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Learn how to become a portrait artist Darens

2 June, 2010



It is many folks belief that the skills of an artist are what you are either born with or not. There are of course many people for which that statement is true and are born with a god given talent that naturally comes to the surface without effort. I am glad to say that today anyone can become an expert artist if they are taught the right method. It is possible, that even people with no apparent skills at all can be shown how to develop quite quickly into a good portrait artist.

Regardless of the stage you have reached in your desire to develop into a successful portrait artist the most important asset you will require is a passion to succeed.

Secondly you will need to make a commitment to practise what you learn and be prepared to fail many times along the way before really pleasing results occur. This is where the fear of failure and being a perfectionist can seriously hold you back from success. If you are a bit of a perfectionist then maybe think about this, and ask yourself the question “Do you honestly know anyone who is perfect ? Be honest, he or she does not even exist, so why pursue something that doesn’t even exist ? The main problem with perfectionism is that it is usually driven by a fear of failing and it is ironic, but so many times those driven to avoid failure at all costs are forced to choose avoidance and therefore fail to achieve any kind of success. A final message to those would be perfectionists amongst us, it is definitely not all bad news to have that attitude, so take heart, the secret is to swap the impossible task rule of trying to be perfect to a new rule of always striving to do your best. That way you can always achieve your goal and it’s kind of obvious but how could you ever do better than your best anyway. There is of course nothing to stop you trying hard to do even better in the future.

Thirdly it is important to have good understanding of the structure and the proportions of the face. It is surprising how little most of us really notice about the layout and general proportions of a face, considering we look at them every day, maybe even hundreds of them.

And fourthly, an insight into the five main components of a face, ie eyes, ears, nose, mouth and hair. The same is true here as well, in terms of the lack of precision and detail we notice of the individual parts of a face. Although we look at people’s faces every day, we tend to only get an overall picture of whoever we are looking at and many of us would struggle to even give a detailed description of our love ones let alone strangers. The explanation of this phenomena is to do with how the right half of our brain functions when processing images in our mind. Working at unbelievable speeds it registers the image as a whole object and this results in seeing faces as a single object and not as a precise sum of the individual parts. This often leaves us with a vague overall picture that we easily recognize but in reality is inaccurate. To illustrate that phenomenon at work, a client of mine had dyed her hair a different colour and when I saw her I didn’t notice any change but just recognized who she was.
That example just highlights the fact that we have a tendency to view things holistically but proves our recognition, although adequate for most purposes, is somewhat inaccurate. It is the awareness of this fact that can help our standard of drawing to rise considerably by being more diligent in our observations.

The ability to be able to apply shading to the drawing is the fifth and final element that brings all the components into one complete and realistic looking portrait. It is a skill that evades most us until we are shown the simple to learn the method.

How to draw a portrait

August 18 2011 12:44 am | Uncategorized



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