Drawing Portraits
An Anecdotal Note on Perspective Drawings

Accurate perspective drawings play an important role in drawing portraits.   Let me relate a recent experience.

This is my latest drawing done from a live model, Dave White.

Dave enjoyed the drawing sessions, which made my job as an artist easier.  Knowing that my model is relaxed means that I am relaxed, which in turn means that I can calmly concentrate on my drawing.  (It’s difficult for me to draw from life if I sense my model is uncomfortable.)

I was having some difficulties accurately capturing my model, but initially I didn’t understand what the problem was.  

I’ll explain ...

Each time Dave came over for a sitting, he would assume his position correctly, but I absent-mindedly didn’t seat myself in the exact same position.  

Therefore, I was looking at him from slightly different vantage points each time he came over.  The quick preliminary drawings which were done in one sitting worked fine, because I was observing Dave from one perspective point.

The longer studies, which were done over two sittings, were out of proportion, since I was looking at him from different vantage points.  I don’t know how I overlooked this basic seating arrangement (other than the fact that this drawing was done in new surroundings.)  

Here are some quickly done preliminary drawings. Each drawing stands on its own because each one was done from the same vantage point.

Because I initially overlooked positioning myself correctly for each drawing session, the vantage point changed ... therefore you see preliminary drawings from different perspectives.

Drawing Portraits From Different Perspectives - Examples

On this preliminary drawing, you can see where I erased the bottom part.  It is important to try to maintain spontaneity when drawing portraits ... hopefully you can see the spontaneity with which the eyes were captured.  

If you look carefully you'll see that each of the above preliminaries were done from a slightly different vantage point.

Once again, another quick preliminary. Again, you'll see a different vantage point than is on the final work.

Once I realized what the problem was, I put tape on the floor to indicate exactly where to position my chair for each drawing session (I've always done this in the past ... don't know why I overlooked it this time.)  Once I had my chair in the correct position ... the drawing worked!

Live and learn ... even the simplest things can be overlooked. Those of you interested in portraiture might find this anecdote interesting. 

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For more on drawing portraits see this intriguing story about another model who transformed himself after seeing his first portrait.

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