Draw 3 sets of 5-10 min. drawings which address line and tone. Include the head and neck.
- Set 1: line only
- Set 2: tone only
- Set 3: line + tone
Aim to draw 12 heads per set, for a total of 36 head drawings.
- Portraits, Children
- Portraits, Female
- Portraits, Male
- Portraits by Diane Arbus & Nan Goldin
- Face Profiles (Flickr)
- Male Face (Flickr)
- Pieter Hugo, Alfred Stieglitz, Dario Calmese, Diane Arbus, Dorothea Lange, Edward S. Curtis, Herb Ritts, John Edmonds, Peter Lindbergh, Richard Avedon, Sebastião Salgado, Steve McCurry, Vivian Maier, Yousuf Karsh, Zanele Muholi, Robert Mapplethorpe, Walker Evans, Catherine Opie, Dorothy Norman, Irving Penn, George Platt Lynes, Guglielmo Plüschow, Edward Weston, Francesca Woodman, Franz Grainer, Imogen Cunningham, Laura Aguilar, Ruth Bernhard, Clifford Owens, Bruce Weber, D’Angelo Lovell Williams
Ashley Tanelle, Triplegem
Use any traditional or digital art medium. For traditional media, try to avoid media that don’t allow for a range of widths in your marks, like a mechanical pencil or ballpoint pen.
Drawing media like Conté à Paris Crayons are helpful for the tonal drawings. You can draw with the tip for thin lines and the side for broader strokes of tone.
Visit these pages for specific supply lists: colored pencil, conté crayon, graphite, soft pastel, oil pastel, pencil, charcoal. Explore a comprehensive list of all drawing supplies in Part 1 of our Drawing Curriculum.
Hear from an Art Prof Student
“I thought I was bad at facial expressions and I still think they can be subtle and tricky to get right, but I feel a bit more confident with them now.
I know I can build it up, not have to get every line correct right away. I learned that a lot of art is a back and forth, give and take. It’s gonna be ugly before it gets good. Sometimes just getting away from your art for a bit is key.“Jen Noelle
How to Draw Female Portraits in Conté Crayon
See a drawing demo on how to draw a portrait in profile. Explained are tips for how to create a convincing portrayal of a profile, including what facial structures are important to emphasize. Techniques for rendering light and shadow to create a convincing portrait are discussed as well. Demo by Art Prof Clara Lieu and Teaching Artist Jordan McCracken-Foster.
Top 5 Portrait Drawing Mistakes
Here are the 5 top mistakes artists make when drawing portraits. (with a little help from Benedict Cumberbatch) Mistakes such as not addressing the skeletal structure of the face, adding details too soon, starting with the eyes, nose, and mouth, etc. The reasons why these actions can be considered mistakes are explained and then followed up with simple solutions. Demo by Art Prof Clara Lieu.
Artistic Anatomy Lecture: The Face
This video explains how to the structure of the head and neck are organized. All of the major bony landmarks are covered, as well as how to identify them on a person. In addition to explaining how to articulate bones like the mandible, the zygomatic arch, etc., this lecture shows how to group these bones together to create a convincing portrait. Lecture by Art Prof Clara Lieu.