Colored-Pencil Portraits

I have been drawing since I was a little girl. In high school and college, I always had a sketch book with me and my favorite subject was pencil portraits using photographs in magazines as a base. I can’t tell you how many times I have drawn Brooke Shields!

After intense drawing and painting classes in both undergraduate and graduate schools, my love of drawing was cast aside by life’s other more pressing matters. Once in a while though, I’d still dust off those neglected pencils and did a few sketches but the urge never lasted.

Then came the Craftsy’s class Step-by-Step Photorealistic Colored Pencil Portraits with Karen Hull. I first discovered Craftsy classes for knitting and then expanded to jewelry making when I started doing metalsmithing. I also love that Craftsy is not subscription base so I can go at my own pace as well as go back and watch the video classes as often as I like.

I have always wanted to work with colors – did acrylic and pastels in school – and although I really would love to get into oil and watercolor, colored pencils are more suitable for my lifestyle at the moment due to its ease of use. No set up or clean up – just open the box and go! And “go” I did!

Karen recommended Faber-Castell’s Polychromos and Caran d’Ache Luminance pencils for their light fastness but I couldn’t wait and just used what I had old Prismacolor and some Derwent. I did take advantage of the sales and purchased some Polychromos and Luminance for my next project! 😀

Step-by-step I followed Karen’s detailed instructions on drawing a girl named Katie…

As soon as I did the first lesson on her left eye, I was hooked! I did the right eye the same time as her left (yes, there’s a lesson on the left eye but I have never been good at following instructions in sequence!)


I skipped ahead and did her lips next (did you expect otherwise? ;0)) …


Then her nose… Karen’s instructions on seeing different hues and layering the colors to shape are invaluable!


And finishing her face


Even though Karen said the lips were the hardest, I was most worried about her hair.


With the potential wax bloom of the Prismacolor, I decided to not worry about covering the tooth of the paper and called this drawing complete – for I am anxious to try my newly learned skills on a subject of my own!



One thought on “Colored-Pencil Portraits”

  1. Beautiful – what captivating eyes 🙂 Thanks for sharing about Craftsys classes – I’ll have to look that up! I’ve been making some watercolor portraits and would love to see if they have one on that, too 🙂


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