Face facts

Drawing a face is simple enough. Drawing a portrait is another matter entirely. For a lucky few, comes naturally. 

Andy Macgregor’s portraits of actor Johnny Depp, rapper Common and others have appeared in many magazines. He says, “Portraits are my forte. As long as the reference image is of reasonable quality, it’s pretty easy to achieve a likeness.”

“Unfortunately, there is no fail-safe approach to capturing a likeness,” says Sam Kerr, whose illustrations have featured rock stars, politicians and Osama Bin Laden. “I don’t get it right all of the time. Some people are harder to draw than others. I’ve managed to make a very pretty friend look a little mannish on several occasions.”

His advice is, “Make sure you really look at your subject. Get to know their face before you draw it.”

Sam adds that the best portraits go beyond mere facial features. “I love the challenge of capturing not only a likeness, but also something of the person’s character.”

Oliver Barrett’s portraits of jazz greats and The Beatles have been made into poster series. He says, “I find relaxing and trying to get a likeness in the early stages of the drawing helps. I’ve often overworked eyes or lips, then not got the instant recognition that I’m after. If it’s not working, I will usually just erase the problem area and start over.”