How To Paint Portrait of A Child

Girl in a Picture Frame 1641
Oil on Panel- by  Rembrandt

In ordinary language, we think, that the portrait of a person is a photograph. Most people believe so. But in reality, the portrait made by an artist is a different matter. 

Here, a person to be portrayed sits before an artist. He or she has to sit for a long time. There may be more than one or several sessions. During this encounter with the artist, the model or the person portrayed reveals his or her different characteristics, which are not represented by a facial expression. 

The artist tries to record that part of the features, too. That is the difference between a photograph and a painting. The photograph is a dead moment, referring to a physical state of a person at a point in time. The portrait is loaded with more luggage. 

Painting Analysed: Look at this portrait Girl in a Picture Frame, done by master artist Rembrandt. It is the life-like representation of a girl. The facial expression, positioning of her hands, the positioning of the hair, and the straight looks of her eyes tell us much more than a photograph can describe. 

Portrait making of a small child is a challenge. Here artist of any level will have to pay extra attention. We generally believe that while drawing or painting a portrait of a person, an artist should try revealing the personality of the person portrayed. It is true in most cases. The abilities of an artist are at test while drawing a child's portrait for a different reason. The children are very much innocent, and to be honest to the art, the artist would love to depict the neat honesty radiating from the face of the child.  

Young Edward the Prince of
Hans Holbein 

Portrait Analysed: Here in the drawing Young Edward the Prince of Wales, the master artist Hans Holbein has drawn a portrait of the young Edward, the Prince of Wales. The materials used by artists is quite traditional. Available to every artist in those days. It was the time when the pencil in its present form was not in use. In this drawing, the portrait is executed by using black and coloured chalks, pen and Indian ink.  

This is one of the finest chalk and ink drawings I have seen. Just look at the drawing and shading of the eyes and the hair. The natural position of both the lips of the child is marvellously marked, elegantly drawn. The lining work of the hair is nice. The main element attracting our attention is the feel of the portrait, the feel of the presence of a child. 

Look at the drawing Young Edward the Prince of Wales again. It is a portrait of a small child, a full-fledged artwork in itself. However, the colour portrait, oil on the panel was done from this pencil portrait. Now a day many artists devote their full-time efforts to working with pencils only. And their endeavours pay excellent results, and their outputs become the treasure of the art world, as is apparent from this drawing. Here the artist has done the platinum-grade work of drawing. He had given the fullest attention in drawing all the facial aspects of the small child. 

Pencil Portrait: Drawing, Shading, and Painting       If we wish to trace out the point time since when the pencil is used by the artists, we have to agree upon one fact that it is used for a long. Undoubtedly the pencil is a very ancient medium of drawing. Though the preparatory pencil drawing is considered necessary as a preparatory drawing to an oil painting or a watercolour painting. However, some of the drawings are final artwork in themselves.

In every drawing in general and in portrait making in particular, the work of shading is crucial. A small patch of back mass here or there could make or break the entire artwork. If we look at the above portrait of the child, we would know that the shading is done with due care. The work of shading gives a three-dimensional effect to the drawing.

Sophie Chéradame 
Children Blowing Soap Bubbles 

It would be a good idea to think about art materials before starting the actual work. The art materials are believed to be costly. It is generally assumed that the students willing to learn drawing and painting must have fat-rich pocket money.

If you want to do large work, it would be good to use the graphite powder that could be spread on the surface to create the effect of shading. Graphite sticks could be the best friend if you want to do sketches of landscape and seascape. Charcoal help creating nearly all the tonal values of colours we see in nature. 

For advanced drawing, an artist would use coloured pencils or charcoal sticks to mark the colours of the objects. This would help the artist who wants to do watercolour or oil painting afterwards. Other materials for the artists are chalks to create a subtle drawing, the artists’ pencils made from vexing, pastel pencils coloured pencils, and the ink pen and fixatives. All these materials would serve specific purposes. The articles purchased from a reputed art material store would be much dependable, producing the desired results.

Materials For Pencil Drawing:  In fact, everyone can afford the art materials. The artists, with the passing of time, have explored a wide range of possibilities to use certain things as their art materials. However, a beginner can start with mere a set of good drawing pencils, one eraser, and a pack of ordinary drawing papers. When you visit any art material stores, ensure that you would buy only the articles you really need.

Mainly you would select from three types of drawing papers. The first choice would be the hot-pressed drawing paper. These papers are smooth and good to handle pencil strokes. This paper would help in creating a full tonal value of pencils and charcoal due to its smooth surface. The cold-pressed would have a slightly textured surface. 

For those who want to draw with charcoal, the textured surface would be better. Finally, you can select a rough surface of drawing papers. The choice should be done depending upon what type of colours and other materials you are going to use. You can choose a certain variety of coloured drawing papers, too.

These are the articles by which you actually do the drawing work. You can select charcoal, drawing pencils, or even coloured pencils for primary drawing. The range of pencils branded as H, B or HB would be the first batch of the friends of a beginner. B range would be softer. H range would be the harder pencils made from graphite. These pencils would draw the lines ranging from light grey to dense black and allowing creating almost all the tonal values on the drawing paper.

TIPS FOR PENCIL DRAWING:   For showing the contrast of light, the skilful use of a pencil is required. In pencil drawing, the shading work is an aspect that could extract the best from an artist. Balanced shading of pencil would create an image as beautiful as we would have in other mediums like watercolour and oil colour. 

Colours have different tonal values. Shading in pencil drawing is just like putting different tonal values of these colours shown in black and white form. By selecting a proper colour and then applying the same in different tonal values, an artist recreates the mental images on canvas or on paper. [All the paintings are in Public Domain, taken from Wikimedia Commons]

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