In this article you will learn how to draw portraits with charcoal in easy step by step process. I was commissioned to do this family portrait using their photographs. The unique part here is that each of their face came from different pictures.

I just picked their best photo from the other pictures they showed me then I put them all together as if taken in one photograph. Of course you want to achieve excellence that in the future you will be able to draw the best family portraits. You will also master the correct renderings to draw faces with charcoal.

how to draw portraits with charcoal

How To Draw Portraits With Charcoal

  1. SKETCH IT – Then once I picked the best pictures I started sketching them one by one. The strategy that I used sketching it is by tracing the pictures and not by using the grid which I showed before. First I printed the head in the size that will look proportionate to the illustration board that I will apply the sketches on.
  2. TRACE THEM – I added some pencil renderings behind the printed pictures. I started tracing the facial lines using a pencil or even the best to use a pointed stick that does not leave any lines so that it won’t mess up the picture you are copying.
  3. CHECK PROPORTIONS – Then I finished tracing the rest of the other photographs and making sure that their proportions are correctly drawn. After that I applied the shadings to the face.

hair drawing tutorial

4. PREPARE THE CHARCOAL POWDER – Before I did that I prepared the charcoal powder to use for the shadings. This is the secret in making a realistic effect to draw a charcoal portrait.To prepare the charcoal powder you have to get a charcoal compressed black chalk or black pastel. Then get a sandpaper preferably the fine one, then start rubbing your black pastel.You will then have to collect the fine residue caused by it. Use it by applying in your brush, then slowly apply your first shading on the face.

5. APPLY SHADINGS – Start by rendering the whole face slowly starting from very light to little by little going to the darker tones. Then I applied shadings to the other parts of the face like the nose, lips, eyes, ears, etc. In this stage it is also best to know how to draw the hair with charcoal. Check this tutorial on how to do it.

how to draw hair with charcoal

 I advise you to go to my first portrait case study girl to learn the steps on how to apply shadings using charcoal powder.

This way you will see the detailed procedures on how to draw portraits with charcoal using brushes and the charcoal powder.






Do you want to learn the techniques on how to draw portraits 

like a master? Click this image below and start learning how 

to draw realistic portraits.



If you are looking for a tutorial course on how to draw portraits of people this is a must read.

easy steps-how to draw portraitsYou probably stumbled on this post because you were desperately searching for a comprehensive step-by-step tutorial on how to draw portraits.

==> Get this pencil portrait course now!

You are on the right track because I am going to show you one of the best tutorials that I found about this topic. This is a very comprehensive tutorial created by an excellent artist teacher, Stan Prokopenko. It has a very affordable price which is composed of ten video lessons and the best thing is that, one is FREE.  He shows the steps on how to draw portraits in pencil from photographs from start to finish.

His style of teaching is very nice, clear and easy to understand. His video presentations are very creative which make it easy to follow and learn the steps fast. I highly recommend his tutorial on how to draw portraits.

To find out more information please
check this Video Tutorial now!



Don’t you want to see yourself drawing an excellent realistic portrait of your friend?  Do you want to hear everyone behind your back saying “Wow, what an amazing work!”?  We are constantly learning and searching for a perfect way to achieve the best results we want in drawing portraits.  In addition, one of the best ways in achieving an excellent technique is creating it from photos to portraits.

When I was just starting out to do portraits, I always had a problem working on the sketch.  Sometimes the result shows that the likeness is not the same like the model.  The model that you are working on should be still and not moving so that you can grasp exactly the proportion and outlines of the face.

Using a photograph to draw a beautiful portrait is the surest way to avoid flaws in achieving the likeness of the person’s face you are working on.  Using a photograph will create an exact proportion of the different facial parts of the face.  You will not worry about drawing the lips incorrectly or doing the eyes slightly further than the alignment to the lips.  In other words, you will get the exact proportion of the face you are working on.

All these become easy because you can control the way you draw the face from a photograph.  A photo does not move and it does not distract your eyes while you are drawing.  Unlike in the live model portraiture most of the time you cannot control the occasional movements of the model’s face.

The first step you have to do to render a pencil portrait is to take a digital photograph of the face of the person who asked you to make a portrait art.  Then print the digital file to the size you want the portrait to be.  If you do not have a digital file of the photograph, the best techniques is by scanning the photograph in paper and print it to the size of the final art portrait that you are going to create.  Then trace with a pencil the printed enlarged image of the face using a light box.  Using this technique will prevent you from making a portrait that does not look like the model.

Once you sketched the overall facial parts of the face, you are now ready to render the final drawing using either a mechanical pencil or a B or 2 B or HB lead pencil, or you can even use a regular pencil and make sure they are sharpened.  Draw this portrait with pencil on illustration board or a sketched pad with smooth finish surface.  Pencil portrait do an excellent result on smooth surface that shows a crisp and clean finish art.

How to Use a Photograph to Create a Pencil Portrait:

1)    Take a digital photograph of the model that asked you to make a portrait or get a regular photograph on photo paper.

2)    If you do not have a digital file of the face, scan the regular photograph in paper.

3)    Print the digital file photo or the scanned one to the size you want for the portrait.

4)    Work with a clear and big photograph.  Then trace the outline of the whole facial parts of the face on a clean smooth paper surface.

5)    Render with pencil the light and shadow of the different parts of the face using crosshatch or smooth pencil strokes.

6)    Review what you have done and see if you have to add more shades or check anything that you have to fix. Finally, you are finish and ready to show it!

There are many advantages in using photographs as references to do  portraits.  Take that reference and you will be able to finish in a short amount of time that way you will avoid the problems you encounter with a live model.

You can also come back anytime without rushing to continue working on it where as to do it with a live model you will be forced to finish it fast during your session to avoid the constant facial movements.  With a photograph, you can get the best likeness and work from there.  Rendering portrait from photograph is really one of the best techniques.


Learn how to draw pencil portrait in this FREE Mini-Course. 
Get it now by submitting this form below!

Send Me My FREE Mini-Course: Learn How To Draw A Portrait & Become A Great Artist


©Copyright 2013