How to draw a portrait from a photo and become more accurate for life drawing

How to draw a portrait from a photo and become more accurate for life drawing



hi my name is flora and today I will try to show you hydro pole treat from a photograph while trying to improve my skills at live drawing I will make this drawing from a photograph but at the same time imagine that I'm drawing a real person keeping that in mind I won't use any technique that can't be applied to a situation where a model sits in front of me so forget about tracing paper grids projectors or any kind of geometric measuring tool I won't use any of that the best measuring tool is your eye and it takes a lot of practice to use it properly it's about your eyes and brain learning to work together little by little I want to show you a few tips that you can use in your practice to get better prepared for life portrait drawing this exercise doesn't replace life drawing but can train you for it these tips are good to train your eye to become more accurate they're not really relevant if your plan is to draw only from photographs and rely solely on tracing paper they can make a huge difference if you'd like to draw someone's portrait from life okay let's start I start by loosely drawing the top and bottom marks I first place a small line on the paper and then check it to see if it's at the same level as the top of the model then I try to find the width of my subject and do the same thing try to be precise with the first lines as they are like the foundations of a building let's talk about the set up for a moment when I use a reference picture I always try to print it at the size of my drawing my final drawing will have the exact size of my photograph this way my brain will be less focused on scaling and more able to compare and appreciate the differences between the model and the drawing I place my drawing in my photo next to each other if I had a real person sit as a model I would probably put a chair next to the edge of my drawing board a little behind and as close as possible from eye level this drawing exercise focuses primarily on comparing the reference picture and the drawing and it's a lot easier to do a comparison if everything is at eye level and at the same size if you have to move your head all the time and worry about scaling then you would lose some valuable information I also work vertically while standing up in front of my drawing board standing up is a good way to look at your drawing with a more accurate eye it's important to move be able to step back and not always look down at your drawing with the same angle of course you can do perfect drawings why said it but to train your eyes the standing position has real benefits also important don't work small may seem easier but it's not work on a decent scale not too big and not too small I measure by doing the only thing that I could do if the real person was in front of me hold my pencil in front of my eye keep your arms straight and steady and compare the links between the point of your lead and your thumb check the lengths first on the model then the drawing and to be sure check once or twice again important thing about checking for accuracy always use your eyes first and your tools next look at the drawing and try to find something that's not right then and only then use your pencil in front of your eyes when you draw from life it's always a good idea to have a mirror with you your brain becomes used to your drawing after a while looking at it in the mirror is a good way to force your brain to see what he does not want to see because you have the photo right next to you it can be tempting to take a ruler and measure on the flat surface but try to avoid that you want to get your eye to be able to judge proportions it's hard at first but if you don't make it easy for you it will come don't hesitate to place mark and structure lines on the paper this approach consists in placing rough information to then be able to refine it it's like sculpting you start with a large block of stone and rough lines and then little by little you refine it like a sculpture would do I don't worry about the features that the face at the moment I only consider the abstract shapes the biggest blocks I also stand back a lot I look at both my drawing and the model from a distance makes it a lot easier to spot the mistakes this is a benefit from drawing in a standing position again I don't consider the features of the face individually I try to locate the bedbug line also called terminator line is the line separating the lights from the shadows I work only the main lines in the beginning and I try to avoid getting into details too early the tendency is to get absorbed by details and this can be a problem by working the big blocks first I make sure that the structure of the portraits is solid I checked the angles by holding my pencil in front of me at an angle a good trick is to locate a strong line and mentally extend it as if it never stopped try to see what other lines it crosses what kind of shapes it would create it really helps with the other structure of the drawing when I'm satisfied with my line drawing I start looking at the big masses of values I covered the entire shadow side with a light and even value this will help me check the accuracy of my portrait in a new way not with lines but with mass it's important to know that our visual perception doesn't really work with lines lines in fact our creation of our brain they don't exist in the visible world what our eyes actually perceive is a juxtaposition of large value masses like a giant puzzle of shapes and values this is why if you try to draw what you see it's best to go beyond line drawing I am NOT shading at the moment I just work on separating lights and shadows with a middle value so that I can check and compare again I am trying to make patches of values in marriage at this point it's important that you don't rush to shading look at your drawing take your time and try to be very picky in a portrait the smallest difference can make or break the likeness I try to squint a lot it blows out my field of vision and makes the big value masses more appearance I spend a lot of time off-camera doing nothing but looking at the drawing and the model back and forth and a lot of new things appear I am still not thinking this is Maya this is nose etc but I try to see abstract shapes on the model and reproduce them as accurately as I can if this is too difficult to see abstract shapes for you a nice trick is to look for various shapes in the drawing and give them an identity for instance I see some sort of mosquito head in the shadow of the upper lip I know it may sound weird and you probably don't see it but doesn't matter see what you want to see it can really help refine the shadow shapes in your drawings next I try to locate the very darkest part of the drawing and go as dark as my pencil can go this is when the shading starts I will not give too much details on how I do the shading because this isn't really the point of this video here you can have fun and shade using the techniques that you like remember to stay flexible the problem of shading is that it makes the drawing looks finished and it makes any correction a lot harder be aware that you may still need to change a lot of things to be perfectly accurate you now as my drawing progresses I go further into details the more advanced your drawing will be the more information it will give you on what to do next I really go around and look for things that still need to be changed the danger is to feel satisfied too early and miss a lot of simple tweaks to make I swing my eyes back and forth quickly on my model and drawing I go pretty fast back and forth back and forth back and forth numerous times and things start to appear I pay attention to the quality of the edges I don't really blend much but to kill a hard edge I sometimes use a little brush or my fingers okay so this is the final result this is not really the kind of drawing that I would do all the time but for practice it works pretty well to check your progression ask someone to give you fatigue even someone that doesn't really know anything about drawing because looking at each other is a huge part of your communication we are all pretty good at spotting very subtle details in the human face you can also use tools and transfer paper but only in the end and when you are finished if you are interested in this approach and want to take it a step further I recommend that you get there re-edition of the drawing course manual by Charles bark and Jean emotional it will provide you with a large number of plates that are designed to be copied with pretty much the same technique I gave you here alright thanks for watching don't hesitate to comment and subscribe and see you next time have fun drawing bye

