Baby Portrait Drawing


It has been more than a few years since I have done a graphite drawing. Ever since leaving university and getting started with graphic design my sketchbooks have been filled with pen illustrations. But I am trying to make more time for fine art again, I really miss it and the quiet place it takes me to. So I decided to break my drawing hiatus and draw my adorable baby niece. Drawing is fun and relaxing and it is so portable and easy to pick up without any setup required. I created this portrait using only one pencil, a couple erasers and a few q-tips. 




Make a grid to map out the drawing and get the correct proportions. Don't rush this step, if anything is off, your drawing won't look right in the end. Take your time and do a detailed outline. 

If you have any troubles....



If you get stuck anywhere in the outline, just make another grid inside of the square that you are having problems with. I ended up doing this for one of the eyes because I couldn't get it quite right. It made it really easy to get the angles correct. 

After I did the outline, I mapped out where the shaded areas were. I just did this quickly, it will all get blended together anyways. 

Now I started to fill in the drawing. 

Always try to remember, it will look bad before it looks better. Once you know that, you won't give up halfway through when it looks really scary... as shown below... eeeeek.


The best art advice I ever got was while watching Art Attack (but of course). Neil said 'Draw what you see, not what you think you see' and my 5-8 ish year old mind was blown. It is really great advice for anyone starting to draw and attempting to draw lifelike things. 

Draw in light directional strokes. I was drawing so lightly that I wasn't drawing lines, I was merely shading in areas.

Next I lightly blend in my shading with a bending stump or a q-tip. If you press to hard you will get dark spots, so go lightly. 


Drawing portraits can be tricky as the fine details often make the subject look much older than they actually are. I wanted to show imperfections and skin textures to get that realism look, but have to do it really lightly to not make the subject look 10 years older. I didn't want to Benjamin Button my poor niece. 

I constantly zoomed in and out of the reference image. Zooming out will show you if you need to shade or highlight areas more or less. I realized that a lot of the drawing shouldn't be as light as I had it. You have to find the brightest whites and shade everything else in or else they won't come forward. Same thing goes for the shadows. 


Lastly, I drew in the tiny hairs on her forehead that the photograph was showing and any other tiny details that I could see with the reference photo zoomed out. 

All done! My pencil was about 2 inches long after finally finishing the drawing. 


What are your biggest challenges when drawing? Comment below!