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Portrait Drawing with Miss Led

How to draw an eye

In profile, the iris is part of the curve of the full circle of the eyeball.
The circular curves of the eyeball and eye socket are still present when the eye is closed.

How to draw the eye : exercise

Here is a super easy way to draw the eye from a frontal view. The upper and lower curves are almost mirror images in a pinched oval shape.

The circle of the iris cuts through the top line and leaves a gap above the lower line. Add a smaller circle for the pupil.

The line of the lid acknowledges the shape of the eyeball. The top eyelid is almost parallel to the existing top line and almost touches the top of the iris. The lower lid is almost parallel to the existing line but becomes narrower at each end.

I suggest studying the curves of the eyelashes since they change slightly from one end of the eyelid to the other. 

Note: The white of the eye, the sclera, is never fully white and will require shading due to the shadow cast by the eyelashes.


How to draw a nose

A horizontal oval masks the three-dimensional tip of the nose. Add a vertical line that splits the oval in half to guide the left-right symmetry of the nose. The shape of the outer nostril (called the ala) is a little like a lobster claw. A horizontal line drawn across the bottom of the nose tip connects the nostril to the ala.
See how darker lines smooth the framework of the guidelines. The curves create the “skin” of the nose. Use a putty eraser to lighten your original guidelines.
Shadows and highlights create the contours and give the nose its threedimensional form. Notice how the dark shading in the nostrils becomes less defined toward the bottom. Work with your eraser to softly remove overly dark areas here.

How to draw lips

The contours of the lips can be drawn as soft curved strokes. The length of the curved strokes changes as you move from the corners of the mouth to the center.

Mark Making

As a warm-up, try drawing straight lines from the top of the page down. Draw diagonal and horizontal lines, turning the paper, so that you’re still dragging the pencil vertically from top to bottom. In creating curved lines, I keep my hand in one position and draw an arc from right to left, again moving the paper so that I can continue the motion.

You can easily represent the different textures and materials of a person’s hair, clothing, or environment using different marks and strokes. Practice making different weights of line by changing the angle of your pencil, bearing down heavily, or barely skimming the surface of the page.

Joanna Henly

Joanna Henly, director and founder of Miss Led studio is an illustrator and art director based in London. 
She is known for obsessively detailed and lushly rendered pieces across a wide range of media and scale including paper, canvas, murals, installation and digital. These have earned her recognition including selection for ‘Best of British Illustration’, exhibition in London’s Saatchi Gallery and a client list spanning fashion, consumer and media brands. 
Trained as a fine artist and with a background as an award-winning illustrator; Jo works from portrait commissions to large scale complex works, often in public spaces or as part of a live event performance. In addition she creates personal work which is exhibited globally, and is a passionate educator of professional practice and workshops within art and illustration. 


Portrait Drawing : Under 200 words

Miss Led Portrait Drawing is a lively and thorough visual guide to explaining the concepts of character and individual expression of the face.
This book will have you looking and learning with step-by-step illustrations and expert tips directly from London-based artist, Miss Led, aka Joanna Henly.
A compact 112 page book can be neatly carried in a backpack or pocket for when you’re drawing on the go.
Beginning with creating the perfect set up  in your office, room or on location Henly talks about holding the pencil to make specific lines and how using examples shows how implementing different marks can help strengthen your drawing language.   
From suggestions on how to create your, Ideal Set Up, you’ll find explicit guides showing clear examples and step-by-steps drawings in Understanding the Face, taking you through every facial feature in detail.
Looking at how to create the character and expression of faces runs throughout the book giving you suggestions on how to develop using various tips and exercise ideas. You also find pointers on what to consider when working from memory or imagination.

Covering different angle positions of the face; defining shade and light for capturing different skin tones Henly moves on to simplifying the complexity of drawing hair from various afro styles, long, short and wavy.
The book includes carefully selected professional portrait illustrations from Henly’s 10 year career showing examples of what can be achieved and how you can develop through your learning.
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