The portrait is a favorite subject of so many artists. Before we can make the most astonishing portraits, we first need to create a general understanding of them. Here is a great video about this.

What ‘general understanding’ am I talking about?

We need to know a few general proportions of the face and the roundness of the head. The dimensions of the head (the height, width, and depth) are important. Then we can look into the places where the eyes, the nose, and the mouth go. (Let’s not forget the ear!)

Portrait can be complicated, but the good news is

I am going to break it down for you into small pieces, so you can keep track. In fact, once you walk through these pieces of information, things will be much clearer for you. You will see the complexity of the portrait presented in simple steps that will help you forward.

Setting up a face – how do you start?

I have seen so many ways of setting up a portrait. But I am going to share the best of them all with you. Some use an oval, some use an egg, some use a skull to start from. Others start with the eyes, yet others start with the mouth or nose. Nothing works best like this: start with a square!????? Yes, when starting with a square we are set to make a circle and the circle will eventually turn into an oval. Then why not start with the oval in the first place?…

This is why beginning a portrait with a square works!

The first 4 to 6 strokes of your portrait need to be correct! They need to reflect the proportions of the head as they are! When we draw an oval we are never sure about the height or width and the proportion of the face. However, when we start with a square and construct that towards an oval through a set of fixed measurements, we can never go wrong. We always have the right proportions and added value: the square has fixed proportions so you can make the head as high as a building or as small as a walnut. You will never lose proportions. It always works. Do you want to see how to do this? Here is a FREE movie that explains it all:

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