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Creative exercise – Free flow portrait

Drawing a “picture perfect” portrait is hard. And boring. We want to show you a more free flow approach to creating portraits. Looking at your own key features will create a likeness, the process is easy and you get fun results.

Choose whichever headshot you like, but the more close up it is, the more detail you will be able to work with. Sometimes it can be easy to get caught up in “trying to make it look like a portrait” instead of just drawing what you see (or don’t see for that matter) To challenge yourself, flip, tilt or turn the pic to look at the image in a new way. 

Do the exercise using one or all of the following methods:

  • Pencil in the lines which defines yourself

  • To practice a bit of color theory, make a portrait using acrylic paint. To lessen the distractions use only one hue + black & white acrylics, or two complimentary colors.

  • Let’s focus on negative space. Instead of painting what you see, paint what you don’t see. What usually makes up a portrait, the symbol of a face that we were taught as kids; the eyes, the nose, the mouth. Focus on the other areas that make up the face. The space around the hair, the forehead, your chin.

If you are feeling into it, now combine the three different methods in whichever order you prefer.

How did you like this exercise Ann-Charlotte:

I think it is fun to experiment with. I can concentrate more on the colors and expressions than to get the accuracy of a face or a body. That always stresses me out a bit, to do things that are supposed to be natural-looking. My goal when doing portraits is that I should look like a human and find something nice in everything.

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