Asked • 04/29/19

How to start a pencil portrait without using an outline of features?

I enjoy drawing head portraits in pencil, but I've found that sketching an outline of the prominent features often lead me astray. For example, due to shadows my eye is sometimes approximating the feature boundaries. This then impacts shading, and may lead to an amateurish feel and mean having to rework large portions of the piece.Most of the best portraits I've seen are not necessarily precise but instantly identifiable as the person and also capture their 'look'.Is there a better way to start the portrait than trying to capture the outline of the features? Should I be trying to plot the shadows/shapes or start in detail in one area and work out?

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