The human face holds almost endless fascination for the portrait artist with young women often being the subject. The interplay between the shining eyes and the broad grin of a youthful girl holds many challenges for the artist drawing a picture of the female face. If you're sketching a smiling girl as part of your ongoing quest to improve as an artist, keep several things in mind. The purpose of a sketch is to quickly capture the essence of the object. It may not be a perfect rendition of the smiling girl, but rather a exercise to improve your drawing and observational skills.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Photo of smiling girl
- Drawing supplies
Find a picture of a smiling girl. Choose one that captures your interest; you typically draw better when you draw subjects you care about like your sister or daughter. Choose a photo that's at least an 8-by-10-inches or larger. You'll see the details more clearly.
Draw a grid on the photo with your pen and ruler. Make squares that are between 3/4 inch and 1 inch wide.
Mark your drawing paper so that it's the same size as your reference photo. Then make a grid on your paper with the same size squares as the ones on your picture of the smiling girl. Make light lines with pencil.
Use the grid to block in the smiling girl's features. For example, if you start with the smile, go to that area on your photo. Notice where her smile falls on the grid. If it's six squares up from the bottom and five squares over from the edge of the picture, go to that same square on the grid on your paper. Look at how the lines forming the smile curve in relation to the straight grid square. Make the lines that you draw curve at the same angle that the smile does in the picture. Draw the lines so that they hit your paper's grid square in the same places that they do on the grid of the picture. Repeat this process until you have a basic outline of all the girl's facial features. (See Resources)
Erase the grid lines, taking care not to erase the lines you've drawn to create the smiling girl's face.
Fill in the details of the girl's face using gesture drawing. Gesture drawing fills in the details of the object through a series of scribbles that attempt to capture the lines and shading of the object you're drawing. For example, if you're not exactly sure how to block in the girls dimples or the bow of her upper lip, scribble them in. You may have to restate the strokes several times until you get them right. Restating is when you draw and line and realise that it isn't quite right, so you draw another line next to it closer to the mark. Keep doing this until the lines fall in the right place.
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- "Keys to Drawing"; Bert Dodson; 1985
- "How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way"; Stan Lee and John Buscema; 1978
- "Sketchbook for the Artist"; Sarah Simblet; 2005
- "How to Draw Lifelike Portraits from Photographs"; Lee Hammond; 1995
- "Coloured Pencil Portraits Step-by-Step"; Ann Kullberg; 1999
- "The Natural Way to Draw"; Kimon Nicolaides; 1941