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How to Draw Faces By Using Portraits of Presidents'

Updated on May 24, 2011
11th President of the United States                      In office      March 4, 1845  March 4, 1849
11th President of the United States In office March 4, 1845 March 4, 1849 | Source

Learning to draw faces is one of the hardest techniques for new artist to achieve and even for old artist. New artist have a tendency to focus on details of the face instead of the overall whole or the gestalt, which is proportion, symmetry and shape. An artist has to train their selves to see and this takes practice. Practice drawing faces by using images that are easy to find. A series of portraits that is readily available is our past presidents like President Polk.President Polk was a believer in themanifest destiny and the Monroe Doctrine. The manifest destiny is the belief that the United States had a natural right to expand and control the area between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and the Monroe Doctrine kept the Europe out of western hemisphere such as South America.


  1. Obtain an image of President Polk to use as reference.
  2. Place the image in a place that is easy to see.
  3. Create an outline of President Polk by drawing straight lines with a pencil. New artist should train their eyes by drawing first and then verifying what has been drawn second. Pay attention to the gestalt,symmetry and correct proportions first instead of sighting (pre-measure.)
  4. Compare height to the width to verify proportions. Begin with the largest area across the brow and compare it to the height starting at the chin.
  5. Add features of President Polk’s face such as the eyes, nose and mouth. Sketch lightly so you can erase and adjust lines as needed.
  6. Increase the hardness of the sketched lines to confirm what you want to keep and reinforce the lines by tracing over with a black pen.

Secrets to Drawing realistic faces; Carrie Stuart Parks; 2003


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