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How to Draw Pencil Portraits of Celebrities difficult drawings to make. However, celebrity portrait drawing can be a rewarding activity for beginning artists because celebrity pictures are everywhere, and a drawing of a carefully chosen celebrity can often be recognized even if the drawing is not as accurate as the artist might want it to be. This is because the faces of many celebrities have reached an iconic status in the minds of the general population. When learning to draw celebrity portraits, the artist should keep in mind that art is as much about the experience as the final product. Don't twist yourself in knots trying to make it look "perfect"---just enjoy the process.

• Select a photograph of the celebrity you wish to draw. It is very important to draw from a photograph---not from memory. Very few people can effectively draw a real person from memory. The photograph you select should be high resolution and large enough that you can see many details. Adequate photographs of celebrities can be found in magazines or online.

• Draw an outline of the head, and mapping lines on the face. The shape of the head you draw should be informed by what you see in the photograph: for example, if the head is long and narrow, draw a long and narrow oval. Draw the outline lightly, so it can be erased later. The mapping lines will be a series of axes marking the location of the eyes, nose and mouth. Draw a horizontal line across the head where the eyes will be. This line will help you keep the eyes in a horizontal line as you make your drawing. Draw a vertical line bisecting the eye line down the center---this will show you where the nose should be. Draw another horizontal line underneath the nose where the mouth will be. The mapping lines should be drawn lightly as they will later be erased.


• Draw the shape of the eyes over the mapping lines. Base the shape of these features on the features you see in the photograph. Proceed very carefully. Look back and forth from the photograph to the drawing over and over again, comparing the line of the eyes, nose and mouth to the shapes you see in the photograph. It is especially important to capture the eyes properly. Humans tend to look straight into the eyes for recognition, processing the eyes first and other features afterward. The eyes will usually be almond-shaped, but look more carefully at your particular celebrity for exact details.

• Draw the shape of the nose over the mapping lines. The nose should be addressed with as few lines as possible---a line under the front tip and a line up one side should be sufficient. Don't go into great detail in the area of the nostrils, which can be viewed as an unflattering area of the face.

• Draw the shape of the mouth where it falls below the nose. The mouth will be indicated by a single horizontal line formed by the lips pressing together. There will also be a line outlining the top lip and a line outlining the bottom---look at your photograph for the exact shape. If the mouth is open so the teeth are exposed, draw the outline of the shape first, then fill it in with a line indicating the bottom of the upper lip and the top of the bottom lip.


• Fill in the features with details as necessary, like pupils, irises and freckles.

• Draw the outline of the hair, lightly, then draw the sweep of the hair inside the outline. Do not draw every single hair, but include several telling lines that show the direction the hair falls, and its texture.

• Draw shadows on the face where necessary. Shadows may be needed around the eyes, hair and nose. Lightly shade with your pencil by running the graphite over the are to be shaded, over and over again. Smear the shading with your blending stick by applying the tip of the stick to the paper and running it lightly over the shaded areas. Blending sticks will help you to create more realistic shadows. Note that the blending stick will make the shadows appear to be much darker, so shade lightly at first then darken later, if it is still necessary after you've run over the shadows with the blending stick.


• Add a background appropriate for your celebrity---either the background in the photograph, or a background that better describes your celebrity's profession. For example, a movie star might have a camera and lights in the background, while an athlete might be shown standing in front of a case of trophies or sports equipment.

• Take a step back from your drawing and compare the drawing to the photograph. Quickly look back and forth between the photograph and the drawing. Ask yourself what shapes differ from the photograph to the drawing. Make adjustments as necessary.

• Show your drawing to a friend or a relative. If they recognize the celebrity right away, you've succeeded. Ask for feedback and suggestions. Thank your critic graciously when you're done.

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How to Draw Pencil Portraits of Celebrities