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Portrait Drawing 101 – Pencil Drawing Course for Beginners

Step by Step Instructions on How to Draw an Engaging Portrait - Impress Your Friends & Family W/ Your Drawing!
Tamas Benko
52,173 students enrolled
Drawing an appealing realistic portrait of a woman's face
How to draw the head from any angle
How to draw each facial feature (the eye, the nose, the ear, the mouth)
How to draw facial expressions
Perspective drawing & Shading principles

In this 5.5-hour portrait drawing course I will teach you step by step how to draw your first impressing portrait with a pencil.

No previous drawing knowledge is necessary. This drawing course is for beginners.

Most people think that drawing a human portrait is extremely difficult. Actually, it’s just a myth. If there is desire in you, you will learn this stuff. Believe it or not, art is not the privilege of the few, it is more like a set of skills that you can learn.

Even if you draw like a 4-year old kid now, it will change dramatically in a few days.

Portraiture is a great thing, because once you draw you first pencil portrait, it will make you believe that you are able to learn to draw anything.


What drawing tools you need

If you have just a traditional graphite pencil and some copy papers, that’s perfectly enough to begin this course. But if you prefer to use any digital drawing tools, that’s ok too. For example, you can use Photoshop with a drawing tablet, or the popular drawing & painting app called Procreate on the iPad with the Apple Pencil. Whatever drawing tool you use, note that we will be doing traditional portrait drawing with a simple graphite pencil (or its digital equivalent).



This beginner drawing course consists of four main sections.

I like to build up my students’ drawing skills systematically, so we will start off with the basic building blocks of the human head, and gradually moving forward. You’ll be doing plenty of drawing exercises before you draw your first full portrait.


The 1st section is about the structure of the head. The structure, the proportions, and relative position of the facial features (the eyes, the nose, the ears, the mouth, etc.) are crucial for drawing a realistic portrait.

So, you will learn

  • how to draw the head from any angle in a few simple steps (sketching)
  • the proportions of the head, the location of facial features in front view and side view
  • the planes of the head which will help you to understand its 3D structure, how to draw a face in perspective, and create a believable shading later in the course


The 2nd section is about one of the most important drawing skills called shading. Shading is key to create depth and the illusion of 3-dimensionality on your drawings.

You will learn

  • how an object surface behaves in light
  • how shadows are created
  • and how to illustrate them on your drawings to create a convincing 3D look

You can also make some shading exercises to prepare yourself for drawing faces from real life.


In the 3rd section you will have the opportunity to draw each facial features one by one in all kinds of viewing angles.

You will learn

  • how to draw eyes
  • how to draw nose
  • how to draw ears
  • how to draw mouth or lips

As a bonus, I’ll show you how to illustrate emotions on the face in cartoon style. When you draw a human portrait, it’s important to observe every little details on your subject’s face. Drawing cartoon faces is fun, and a great exercise to recognize the important facial features. Don’t miss this lesson!


In 4th section we will make a fairly realistic, full pencil portrait from scratch.

We will

  • take a reference photo, and analyze the face piece by piece
  • draw the construction lines of the head paying special attention to proportions and relations
  • then start the shading process step by step building up the face layer by layer
  • make the final touches and polish the portrait


If you follow my instructions and perform the drawing exercises along the way, your friends and family will be amazed what a human portrait you’re capable to draw.

Have some fun with me and enroll in this portrait drawing course now.

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Course available for 2 days
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5 hours on-demand video
Full lifetime access
Access on mobile and TV
Certificate of Completion