First real attempt of graphite portrait

This is my first attempt to draw a portrait, well first real attempt. Any comments or recommendations for improvements would be welcome and helpful.

I have always been afraid to attempt to draw a portrait until seeing some of Matts free lessons before I joined in August. I saw this picture on Pixabay and really wanted to capture the expression of the girls. They looked both sad and shocked. I did this in graphite as a value study and will then try in colored pencils.

Thank you for looking at this project, though still a work in process and for your advice.



Hi Teri, thank you so much for sharing your wonderful portrait. I think your piece captures the expressions of the girls very well. Technical-wise, the overall values balance is good and the allocation of the values is consistent and makes sense. If I would make any corrections to this piece, that would be to change the tones of the eyelids of either girl so that the eyelids would “blend in” with the tones of the faces better. I haven’t seen the reference photo, so I guess maybe the eyelids have indeed this tone in the photo and you have sort of reproduced it using graphite. If that is the case, I would ignore that particular part of the reference photo and soften the tone of the eyelids in an attempt to make the portrait more natural. This is especially because what you want to convey through this portrait is that the girls are sad and shocked. If you wanted to convey their strength, will-power, determination or something, strongly-toned eyelids would match the concept of the artwork. But if they are sad and shocked, more fragile expressions of their body parts would bring some consistency to the artwork. Hope this helps a little !

All the best,
Maki :cat: :pancakes: :tumbler_glass:

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This is a great portrait! I love the eyes and expression on the faces. Very well done

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Thank you for your encouragement and that is wonderful advice, what I was looking for to help get the feel of the reference photo. I will do as you say I think that will help with the something I felt just wasn’t working.


Thank you Denise> I really appreciate the encouragement.

Great job on the portraits! Almost photo-like.


Thank you so much for your encouragement


You are welcome, Teri!