Great Britain

Learn how to draw a portrait with this step-by-step guide by expert Christabel Blackburn and fight lockdown boredom

ARE you hopeless at art? You may not be as bad as you think.

Now, anyone can be the next Vincent Van Gogh with our step-by-step expert guide on how to draw with Christabel Blackburn.

The mum of two, from South West London, has been named this year’s Sky Arts Portrait Artist Of The Year.

She says: “Art is incredibly therapeutic and can help us hugely during this time when we are all feeling anxious and cooped up at home.”

Follow her top tips on how to draw a portrait – and you’ll be feeling stress-free in no time.

Getting started

FIND YOUR MATERIALS: You don’t need anything fancy, just a pencil, charcoal or a pen and a piece of paper.

If you have a sketchpad or heavier or textured paper this will be a nicer surface to work on than the paper you put in your printer, but either works.

If you are doing a self-portrait you will need a mirror.

SET UP YOUR PORTRAIT: Find a spot in you home which has some natural light but not direct sunlight to set up in.

If you like to work on an easel, tape your piece of paper to it at eye level.

If you are doing a self-portrait, prop up your mirror on a table by leaning it on a stack of books.

Even better, if you have a mirror with a stand, you can stand this on a pile of books so it is high enough to see your face in.

Then position yourself in front of your mirror so you can see your face and the tops of your shoulders.

If you’re working on an easel you will either need another easel or a wall in front of you to put your mirror on.

A handy piece of equipment is a table easel, which can sit on your table and is great for self-portraits.

If you are drawing someone else, sit or stand them in front of you and think about how the light is falling on their face.

You want to create some nice shadows to help you map out the contours of the face.

MAKE SURE YOU START SIMPLE: To begin your portrait, decide how much of the head and shoulders you want to include and make sure you leave enough space. Also decide which angle you want your portrait – front on, profile or three-quarters?

START by drawing a loose oval shape for the head.

You don’t need to be precious at this early stage, make faint lines you can rub out.

If you are using a pen, it’s fun to have these lines showing through at the end.

LOOSELY sketch in lines for the neck and shoulders.

Next you’ll need to roughly map out the proportions – this is a very important step.

DRAW a faint line horizontally across the face, about halfway down for the eyes

Then a line for the nose, about a quarter of the way, between the eye line and the chin.

And one for the mouth, halfway between the nose and the chin.

Draw a loose line above the eyes for the eyebrows.

SKETCH a faint line vertically down the centre of the face.

This helps to keep the features centred, especially important if your head is tilted.

If you are doing a three-quarter view, draw the line down the side of the nose where you see the shadow falling.

ADD in features using shadow shapes.

Pick out the shadow shapes in the face and hair.

The main shapes you want to find are the eye sockets, mouth and under the nose.

START adding detail by picking out the light and dark in your shadow shapes with a rubber and pencil.

If you are using a pen and it’s more of a line drawing, just concentrate on shapes and don’t worry so much about the tonal variations.

GRADUALLY add detail to your features, sculpting with your pencil and rubber as you go, making it more three-dimensional.

I like to put in dark accents to help define features and make it pop.

Add more shading from the darks into the lights, and remember to use your rubber.

MAKE sure you leave enough space between each eye – about one eye’s width.

For the nose, the edges of the nostrils should line up with the inside of the eyes.

RATHER than being too literal for the mouth, try working with the shadow shapes you have drawn and pick out the lights and darks.

You can do little accents for each corner, the middle of the mouth and just underneath to indicate the fullness of the bottom lip.

The top of the ear is usually roughly in line with the eyes.

Keep going round and adding detail and sculpting out the features until you are happy.

If you are working in pencil it doesn’t matter if you make a mistake, just rub it out and carry on.

In pen, mistakes often make the best marks!

Glasgow parents turn house into restaurant for kids who ‘don’t understand why they can’t go to one’

Football news:

Barcelona refused to sell Fati for 100 million euros
Pickford on the Liverpool Derby: Everton have a chance to win. We want to do it for ourselves and the fans
Havertz will not play against Bayern because of muscle problems
Russian Russian midfielder Denis Cheryshev
Igalo on racism: I'll leave the field if I run into something like this. No country should put up with this
Suarez has fully recovered and is ready to play with Mallorca
The Internet is joking about Higuain's weight again. Perhaps it's just an unfortunate angle and Gonzalo's reputation