The human portrait

I’ve recently taken up coloured pencils and attempted to learn to use them.

I find that I am drawn to portraiture and that I like to use only three coloured pencils – red, yellow and blue.

When my daughter and son-in-law visited us recently, we took them to a beach restaurant. I noticed a stranger with a very striking face and said how I would love to attempt his portrait, so my son-in-law took a couple of snapshots of the guy.

I did the portrait and here’s the journey from beginning to end.

Now let’s take a closer look at the end result and compare it to the photograph.

The first thing I see is that they are not the same person! Now why is that?

Look at how flat the highlighted area is in the sketch compared to reality. His left cheek is a lot chubbier than I captured and that’s all because the shading is wrong.

Then his nose is, in reality, bigger than sketched and because of that my line from right cheek to chin is wrong.

My forehead to the hairline is too high and the hair on his right is too flat against his forehead.

His lower lip doesn’t droop as much as in my sketch.

That’s what is so challenging. A millimetre more or less in one place can cause a knock-on effect and change a face dramatically.

Of course, that doesn’t matter so much if you don’t know the person, but when you’re sketching friends, family or self, it’s critical.


    1. Hi again Paulina,
      Glad you get something from my articles! This art thing has grabbed me. That was my first portrait done with just the 3 primary colours. I’m now on my 4th and hopefully improving!

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