Portrait Composition Tips

This video walks through basic tips on how to compose a portrait, citing strategies for placement of the head, neck and shoulders to create a dynamic composition. Using examples from both contemporary art and art history, concrete, practical tips for how to consider the posture of the neck and shoulders, the mass of the hair, the range of textures and surfaces in portraits, are explored. Other elements, such as the potential for distortion and caricature by exaggerating the proportions and facial features are explained. Learn about the infinite potential for visual expression with a portrait composition. Discussion led by Art Prof Clara Lieu.

Video Walkthrough

  • A portrait is not only the face
  • Lighting in a portrait
  • Blocking large shapes
  • Posture of the figure
  • Palette knife
  • Proportions
  • Distortion in a portrait
  • Stylistic choices
  • Structure of the face

More on Composition

Artists Mentioned

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