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.
Even if you were not gifted at birth, it doesn’t really matter, the most important ingredient is a passionate desire to acquire the skill. Whatever stage you are at it is possible for you to fulfill your passion to become a really good artist capable of excellent work.
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.
The third part is the need to fully appreciate the basic structure and various proportions of the human face. It is quite amazing considering the amount of times we look into someone’s face and yet we notice so little detail really.
The fourth part includes looking closely at the facial features, meaning the hair, eyes, nose, mouth and ears. The lack of real detail that most of us notice in these areas is pretty amazing too. 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. It is to do with how the brain works, the right half of the brain that is responsible for images processes the information holistically rather than a step-by-step detailed account. As a result of that we frequently see what we expect to see rather than what we are actually seeing. A demonstration of the point I’m making is a while ago my partner had her long hair cut a bit shorter than she wanted it and felt very self-conscious about how she looked and then was surprised that nobody noticed the difference.
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.
Then finally the glue that puts this all together and brings your drawings to life is “shading” thus creating a 3 dimensional result and brings it all to life. Shading is not something that comes naturally for most of us but most certainly a simple skill that can be learnt.
How to draw a portrait
June 25 2011 11:52 pm | Uncategorized