Here, I'll give you some tips when drawing portraits(with a reference) that I hope will help you out some bit!
Fiirst off, you need to get a reference! I know some people don't like using references because of various reasons. But really, when you're doing it to improve your skills, you do need one. I believe that without a reference and using only your imagination, it won't be as accurate and you gain little new experience.
Spot the difference! This all I do when I use a reference, its a fun game that I've loved to play always as a kid and it really does help your observation and drawing skills. You can find the right proportion this way.
Sadly I didn't take a picture of the process earlier than this. In fact I only have this one. c:
The reference is from [ LINK ] by the way.
Now compare! I compare like this regularly as I draw so it stays proportionate.
Spot the differences!
With the help of your green lines you can really spot the mistakes.
- The eyes are not the same size, for example, the left eye on my drawing is too large and not horizontally straight.
- The ears come from the corner of the eye to the middle of the nostril.
- The nose is not horizontally straight as it is on the image, the left nostril is too low.
- The mouth is not centered and too far to the right.
- The curve of the bang is not curvy enough, and the hairline is angled as indicated.
- The angle of the shirt is incorrect (the green line on each sides are copy pasted so they should be the same angle)
- The collar isn't exactly the right shape.
These aren't the only mistakes I've found, I constantly compare and correct as I go along.
If you don't have photoshop to do this kind of thing or are too lazy to draw all the lines, just line up your pencil to compare the angles.
Find the most contrasting areas.
Some stuff are obvious, others make it really detailed C:
Blue are the lightest areas and black are the darkest.
- Around the edges of the chin and jaw, its much lighter because of the reflection of the light.
- Right under the eyeball and above the eyelashes, there is a line of skin, called the waterline, and its very highlighted.
- On the lower lip, the highlight sort of blends from the outside left of the lip into the center. There is also a lighter outline around the mouth.
- Right under the outer ends of each eyebrow its much brighter.
When you're done drawing and have already submitted, you should evaluate your drawing and see if you've learned anything new to remember doing for your next drawing or missed anything to make sure not to make the same mistake again :D
- Got lazy with hair, stop it.
- Why do I always make eyes so large!? Stop it!
- Didn't I tell myself to fix the dang mouth?
- Forgot the details I was going to put ;_;
- Why is the forehead so pale?!
- The contrast is soooo off.
- I didn't even finish the shirt either.
- I like my blending. Good job -pats own head-
- Oooo, I learned a better way to color the lips!
- WHAT!? I didn't know there was a thing called a waterline.
Ugh it feels horrible to see all these mistakes after finishing it, but thats a good thing meaning you've just improved!
I know I'm not an expert, I have much more to learn but I hope you get a little bit of something out of it or get inspired learning about my process!
Just a few last words:
Keep looking back to your reference! Many people draw things to what they think it should look rather what they actually do look. When you look at a reference and turn away, you have a few seconds until your brain loses the accurate image of it and then you just start guessing!
"A heightened sense of the observation of nature is one of the chief delights that have come to me through trying to paint." - Winston Churchill