Welcome back! I hope everyone is well and using their lockdown time productively…
One way to do this is to continue practising your drawing skills, building a memory bank of methods and techniques by experimenting and discovering what works for you!
In this segment, we look at adding the rest of the necessary elements to complete the beautiful face of Dame Elizabeth Taylor.
Take out your developing sketch… look at Part 3, Step 6, where we decided on the position, shape, and angles of Liz’s eyebrows, and drew them in. This time, look at the intersection of the horizontal nose-line and the central vertical line.
Part 4: Nose and Mouth
The tip of anybody’s nose is the most protruding element of their face. We are going to try to make the nose look three-dimensional… how can we do this? We use light and shade to bring the nose forward.
I begin at the intersection of the horizontal nose-line and the central vertical line. This is not the tip of Liz’s nose, but rather the Infratip, (just beneath the tip) flanked either side by the nostrils. It is usually a U-shape. Consult the photo of Liz… observe the width of the Infratip, and lightly draw the U-shape in place. Later we’ll apply a little white to the tip of the nose to bring it forward.
Step 2 (a)
Consult the photograph… see where Liz’s nostrils are positioned, their shape (like teardrops), size, and angle. Lightly draw them in. Now see where the nostril “wings” is located… Look at the photograph. You can use the inner corners of Liz’s eyes to align the vertical curves of the nostril wings, which are directly underneath the eyeliner in the inner corners of Liz’s eyes. Lightly draw the nostril wings in.
Step 2 (b)
Here’s where shading creates the optical illusion of receding… consult the photograph and observe where the shading under Liz’s nose is light and dark. Apply shading accordingly. See Step 2a and 2b sketch
I always begin with the top lip. Your original horizontal mouth-position line will indicate the lower edge of Liz’s top lip. The upper edge almost follows the classical “Cupid’s Bow” shape, centred under the nose; the indent almost follows the same shape as the shading cast by Liz’s nose! Look at the photograph. Observe the position, shape, and size of Liz’s lower lip and draw it in lightly. See how Liz has slightly curled the left side of her top lip upwards, creating a beguiling expression.
Look at the shading in the photograph… Liz has parted her lips a little, creating dark shading under her top lip. At this point you don’t have to colour Liz’s lips in with the soft lead black pencil, rather, you can use a rose-red lipstick colour, or any colour you like, really!
Observe the shading beneath Liz’s lower lip, and how it feathers out softly on either side but is sharper directly beneath. Draw accordingly. Take your kneadable eraser and carefully remove the original vertical nose construction line. It has done its job!
There’s no other way to put this, facial contours aren’t easy, take a lot of consulting the photograph, and re-drawing and re-drawing! Keep your kneadable eraser handy.
I start sketching lightly, then when the contour looks right and the shading, and fading of shading looks right, apply a little pressure to make the shading darker. Where shading fades totally away, to reveal pure skin tone, I sometimes use my forefinger to smudge the pencil. Smudging provides the softest fading effect. Look at the area just beneath Liz’s cheekbones… the contour is subtle, whereas all around her jawline, shading is darker. There are no actual lines here. The shape of anybody’s face is defined by the areas bathed in light, against those areas in the dark, such as under Liz’s chin.
Drawing hair enables us to loosen up a bit, and use long, sweeping lines to represent Liz’s luscious waves. The 8B soft black lead pencil does a great job here, providing a really deep black. Look at the photograph to see the location, size, and shape of Liz’s hairline and hairstyle. Draw lightly and when it looks alright, draw in darker.
Dame Liz was fond of eyeshadow to complement her unique mauve pupils, so you can apply anything you like… metallic ink or gel pens provide a realistic glossy, or sparkly effect.
As stated previously, you can apply any colour you like to Liz’s lips, and a little touch of rouge helps to bring your portrait to life.
Remember to sign and date your finished piece.
I hope you enjoyed your step-by-step journey through drawing a portrait of Dame Elizabeth Taylor. This is the method I use in each of my portraits, and over time I’ve found the steps become like second nature.
Next time we’ll look at making funny faces… caricatures, based on realistic faces, but altered!