How to Draw and Paint a Portrait of someone [Video Demonstration to Make a Picture]

picture of man from photo and rendered drawing in gouache paint

This article gives simple tips on how to paint a portrait of someone. We start with the basics of how to draw. And then move on to how to ‘fill-in’ a drawing.

Summary of Drawing Techniques used here to make a portrait of someone

When you draw- you want to ‘see the lines’ that compose the object or person that you are seeing.

Look at how the lines (outlines, etc.) relate to each other. Ask yourself:

How long is this line?
What is that angle of that line?
Where do they meet? etc…

By doing this, and sketching in lightly the lines that you see, you will quickly compose the image of what you are seeing.

It’s also helpful to think in terms of the ‘shapes’ that the lines make, and the curves that they consist of too.

Tip: Draw lightly in pencil so you can erase easily your guide-lines as you refine your image.

Tip 2: Try not to think of the terms ‘nose’, ‘eye’, ‘head’, ‘hair’ etc. When drawing. Instead try to analyse the shapes and lines and their relationship to eachother. This is how we draw and paint things that look accurate; rather than using the symbols that we learned to draw as children (such as the round head and triangle nose etc…).

Once you have defined some clear lines (and shapes, etc.) that you think matches what you see, you can start to put in some paint (if you want to make a painting).

Summary of painting techniques used here to make a picture of someone

The painting process shown in this video involves creating blocks of colour on your page to match the colours (and the shapes that they are in) on your reference image.

You will see that colours don’t need to be an exact match, to make something that looks well.

If you understand shadows (light and dark, and the gradiations in between) you can match these, in your image by applying light and dark colours (squint your eyes if you need help to judge this); which will help to give form to your object/subject. When you add in some appropriate colour it can look cool.

Here is the [shorter and more fun version of the] video [5 mins]↓

Video demonstration of how to make a picture of someone / drawn and paint to make a portrait

Here is the full length version.

Full length version of video. This includes details of what I am doing and when [vocal] as well as subtitles

It’s your turn, if you want it

Give it a go, and take a chance. You may be surprised how well it looks when you combine a few colours together (after getting the initial sketch right).

Remember, in this tutorial, and in art in general, if you are making a portrait, it’s probably for the effect of capturing someone’s character (more so than their exact likeness).


Did you enjoy this video? Leave a comment below, or reach out if you have any questions.
Email: andrewbrettartist[at]