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Another pencil portrait and some more tips (blog marathon post 21)

This post is a kind of sequel to  this one (A pencil portrait and what goes into it).

This portrait of Keira Knightley, I finished just this morning.I took about 2 and half hours to complete it. It is again A3 size ( 42 x30 cms approximately). I have used Bristol board extra smooth paper. This time I also used a graphite stick as I wanted the dark of her hair, very dark.

To get the lights in her hair, I cut out a triangular piece from a good quality eraser, using a Craft knife. The pencils I used for this portrait were
1. 2H for the initial drawing outline
2.4B for darker shading
3. 6B Graphite stick
4. 5mm Staedler clutch pencil for finer hair

Apart from the above, I used the usual blending tools, namely chamois leather piece and tortillons.

If you are interested in pencil portraits (and from the excellent response I got from my last post, I know many of you are)  then here are a few tips which worked very well for me.

1.The basic drawing, before you begin shading has to be accurate. Draw the outline and compare it constantly to your reference photo to try and find the mistakes. It is really really important to have a perfect outline of the features, before you think of even shading. For a good portrait, an accurate outline is 60% of the work really.

2.Holding up your drawing in front of a mirror works so well to find the mistake. Thanks to my good friend Niall who is an amazing artist, who told me to do this, when I made my first portrait and sent it to him. If you think my pictures are good you should check out his. He is simply brilliant!

3. When you draw the eyes, pay attention to the size of the eyeball. Also pay attention to the direction of the gaze.

4.Blending is very very important to get the three dimensional effect and a good likeness. To see the dark and light in your reference photos squint your eyes and look at the picture. The dark and light areas will leap out at you.

5.Key to good portraiture is observation. Observe, observe, observe. The tiniest of details matter in portraiture. What I have learnt it that even one millimeter can make a huge diference to the likeness. The features have to be exactly in the right place.

6. You have to love what you're drawing. Somehow I feel, if you like the picture that you are drawing, it is bound to show! There will be that much more effort going into it. So choose a picture which you feel happy looking at. When I started portraiture, I started first with a portrait of Satish as I wanted to see what mistakes I  made. I would stare at him for hours analysing his each feature, studying his face :-) He agreed very sweetly to be my first model :-)

7.Practice, practice and practice. I can see very significant improvements in my own work from when I first started to now.

These are some of the things that worked for me.

Hope they help you as well.
Now I have to run as I have a portraiture course to attend.

Thank you to all those who read so regularly and leave me such nice comments on almost all the posts. I do appreciate and it is a lot of encouragement.


Current Mood video (see right or click on link) : Shout for England!


  1. awesome... and thanks for the tips :)

  2. Though I dont know much about pencil potrait -- i like what you have done-- the resemblance to the real pic is awesome.....
    You really need patience to get it done.

  3. Very good potrait , preetiji .I also love to draw but not so often. Tips are really useful. Thanks. I wonder how the joy of one person can become the joy of many. Surely, u r good at maths, multiplying joys and dividing sorrows.

  4. some day dont know when ?I like to try one!This one is really good!

  5. Hi Preeti this portrait is just amazing, the resason I loved this mire would be as my roomate had the same pic on his laptop as desktop....
    And the rips passed on are really detailed one...

    Cheers and have a nice day...

  6. wow...i love this!! And thanks for those tips, I sure benefit from this!!


  7. wonderful information... the pencil potrait looks amazing..:)

  8. A beautiful piece of work.

  9. i read happily till i was thrown off track by the reference to your first model...studying a face you love, i'm wondering if his portrait got done in time - *runs away before a stiletto is thrown at her!

    I would love to see you in action, when you are working on a portrait...

    I loved the post, makes me want to learn too

  10. Beautiful portrait. And a very informative post. Wish I can draw like u too :)

  11. Main fir kuch nahi bolunga ;)

  12. Wow! Don't miss that pout!

    It's beautiful, Preeti! :)

    Btw, I tried doing this exercise with my friend's son (he is just 9) the other day - his drawing was wayyyyy better than mine! Infact, he has asked me to put my pencils,crayons and everything away! :(

  13. Nice portrait! I loved the hair on the face and the sharpness in the eyes..

  14. Thank U sooooo much Preeti!! Until I find a place in Bangalore to learn, I'm gonna drink in all your tips. :)

  15. wow thanks a lot Preeti for the tips. 'll keep them in mind when(if) i try something next time

  16. Dhanya: my pleasure :)

    Lostworld: I found it hard to find a place that teaches portraiture in India. U're welcome :)

    MS:Thanks :)

    Sparkling: :-) heheheh Thanks!! We all have different abilities .

    Rohit: Ok. Silence noted :)

  17. Anusha: Drawing can be taught. Even those who claim they cannot draw a straight line, actually can. Thanks!

    Suma; have studied him for 15 years now :P :D Thanks :)

    Ariel:Thanks a lot

    Sushobhan:Thank you!

    Durga: happy if you do!

  18. Anish: Oh is it? Many swoon over Keira :) Thanks :)

    Harman: thank so much!

    Vinoo: Do try. I remember you used to do at college.

    Roshan: thank you so very much for those very kind and uplifting words.Do call me Preeti.

    Horizon: yes it does take patience.

    Thinker:Thank you!

    Rajlaksmi:Thanks! And u're welcome :)

  19. Superb Preethi, its almost like the original;-o.....u r just getting better and better[sorry if I sound fultoo;-D..its just tht the I still remember the 1st portrait u showed us]

    LOL at Suma's comment...she's got a point u knw;-D

    And the love u have for your art is soooo visible:-))!!!! Kudos!!!!!

  20. wish had more finesse,cause the competition is way ahead,but you have done a good job.

  21. wish had more finesse,cause the competition is way ahead,but you have done a good job.

  22. Rahul: I compete only with myself. I am not here to win contests but to share whatever little I know. But thanks.

    Reflections: I don't remember the first portrait I showed :P Where on FB?

  23. Abhishek: thank you!! :) One of the main characters in my next book (soon to be out) is Abhi..Short for Abhishek :)

  24. It's a remarkable likeness :)

  25. Beautiful picture.. The hairs on the left(actually the right side of the person) looks so real and seems as if to fly off the screen. You have an amazing talent and interest.

  26. Beautiful portrait Preeti...Keira looks SO pretty :)

  27. Beautiful sketch Preeti :)
    Your simple-but-important tips are going to fire me up to re-start my sketching which I orphaned about 6 years ago :) Thanks for that

  28. How can you be so talented preeti ???


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