Last week I completed Module Two Shading and Form of The Complete Drawing Certificate Course  and this week I begin Module Three Portraiture Foundations.

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 One

The major purpose for this module is to help me learn to draw better through the study of portraiture, as well as further develop my confidence with three-dimensional shading.

The first few weeks of this course will lead me through a series of exercises to draw the various parts of a face in graphite pencil. From there I will begin to learn some charcoal techniques and by the end of the course I’ll finally be producing a portrait of myself.

This weeks course notes explain how the course works and what I can expect as I work my way through it,  The grading criteria that will be applied on completion of the course is carefully laid out in the opening pages. There is also a list of all the materials I need for the course, and a great overview of the mindset required to work your way through the entire course to completion.

The module also contains a multitude of really useful links to some great online resources for further reading and study of portraiture.

Exercise One: Shading the individual features

The course notes contains a set of high quality black and white photographs of the eye, nose, mouth and ear. Each photograph is clearly labelled with the names of the features to look out for when drawing them.

realistic pencil drawing of an eye, nose, mouth, and ear

Click to enlarge

Closely following the instructions I began with drawing a human eye. Each of the separate stages required are clearly documented in the notes, and these are accompanied with simple explanations of the techniques to use when creating a realistic drawing of an eye.

Next we’re taken through all of the stages and techniques required to draw the nose, the mouth and the ear. All of the drawings had to be drawn on the same sheet of paper so they could be scanned and sent by email to my instructor. Please see the image opposite for the finished drawing which I submitted.

[foogallery id=”5599″]

Feedback from Cindy

Dear Ian,

Well done on creating these amazing facial features this week! Its really wonderful to see all of your skills from the shading unit now coming together to help you create these three dimensional illusions on the page. You have been able to capture a very good likeness with your drawings here and I find that most exciting!

I have just a few little suggestions to help you further develop your skills. Please see the letters on your drawing which correlate with the letters and information below.

The eye

Feedback on my realistic eye pencil drawing

Click to enlarge

A: The top of the lid needs to curve up higher, otherwise the eye will appear sleepy 🙂

B: The eye lashes always attach slightly further away from the edge of the lid; there is a little bit more of the lid in between the roots of the lashes and the edge of the eye.

C: The shape of the eye brow is very important but the hairs are draw very well here.

In general this is a great eye. If we were drawing a much more detailed eye we would concentrate more on the tiny markings in the actual eye itself as well as the skin texture etc. However, the purpose of this exercise is to draw the entire structure of the eye and you did this extremely well. Great work here!

The nose

Feedback on my realistic nose pencil drawing

Click to enlarge

D: The most important thing I am looking for in this drawing is the shadow edge. Remember that there will be many times in photographs that the shadow edge is either very hard to see or non-existent. This is why we need to make sure we put it in. Without a shadow edge area the drawing appears flat. This area in blue needs to be slightly darker than the rest of the shadow areas surrounding it.

E: This little diamond shaped area is where all of the forms unite and could be darkened a little more too. See the photo to add the shading of the form in this area here. Remember to squint to see shadows better, but also rely on your anatomy understanding to add form where you can’t see it. Take a peek at your own nose and see how the nostril unites with the side of the nose.

F: The position of the hollows in the nostrils needed to be slightly different.

G: The shape around the nostril area is very important, it helps to define the nose as unique to the individual person just as the nostril shapes do as well.

H: This area needs to be a level 2; not as light as the tip of the nose because it is slightly further back into the distance.

The mouth

Feedback on my realistic mouth pencil drawing

Click to enlarge

I: You weren’t expected to draw all the little folds and cracks in the lips but you did a fantastic job here Ian. The main goal of this exercise was to draw all of the face parts in around 4 hours max. It was more about gaining an understanding of the overall three dimensional form. You did that so well. In particular I was most impressed with the success at letter J (the dark line between the top and bottom lip). This is the most important area when drawing a likeness to the subject. The other area that is great to see drawn well is the shadow edge on the upper right side of the lip. Be careful not draw the reflected light area too light in that place though.

The Ear

Feedback on my realistic ear pencil drawing

Click to enlarge

K: These areas are a different shape to the image in the notes and needed to be drawn where the red markings are here. However, the overall ear shapes are excellent, great work! Its really good to see the wonderful gradations, soft edges and hard edges.

L: This area needed to be drawn with a gradation as it looks a bit too deep in here. The tone could have been about a level 4 to 5 tone for less depth.

Fantastic work though all round Ian!

Cheers Cindy


That was some extremely valuable and useful feedback. I’m so excited by this course, especially to have the support and feedback from such an experienced tutor who can point out exactly how I can improve my drawing without me wasting my time by making so many mistakes on my own is utterly brilliant!

My drawing equipment

Due 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 begin Module Two where I’ll be learning all about the sighting technique to help measure proportions when drawing objects close up from life, proportion and placement of the individual features of the Adult face, and how to take a photograph for your portrait project – All very exciting!! 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

Please join me!

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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