50 thoughts on “How to draw a portrait from a photo and become more accurate for life drawing”

  1. excellents conseils, j'ai découvert récemment ton blog et je dois dire que j'aime beaucoup. merci pour cette générosité dont tu fais preuve en partageant tes connaissances .

  2. You didn't talk about how to use the pencil as a magic wand? 😀 Thank you so much for this tutorial.

  3. Did you erase your block shapes and draw it more accurately when it was time for that or did you add on to them to create the accuracy? I hope that question made sense.

  4. I believe this is the 3rd time I'm watching this video, but I feel like I'm watching it the 1st time I love your lessons thank you!

  5. "It's about using your eyes"….1:00 hearing this as I struggle to focus from that horrible blurred image 🤢 Other than this, really great video, Thanks.

  6. To become prepared for life drawing you need to draw from real life. Pictures will never teach you anything. Plus that it's a lot easier to draw a picture

  7. Yes, not very helpfull. It’s like giving a student a French horn and say you must use your ears. Good luck with that method.

  8. Its wonderfull and very inspirational to watch you drawing and at the same time listen to your explanation of what you do- I also remark your way of Holding your pencil and the very light dancing gestures of your hand and arm – and what a result – thank you for sharing

  9. After watching your video I'm going to start drawing vertical. Make a drawing board and mount it on my easel. That way I can raise the drawing to standing eye level. Thanks you. Your work is fantastic!! I will have to try the mirror technique.

  10. Tip: If you are nearsighted and need glasses, you don't really need to squint. Take off your glasses and it'll have the same effect.

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  12. I wish you had not fast forwarded through the forehead values because they are awesome! How do you get your lead to look like that without it breaking?

  13. Even though he emphasizes that drawing from a photo doesn't replace drawing from life, I object. When you draw from a photograph you draw shapes and not form. A perfect example of this is the exact reproduction of the shadow from the nose. If you drew this from life your shadow would not fall like that. The Nasolabial fold changes the direction of the shadow on the face, when drawn from a photograph it seems flat. Also that ear is so inaccurate it is ridiculous. A photograph should only be used as reference not to copy from.

    I know it is hard work and slow going, but you will learn much more when you draw from life!

  14. I don't have a printer as I am not a regular artist.. I make potraits of my friends from seeing from my phone..
    And most of the time I don't get the right proportions. What can I do?

  15. TO BAD YOU COULDN'T HAVE ZOOMED IN MORE, THIS WAS VERY HARD TO SEE FOR ME!! JUST SAYING, I WAS VERY INTERESTED BUT YES, ALSO VERY DISAPOINTED! MAYBE NEXT TIME!!!

  16. Could you just go in with creating shapes with value, since its easier for the eye? Like start with a super light value for the entire head, then deepen for the shadows and erase for the highlights?

  17. I'm an artist as well. This is an amazing piece. I notice little things. The eyes seem to look at a different angle from photo. It might be because there is more light reflection in photo than drawing, making the illusion. I refuse to trace!!!

  18. Wow I use the same technique when using references. I'm nowhere near as amazing at drawing as you but subconsciously I have used this same technique from the start.

  19. TRACING with a pencil the back side of a photograph or using a PROPORTIONAL DIVIDER is not cheating when you have to do with the ACCURACY of PROPORTIONS —– the real FREE HAND hyper realistic artist knows very well 3 things after years of daily practice and those are SHADING BLENDING TONING —- mirrors or using a pencil is a waste of time and energy

  20. Merci beaucoup pour cette vidéo, très utile! J'ai pu faire un super portrait de James Hetfield XD (aussi j'adore ta voix!)

  21. This video is full of priceless tips! I wish I watched it earlier to avoid obvious mistakes and frustration 🙂
    Thank you! 🌸

  22. I just found your videos today and I must say I'm so happy that I did! I truly appreciate your teaching style and your artistic skills are fabulous. Looking forward to watching more of your content! Nice to meet you! 🙂

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