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The Beauty in Portrait Drawings

Updated on October 10, 2014
Old Lady 2014 - Pastel pencils on paper
Old Lady 2014 - Pastel pencils on paper

What is beauty?

Some dictionaries state that beauty "is a characteristic of a person, animal, place, object or idea that provides a perceptual experience of pleasure or satisfaction. The quality of what is beautiful."

I agree with this state. Regarding my type of Art, portraits, it's easy to find beauty in what i do. Not only people likes waht they see, but also i think i have a good dose of beauty sense about people's faces and expressions.

Most of my artworks come from commissions, which could be a brake to my creativity. But fortunely it isn't. I must confess, i rather draw a beautiful woman than a rough man. But even so, i always try to capture the person eyes, which gives more than 70% of the credit to the final drawing. The eyes are indeed the most important piece of a great portrait. The other 30% comes with the details we put in.

Mary Light-foot  2013 - Pastel pencils on paper
Mary Light-foot 2013 - Pastel pencils on paper

Why i love portraits?

I love the portraits because as the name implies, I am portraying someone. It is not just trying to copy the best possible the expressions and the look of the subject, but his personality, his experience and life experiences. Therefore, it is very important to capture what the eyes tell us, be it a person or an animal.

Every time I start to draw, I start with the eyes. When I just draw the eyes, it is as if the subject was already there. And it helps a lot in motivation to finish the rest of the drawing.

Gina's Family 2014 - Pastel pencils on paper
Gina's Family 2014 - Pastel pencils on paper

What's my favourite suject to draw?

What I most like to portray are women because of their natural beauty. Maybe because I am a man, eheh. But anyways, it is obvious that every portrait i make, is a challenge, because all people are different. Even when drawing animals, they have very personal characteristics that lead owners to recognize immediately what is portrayed.

The animals are what I most like to draw following to women. I have a certain freedom to create, without departing from the main goal, their eyes. If it is a cat for example, i can draw more or less hair, while still resemble the animal. I already drew, cats, horses, etc., and they all had their own personality, which i luckily managed to translate faithfully to the paper.

Horse 2013
Horse 2013

What materials i use?

Most of my commissions are done with pastel pencils. I also draw in black and white using graphite and charcoal pencils, but i've been more sucessful with my pastel portraits. Pastels are a dusty material which we have to be a bit careful while using it, because of its dust. It's a kind of chalk with color pigment. People that use pastels agrees with me when i say it is a very versatile material, letting us blend and blend colours, over and over. It has some cons, one is the dust and other is the fact that it canĀ“t be sealed with fixative like a charcoal drawing. We can use a bit fixative at the begining of the drawing, but we are risking in changing the colour values. If the drawing is finished i never use fixative, i once ruined a portrait by doing that and i had to correct all the details of the drawing...


The media i use is paper, but a special one called PastelMat 2, which has a very tiny texture that allows the pastel to fix it just perfectly. Besides these 2 main materials, pencils and paper, i also use my fingers in some particulary areas. We always have to be careful when using our own hands, because of our natural fat and sweat, that can ruin a drawing.

Marina 2014
Marina 2014

Some personal advice

Anyone can draw up to a certain point. The important thing is to never give up and go draw more and more to perfect the technique and the results will appear. When I started drawing portraits, it had nothing to do with what i'm drawing today. And I do not wanna stick around, I want to improve myself in hyperrealism, but that is for another Hub!
Thank you all!

Persian Cat - 2013
Persian Cat - 2013

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