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Pencil Portrait Drawing—Employing Entity In Portraits

By Artfang, guest blogger

Posing your model surrounded by a few props can add much interest, dimension, and appeal to a portrait and goes a long way to describing your subject. A prop can add appreciably to the composition of the portraitSketching a portrait with a prop, such as a hat or even ear muffs, obliges you to above all pay attention to the complete arabesque.

Quite often the starting artist will be tempted to approach a prop as a separate entity or an afterthought so that rather than complimenting and blending in a supporting role with the subject’s face, it looks artificial and overwhelms the model or is incorrectly proportioned or sketched.

In this expose you will learn the expert approach to drawing a prop entity that frames the center of interest even with a supporting entity that is bigger than the face.

First, the presence of a prop does not change the approach to drawing the pencil portrait. As with sketching any other portrait, you should use all your usual basic skills and apply them throughout the normal processes of your rendering effort.

So as always, you start with the arabesque which in the case where the head and the prop item overlap will be a “construct” which is a complete arabesque that encompasses not only the shape and proportions of the skull but also of the outline of the supporting entity where it overlaps with the skull.

In the context of the presence of a prop entity that overlaps with the skull, the construct becomes of crucial importance. It helps a lot with the maintenance of harmony. If you do not draw from the reference of a construct, the skull and the prop will appear as separate structures.

While you work through the subsequent stages of your portrait drawing (proportions, landmarks, blocking-in, stumping, etc.) you should constantly be aware of the fact that your supporting item should not overwhelm the face of your model.

The face of your subject should remain the primary focus. Your sketch should not turn into a still life of your supporting item that also happens to show a person’s face in the background.

One trick that can help you with understating of the supporting entity is to only draw the merest of details inside the supporting element. Another one is to soften the values of the supporting element but only if it this appropriate in the context of the overall intent of your sketch.

Again, we cannot stress enough the importance of maintaining the cohesion between your subject and the prop element. That is why it is significant that you render from the construct which already links the model and your prop item as one overall object. Of course, this also implies that you do the toning in a similar spirit and not overdo the lines and values that separate the model and the supporting entity.

So, in conclusion, the principal considerations when including supporting elements in your drawing are to make sure that the arabesque covers the entire contour of the head and the supporting elements.

In addition, be sure that at all times you keep in mind that the supporting elements should never become the focus of your sketch. If you stick to these guidelines, the utilize of props entities should never become a problem for you.

Do you want to learn the secrets of pencil portrait drawing? Download my brand new free pencil portrait drawing course here: portrait drawing tutorial.

Remi Engels is a pencil portrait artist and oil painter and practiced sketching teacher. See his work at graphite pencil portraits.

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