Draw a Simple Portrait

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Draw a Simple

Follow our step by step guide

In this project you’ll learn some easy steps to draw a simple portrait of a friend or family member. To help you get started we’ve collaborated illustrator Ashley Ronning who specialises in illustration and risograph printing

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Instructions Practice Sheet
Draw a Simple Portrait step 1

Step 1: Create Your Face

Using a graphite pencil, sketch an oval in the middle of your page, which will be the head. Sketch a neck and shoulders under the head. The neck is about half as wide as the head. Then, very lightly, sketch two lines through the middle of your head – one vertical line straight down and one horizontal line straight across. This is a guide for the features on the face.

Draw a Simple Portrait step 2

Step 2: Features

Draw in the features of your person, starting with two almond-shaped eyes on the horizontal line. Each one should be between the vertical line and the edge of the head. Add in a circle in the middle of the eye for the iris and a smaller circle inside the iris for a pupil. Draw a nose halfway between the horizontal line and the bottom of the head. Then draw a mouth halfway between the nose and the bottom of the head. Add lines above and below the mouth for lips.

Draw a Simple Portrait step 3

Step 3: Make Your Portrait Unique

Add in the features that are unique to your friend. Add eyebrows above the eyes. Also add ears on the side of the head in line with the eyes. Then add in their hair, clothes, jewellery or hat. Maybe they have freckles, facial hair or glasses. This is your chance to really get creative.

Draw a Simple Portrait step 4

Step 4: Trace and Erase

Now trace neatly over the graphite pencil lines with a fineliner pen. Make sure you don’t trace over the vertical and horizontal lines of the face, you don’t need those any more. Next, erase all the pencil lines. Double check you’ve drawn everything back in with the fineliner. Now you can add in more detail if you want to.

Draw a Simple Portrait step 5

Step 5: Get colouring

Colour in the portrait with coloured pencils. Pay close attention to the hair colour and skin colour, which may mean blending two different colours together. Once you’ve finished drawing your person, it’s time to add a background. Pick a place they like to be, or maybe decorate the background with their favourite things.

What you'll need