There is nothing more natural then pencil on paper for an artist. Drawing is the root of all forms of art, and still one of my favorite ways to capture it. In the last few years I have figured out a way to draw pencil portraits a tad more easily. So if any of you have any problems with portrait drawing then by all means, read on! (Or if you're just nosy like I am read on too.) This blog is featuring a drawing of my grandfather Arthur, which I did yesterday. :-)
Now, The first question I always used to start with when drawing a portrait is... "OMG, where do I begin?!" I tend to focus on the head first, usually somewhere in the middle of the face, like the nose or the glasses in this case, usually the face will be the center point of your drawing so it's good to position it where you would like it to be, then draw the rest! The first step I do is lightly using a hard lead (I used an F pencil here) draw all the outlines of things, that way it's easier to fill in afterwards.
The next step I do, and this is new for me, but it works GREAT, is with a very soft lead, (I use a 6B, but you can go darker using an 8B) I draw in all the darkest areas, usually which would appear black in the photo that you are using. If you have a hard time seeing these places just scan the photo and up the contrast so they stand out more, especially if you're using a photo without much contrast.
Step 3 I use a slightly harder lead, but still pretty dark, in this case I used a 4B pencil. This is just to start shading in the shadows in the picture, usually they are from or around the dark areas that you already put in.
Annnnnd step 4! You add... everything else! To outline, and shade the rest of the portrait I use a 2B which is lighter still. The key to adding detail, in this case for all the lovely wrinkles, is to have simply... a sharp lead. Thats it! Just remember, when doing details not to add too much pressure, less is better. You don't want your subjects face to look like the Sahara desert am I right? ;-)
Here is a detail of the face. The wrinkles are still soft, not dark and hard. In this case I made his wrinkles a tad softer than in the photo I used for reference. He looks a bit younger this way. He would have been 101 years old this year. :-) Also, another quick tip, see the light bouncing off the glass lens? An easy way to achieve this is to use your eraser and lightly dab and rock the edge of the eraser back and fourth on the spot where the light shines. You get a nice faded affect this way. Works for me! :-)
Anyhow, thats it for now. Try drawing a portrait yourself! It's easier than you think. I did this as a Mother's day gift for my mom. There is something very special about giving a gift made by you and your two hands. :-)