Introduction & Materials

Course Material List

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Introduction & Materials (Click & select video quality)

Lesson Transcript

Hi, this is Ethan Nguyen for and welcome to this course on the fundamentals of portrait drawing. Here a brief overview of what we’re going to cover in this course.

First, we’ll cover two different ways of drawing a portrait lay-in, including the very beginner-friendly Grid Method and the more versatile Loomis Method where you’ll learn to construct the head from various angles.

Next, we’ll build upon the Loomis Method and learn to draw a more three dimensionalmannequinized head. This will help us become familiar with the planes of the face, as well as how to construct simplified versions of the features.

Then, we’ll cover the fundamentals of shading where you’ll learn concepts like the 5 Elements of Shading and the Rules of Realism to help make your drawings look three dimensional.

This knowledge will dovetail very nicely with the next section where we’ll dive deeper into each of the facial features and learn about their anatomy and structure, followed by step-by-step exercises where we’ll draw them from beginning to finish.

And finally, we’ll combine everything we’ve learned thus far to draw a complete, fully rendered portrait step-by-step.

Now, here are the materials you’re going to need for this course.

I like to use an HB graphite pencil to sketch in the lay-in, a 2B pencil for the initial rendering, and a 7B pencil (or something similar) to create the really dark shadows and add contrast. You can get a whole pencil set that will have the whole range of pencil in it.

For more detailed work, I also like to use a Staedtler Mars 780 Technical Mechanical Pencil, 2mm. The cool thing about this little guy is that he can keep a very sharp tip for quite a while. If you’re going to get this, you’ll also need a special sharpener (Staedtler Mars Rotary Action Lead Pointer for 2mm Leads) and some replacement lead (Staedtler Mars Carbon Lead, 12 x 2mm, HB). The lead comes in a variety of softness.

Of course, this tool is optional, so if you don’t want to get it, you can just use your regular graphite pencil. Just make sure to keep it sharp.

We’ll need a kneaded eraser for fixing mistakes and lifting highlights.

As far as drawing surface goes, I like to practice on regular printing paper. Instead of throwing used printing paper away, flip them around and use them for practice. I like to keep a pile of these next to my drawing desk. It’s cheap, better for the environment, and you can practice a lot and not be afraid to make mistakes.

If you want to draw bigger, there are also large format printing paper that you can get. Just remember to use both side!

Now that’s just for practice. For archival pieces, I’ll stop being a cheap skate and use the fancier Strathmore 300 Series Bristol Paper, either in smooth or vellum. I tend to like the vellum a little better as it has a little bit of texture which allows it to catch the graphite better. Experiment for yourself and see which you like better.

Next, we’ll also need some tortillions or blending stumps for smoothing out our shading. If you are in a pinch, you can also use a Q-tip or tissue paper.

And lastly, through out the course, you’ll see me using this proportional divider to measure things and compare distances. This tool is option. You can also use a ruler or your pencil to do these measurements. I just like the divider because it’s more precise and easier to use.

Alright! We’re gonna have a lot of fun ahead of us, so let’s get started!

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