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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Drawing a Face: Tracing Technique

When I made a tutorial about making an ATC portrait in this post, I realized that the part about making a pencil sketch could be difficult for some.  So, I decided to make a tutorial about tracing a face as a guide for your portrait. You can use this technique for ATCs as well as for bigger pieces.

Tracing is something I used to do as a young girl making paperdolls.  At first, I didn't know how to draw the whole body so I would just trace some drawing or photo of a woman and use the tracing to make a paperdoll.  Eventually, I was able to draw my paperdolls without tracing.  Perhaps, if you try this technique of tracing and studying the proportions of the pictures you trace, you will later be able to draw faces without tracing.

1.  First, you need to find picture that is the right size, something that will fit the size of your ATC (or whatever other size of artwork you are making).  It should be a picture with strong contrasts so that it will be easy to trace.  There are a lot of pictures available in magazines and even in the newspaper.  Here is a picture I found in a newspaper...

2.  Trace the main lines of the newspaper photo with a soft, not so sharp pencil.  You don't have to be so accurate since we're only using the picture to help us draw a face.  We're not actually trying to draw the face itself. 

(Sorry for the bad photos, so full of shadows!  I was making this in bad lighting conditions. Oh well, better bad pictures than none, right?)

3.  After tracing the newspaper photo, flip the tracing paper over such that the side which has the pencil lead touches the card you are making your portrait on.   Position your tracing on the card and perhaps you can tape it to the card so that it won't move while you're transferring the lines.  

4.  Trace heavily over the pencil lines with a pen or pencil so that the pencil lead marks the card under it. I'm using a card that I've coated with wall putty, as I described in this post.  

The picture below shows how the card should look after you trace over the pencil marks.  Notice the faint pencil lead markings that you have made on the card, a mirror image of the picture you traced.


5.  Now you can trace over the pencil marks with a pen or even just a ballpen. You can make changes in the final pen lines and you can add details like eyelashes and eyebrow hairs.

6.  Erase the extra pencil lines with a kneaded eraser.

7.  Looking at the photo you are using to help you draw a face, use watercolor to add volume.  Notice the dark areas in the picture.  Remember your ATC is a mirror image so your shadows should be on the opposite side.  Don't worry about uneven watercolor shades.  We're not making a photo realistic painting (People may not believe it's a painting if it looks too much like a photograph just like this artist's work).

7. Add colored pencils in various shades (just as described in this post.)

The finished card...
You can also try out this technique with photos of family and friends which you print out to the right size.

I hope this was helpful.  Let me know if you try this out.  I would love to hear from you!  
(Linking this up with Tutorial Tuesday)

15 blog hugs:

Jasmine said...

What a great tutorial. Thank you :)

Paper Paradise said...

WOW AMAZING, You are just so talented! Thanks for sharing this with us. x

Katie said...

Wonderful tutorial! I'll try to give it a shot! Thanks for sharing it!

Janine said...

Hi, I just droppes in to say hello and to thank you for your visit on my blog.
I am amazed by your talent.
That is a great tutorial.
I really had a ball, scrolling through your blog.
Finally I signed in as a follower.
Have a nice sunday

Great-Granny Grandma said...

Thanks for another great tutorial.

ArteDar said...

Hey there are you?
I enjoyed this....very good. I have no problem with tracing whatever I may want to paint. In fact that is exactly how we are taught in tole painting classes and instructions given in a lot of art books. I like the idea of trying it for a family member...they won't beat me up for not getting it!
Thanks Peggy from GF at AFA
Peace and Love, Dar

Cheryl Ann said...

Super tutorial! Thanks for sharing with us. Your art is always so beautiful. :)

Lynn said...

What a great tutorial, thanks so much. I love the texture it gives and I hope to give this a try, it will be on my list of art projects to do :)

Shona Cole said...

wow, that is brilliant. thanks for the tutorial too.

Martha Lever said...

What a great idea!!! Thank you for sharing this!!!

Sheryl Parsons said...

Great tutorial! Love the way you put this all together!

soulbrush said...

this is fantastic, i could never get it to look like this, thanks for showing us. will add you to my list on my blog to visit you often.(i am joss on afa).

Craftgirl said...

I would love to try this. Thanks for sharing.

Serena Pruess said...

this is so awesome! I'm going to try thank you!

Cristina - the said...

Wonderful Idea! I love this tutorial, Thank You!

I found you on Pinterest ;)

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