Our page banner is a detail of the technique used for drawing a pencil portrait.
Drawing a Pencil Portrait 2
Pencil Portrait Step 2a - The Tone of the Eyes
You should begin the tonal development of the portrait with the eyes. The tones used around the eyes should:
1. Help the eyes sit solidly in their sockets by creating a shadow beneath each eyelid where it rests on the eyeball.
2. Give the eyes a sparkling look by placing the brightest highlight against the dark pupil.
3. Create the translucent effect of the iris by capturing its changing tone.
4. Create the curved planes of the eyelids and sockets with softly graduated tone.
Pencil Portrait Step 2b - The Tone of the Nose
The difficulty with drawing the nose from the front is that there are so few outlines to help you define its shape. You have to rely on tone to mould its three dimensional form.
Begin by drawing any outlines you can see, namely the edges of the nostrils, the philtrum (the triangular dimple below your nose) and the creases that slope away from the sides of the nose.
Next, slowly shade in the main areas of tone as cast by the light.
Finally, with careful observation, you can fine-tune the intensity of dark and light tone to create a more realistic looking nose.
Pencil Portrait Step 2c - The Tone of the Mouth
There is a symmetrical arrangement of muscles in the lips and around the mouth which move to form different expressions.
By using tone to highlight these muscles, you can add greater realism to the shape of the lips and convey a specific expression in the portrait. The distinctive cracks on the surface of the lips will help to suggest their texture.
As a general rule, the upper lip is smaller and darker in tone as it is shaded from the light. The lower lip tends to be fuller and brighter in tone as it catches the light.
Pencil Portrait Step 2d - The Tone of the Neck
The darker tone of the neck forms a strong contrast with the light edge of the chin and jaw. This has the visual effect of lifting and focusing attention on the head.
The thin line of reflected light on the left side of the neck highlights a tendon which both physically and visually strengthens the balance of the head.
The horizontal bands of tone which create the soft ripples of flesh on the neck help to emphasise its roundness and solidity.