Drawing Realistic Portraits

Drawing Realistic Portraits

We love using the summertime to knock out some fun electives and enrichment studies. This summer, we’ve been working our way through a new DVD art curriculum we got from Timberdoodle called Drawing Realistic Portraits.

Drawing Realistic Portraits

The course is simple and straight forward with only fifteen lessons — a little less than two hours total instruction time.

Drawing Realistic Portraits

Although the course is geared toward high schoolers, motivated students as young as 8-10 would also benefit.

lessons in shading

In addition to the Drawing Realistic Portraits DVD, students will also need the following supplies:

lessons in shading

Students begin with some elementary lessons on shading. This provides practice in blending techniques and creating contrasts, highlights, and shadows.

Drawing Realistic Portraits

I used a similar course (on VHS) to teach my older kids how to draw realistic portraits in charcoal. But that older course was discontinued ages ago, so I was delighted to find this newer one which teaches the same method.

practice in shading

With basic techniques under their belts, students move on to drawing eyes, mouths, and other facial features and expressions.

setting up pencil guidelines

Toward the end of the course, students put all they’ve learned in the practice exercises together to draw a realistic portrait from a photograph.

shading Winston Churchill

To help in this endeavor, they create two girds: one to place over the portrait, and a second matching grid drawn lightly on their bristol board.

Drawing Realistic Portraits

We were pleased with the results. My 11-year-old Abby recreated a portrait of her grandmother.

Abby with her Artwork

Not bad, huh? Especially for her first attempt.

Abby's Artwork

My 13-year-old stuck with the project a little longer than his younger sister. Gabriel chose a portrait of Winston Churchill for his project.

Drawing Realistic Portraits

The image of British Bulldog he was using for a pattern was in deep shadow, which made it a bit more challenging.

Drawing Realistic Portraits

But his pencil portrait is coming along nicely, too, don’t you think?

Gabriel's Artwork (Winston Churchill)

My nearly 16-year-old took the most time on his portrait. He was already very meticulous about his art, but this course gave him an even stronger eye for detail.

Drawing Realistic Portraits

He chose as his subject a World War I hero by the name of Sir Douglas Haig. (Daniel is also a history buff.)

Drawing Realistic Portraits

He’s been working on it for days. And, although it is much nearer completion now than when I took this snapshot, he is still not completely through drawing it.

Drawing Realistic Portraits

I’ll update this post with the finished portrait once Dan is satisfied with his work. But I didn’t want to delay this review any longer, as I’m thinking there are lots of homeschool moms who might like their children to learn to draw realistic portraits from photographs this summer. Or maybe even learn how to do so themselves!

Daniel's Artwork

If that describes you, you can order a copy of this realistic portrait drawing DVD through Timberdoodle. They sell it as a stand-alone product, or it is also included in their 12th grade curriculum kit. Enjoy!

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    1. Thanks, Karla. They really enjoyed the project. I’m excited to see what they tackle next.

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