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How to learn portrait drawing

Artwork by Jack, Anatomy Master Class student

How to learn portrait drawing

Feedback from Vladimir London, Anatomy Master Class tutor

Hi Jack,

Many thanks for your artwork.

If you want to learn portrait drawing, why do you copy from photos? When you do this, you will acquire different skills that are actually required to draw realistic portraits.

However, if your aim is to become a reproducer, not an artist, then by all means, you’re doing the correct thing.

You need to make a decision whom you want to become from the beginning, as re-learning how to draw proficiently would be much more difficult, if not impossible, if you want to go from a reproducer to an artist.

Above all, drawing realistic portraits requires drawing what you know, not copying what you see.

How to learn portrait drawing

I will explain on your drawing example.

Without applying constructive drawing principles, you will make inevitable mistakes in portraits. For example, you know that the line of the eyebrows, the line of eyes, the line of the base of the nose and the line of the mouth are parallel to each other. However, in your drawing, those lines are tilted at different angles.

Also, even though you copied the photo, you didn’t copy the correct angle of the eye-line. In the photo it goes very slightly downward from left to right, while in your drawing it is noticeably goes upward.

Once again, if your goal is to be able to draw whatever you see, think or imagine rather than copying someone else photos and artworks, you don’t have to waste your time on “painting by numbers”. Instead, start learning the necessary fundamental drawing principles.

I believe that you enrolled into the Anatomy Master Class because you wanted to learn how to draw, not how to copy.

I want to help you to become a good artist. So, take the correct route in your art education:

  • learn fundamental principles of drawing
  • human anatomy
  • figure, head and face proportions
  • and draw from life, memory and imagination.

Please let me know if you have any questions, I will be happy to help.

To your creative success,

Vladimir London
Anatomy Master Class tutor


Bom dia! Eu desenho a partir de fotos e gravuras,mas eu gosto de desenhar do natural!
Miguel Ângelo de Moraes

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