How to make a portrait (with steps)

For today's post, I thought I would share with you the various stages of making a portrait and explain the steps:

Step 1.
I draw an outline in pencil. The outline has to be accurate. You can use the pencil to measure proportions. Mostly it is  years and years of practice to get it right.

Step 2.
Once I am satisfied with the drawing,  I loosely block in the colours.

I use Sakura Koi watercolors and Pro-arte brush. My sketchbook is moleskine'. I use a lot of water and paint lightly. See--I haven't used any black yet.

Step 3: I deepen the shadows.

This makes the lighter areas stand out. I add  one more layer of colour. I use a hair dryer to completely dry a layer before adding another.

Step 4.

I add in the blacks. The portrait is already beining to look lively.

Step 5. I refine it further.

Hope these steps made the various stages clear.

In the other news my book #WakeUpLifeIsCalling is topping the bestselling charts (at no.3) for the 5th consecutive week.

Life is what you make it is there too :)

ps:get the books:


  1. Thank you for giving wonderful insights on various stages in portrait making and congratulations 💐 for both the books. Deserve to be in the top 10.

  2. Hi Preeti,

    Today’s post felt like a small story even though it was a short lesson on how to make a painting. Loved seeing the transition of the picture from the outline to the finished portrait. It’s almost like watching a pupa become a butterfly! Again another very life like picture just like the characters in your story. Every day you are posting something interesting yet different from other posts. Kudos to all your efforts again and again ~ Indu.

  3. That's a amazing post. I have always been feeling inferior about my inability to draw especially when my kids asked me to draw something for them but now I feel I can impress them . Thanks for sharing

  4. Hi Preeti,
    It's really interesting to see how a basic sketch transforms into a life like portrait. My genes have gifted me the art of playing with pencil too on the paper. But I never refined it above the level of a basic sketch or just doodling. You have made it look systematic by this step by step demonstration. Again an inspiration springing from you to try my hands out someday and make an attempt at least...even if not master it like you have done. But you have practiced hard as you said and it took a long time to get this finished result. Everything in life needs work, determination and passion.
    It reminds me of Kabir das ji's Doha - "Karat karat abhyaas ke jadmati hot sujaan, Rasri aawat jaat hai sil par padat nisaan!"
    Beautiful post (Visually)
    Love, Alka

  5. Another awe inspiring post which reached my inbox just in time. I was doing some paperwork to renew my work permit which is a pretty mundane work which we have to go through every 3 years. And I saw that your masterpiece "Life is What you make it" was rejected more than 40 times which took me by surprise first, but quickly realized this is the story of many successful authors in getting their first few books published. That you tried even after so many rejections is making my mundane work look kinda sexy now :). Well that was an overkill, but this certainly gave me a much needed energy boost. Thanks to You ~ Indu


Post a Comment

Thanks for stopping by. I really appreciate your leaving a comment! Okay--I appreciate your leaving a comment if you have something nice to say ;-)