This week in Unit 3 of  Module 3 – Portraiture Foundations of The Complete Drawing Certificate Course  I was given the opportunity to draw my first full portrait in graphite pencil.

When reading the details about my progress below please don’t forget to click on the thumbnails by each section to see the cool drawings I created in more detail. My realistic drawings were submitted to Cindy Wider, my course instructor at, and her feedback (in italics) is also included below.

Unit Three: Portraiture Foundations: Week Three

This week I had the opportunity to produce a completed pencil portrait drawing from a photograph of a three-year-old child. It was great experience, especially learning to understand the differences in the facial proportions of a child compared to an adult.

Exercise One: Draw a Pencil Portrait of Isha

To begin I referred back to the previous modules 1 and 2 where I was reminded of how to draw the individual features of the face and the placement of the features, which I adjusted accordingly for this project. The module also contained links to some incredible online resources which explained  the placement of the facial muscles and their individual functions. This new knowledge went a long way to help me to understand the shapes of tone seen in the human face.

Reference photograph of Isha

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I printed out the reference photograph supplied with the training notes onto high quality photo paper. I was also given a copy of a finished drawing of the photograph in order to help guide me, and as an example of what I should be aiming to achieve in each step.

The training notes then went on to explain how to use a clear acetate sheet to help me discover and measure the guidelines and basic shapes from the photograph and help me to transfer these onto my drawing paper.

The notes then went on to lead me through the full series of steps that began by helping me to create a rough outline, and then went on to how I could refine this into the finished drawing. The remainder of the module explained all of techniques required to draw hair, eyebrows, eyes, ears, lips, and even the cardigan.

Completed pencil portrait drawing of Isha

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This week was certainly an exciting and challenging experience for me. It was my very first portrait during the ‘Portraiture Foundations’ unit of the course, and the beginning of experiencing drawing at a level that many people could only ever dream of reaching. I took my time, relaxed, and enjoyed the journey and you can see the completed version of my  drawing which I submitted here.

Feedback from Cindy

Hi Ian,


Click to view

Wow this is an amazing effort with your portrait of Isha! I am so impressed by your rapid progress in this course, it is an absolute delight to witness and be a part of. I can see that you have successfully applied your hatching strokes, with beautiful tapering ends that lead into the full light area in the hair. Then you have also applied some nice dark tones in the background of the hair; near the cheek areas as well as in the sweater which unites the entire composition.

The facial parts sit mostly on the correct axis with just a few refinements needed there. Overall this is an extremely successful portrait and I have just a few tiny tips for your next one!

A: The eye level line is slightly on less of a right angle to the central vertical axis; that large line that travels down through the centre of the face. We must be sure to keep the eye level line at a right angle to that centre vertical line as the head tips to the side. It’s a bit tricky so you did do a fantastic job here! All other facial features are spot on and in the correct position in relation to this.

B: This eye is also slightly on the wrong angle which makes it a touch too high here and at C.

D: The outer areas of the nostrils are just a bit too wide but the inner (hollow) parts look good, although you may need to bring the right side inner hollow of the nostril in a bit once you bring in the outer areas.

E: The lower lip just needed to be a bit fuller here.

F: The shape of the jaw line is often quite rounded on small children and it gives the illusion of those cute puffy cheeks if you round the area a bit more.

G: the hair needed to come out a bit more here; the shape of the outline of the hair is an important part of the hairstyle.

Overall fantastic work, I love the sweater, that is a fantastic effort Ian, well done!




As always, excellent feedback from Cindy there, more hints and tips to help me make my drawings better than ever! As I mentioned above, this week was a hugely exciting and challenging experience for me. It was my very first portrait during the ‘Portraiture Foundations’ unit of the course, and the beginning of experiencing drawing at a level that many people could only ever dream of reaching. I took my time, relaxed, and enjoyed the journey.

My drawing equipment

Watercolour Journey Drawing PackDue to the number of people commenting on Twitter and Facebook about the photo’s I’ve been sharing of my progress through this course, many people have asked where I get the cool pencils I use. I spoke to Tindalls Arts and Crafts , my local art store, and they decided to offer the complete drawing kit I use at a hugely discounted price. Not only that, they’ll also throw in a free pencil case for you to keep everything in, and you’ll also be awarded loyalty points to go towards your next purchase at their store – That’s a massive saving of £15.45 (or $24.86 USD)!!! You can get your Watercolour Journey Drawing pack HERE>

Coming up

Next week I’ll be working through two sets of notes where I’ll be introduced to the incredible possibilities of charcoal. I’ll be learning how to use both willow stick and pencil charcoal with an eraser and white Conté on grey Mi-Teintes paper to create twelve different effects. I’ll then be given the opportunity to combine my knowledge in order to create a hairstyle from a selection of three different styles. I’m really looking forwards to discovering the wonderful qualities of charcoal and the huge array of possible results that can be achieved with this amazing medium. Please follow my Drawing Journey to see how I get on as I continue to learn to draw even more realistic pencil drawings online 🙂

Next Steps

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You too can learn the fundamental drawing techniques that Professional Artists use. Download the course notes here> The Complete Drawing Certificate Course 

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