier to add the shoulders and any other upper body areas first. I then blend them in and add the hair after. Doing the hair first tends to make it more difficult to blend those areas of the body. If the hair is, completed first it can smudge causing it to become lost or lose its natural flowing look.
If your subject's hair covers any other parts of the body always shade and blend those areas first.
Take care not to shade beyond the hairline that you sketched out when doing your initial outline. If you cover too much of your outline you may lose the natural line of the hair. You may also find it difficult to get the natural flowing lines of the hair when completing the portrait. If however, you have a good eye and can re-do it freehand you need not worry too much.
How to draw hair.
Tip: 7 If when you have finished drawing the shoulders and blending the body you have difficulty locating where the hairline is and where to add it. Use a ruler to lightly re-plot the hairline. First, using your reference picture, measure from the line of your grid where your numbering and alphabet are located. Measure as far across or down your picture as you need to, to pick a prominent point. For example, pick where the hair ends or curves at its widest point. By placing your ruler along the visible lines outside of the portrait area mark the points on your portrait with a light dot.
If like me you are using a drawing board this is a lot quicker as you will already have a ruler marked out on your drawing board. You can also use the slide rule to line up your reference points. Once done, and you are happy that your dots are in the right place and that you now know where the hair is located begin to carefully join the dots together. Just like doing Dot to Dot.
Continuing drawing the hair.
Once I finished drawing the shoulders and upper body I then began to extend my hairline further using the same techniques discussed earlier, see (Hair and Eyes.)
This method can be tedious but the end product is always worth it. When drawing hair, concentrate and remember to take your time. This is your work so there is no rush or pressure to hurry it.
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 visible hair. My subject has a lot of loose parted hair over her left shoulder as can be seen above. This means 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 pencil or a technical draft pencil if you have one.
The portrait is now almost complete.
I have also added the shadow to the crease in her right armpit where her arm is close to her body. A light shadow along the edge of her left breast and some light shading the top visible edge of her right nipple.
How to finish a portrait.
It is now time to make any small adjustments that you may want to make and to clean up your portrait. Remove what is left of the grid and any excess gaphite or smudges around the portrait.
I have also added the shadow to the crease in her right armpit where her arm is close to her body. A light shadow along the edge of her left breast and some light shading to the top visible edge of her right nipple.
If there are any areas where separate strands of hair come out of the main picture onto the grid carefully remove the excess graphite from around these areas. You can then add the separate 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 too much as you may find that instead of improving the portrait you may make it worse. Sometimes less is more.