A group for people who draw or paint portraits.  Ask questions and share your favorite tips and techniques. 

Members: 295
Latest Activity: 21 hours ago


Hello and Welcome to the Portraits Group!


This is the place to share your portrait art and discuss all aspects of making portraits.


If you would like to share your portrait art, you can either post in the Show & Tell thread or start your own discussion by clicking the big blue "Add a Discussion" button at the bottom of the Discussion Forum section of this page.. You will likely get more views and replies if you start your own discussion.

If you would like a critique or want some advice on a specific work-in-progress, you can start your own discussion by clicking here:

If you would like to share progress shots of your portrait art in its various stages, that's great too! Tutorials are welcome!

If you upload your art for critique or Show & Tell, please also tell us about the art: for instance, tell us the size, medium, what the piece means to you, etc. If you want a critique please also tell us what areas of the artwork you are unsure about and what you were trying to achieve (realism? expressionism? etc).

Click here to learn how to upload images into your forum posts (which is important so that people can see your art within the post, rather than as an attachment link beneath your post).

Just two simple rules:

  • Please keep all discussions relevant to portraits and all aspects of making a portrait.
  • Be friendly and considerate in your posts.

Thanks for joining & have fun!

Discussion Forum

Skin tones in oils

Started by Merrie Kapron. Last reply by T C 21 hours ago. 3 Replies

This is my second portrait in oils. Skin tones are a challenge and I am open to comments/suggestions.…READ MORE

Self portraits

Started by Al L. Jones. Last reply by k.i.m. artist Dec 9. 6 Replies

Have you ever done yourself, and how hard was it? It's been said that a self portrait is one of the hardest portraits to do.Do you feel this is true?READ MORE


Started by Wayne Llewellyn. Last reply by Wayne Llewellyn Nov 9. 6 Replies

Hi everyone! I was wondering if anyone on here could help me with this minor task, because I am struggling. I am looking to recreate these grey tones, on Marvin Hagler, yet I am not sure of the amounts acrylic paint to mix and what color to start…READ MORE

Portrait ung Pencil

Started by Jesrel Terante. Last reply by Jesrel Terante Oct 8. 2 Replies

Just a PencilREAD MORE

Recent charcoal portrait

Started by Merrie Kapron. Last reply by Merrie Kapron Jul 22. 6 Replies


Self Portrait

Started by Liz Faust. Last reply by Helga O Feb 6. 10 Replies

I have the hanging up on my door at my university as a name tag. Done with a mechanical pencil. What do you guys think?…READ MORE

hopsin portrait

Started by Brennen Stotts Sep 26, 2013. 0 Replies

This is a picture I drew of rapper, Hopsin.  Feedback pleaseREAD MORE

hopsin portrait

Started by Brennen Stotts. Last reply by Cheri Homaee Sep 26, 2013. 1 Reply

This is a portrait of a rapper named Hopsin that I drew.  Let me know what you thinkREAD MORE

Oil Pastel Portrait

Started by Jade Ferrer Cultz. Last reply by Aileen McLeod Sep 2, 2013. 1 Reply

This is my first oil pastel painting  and I welcome any suggestions, comments or criticisms. Thank you! :)…READ MORE

Acrylic Painting- Madiba

Started by Carmelita Cornelius Sep 2, 2013. 0 Replies

I am still busy working on this. I am not a good painter and am kind of stuck because I don't know how else to give this flat painting some form. I know I should add tone and detail, but I have not established enough technique to execute the…READ MORE

Comment Wall


You need to be a member of Portraits to add comments!

Comment by Pris Hardy on August 7, 2014 at 9:53am

Hi Patricia -  I have found that there are times when it is easier to work sort of backwards.  I use a soft brush, dip it into graphite powder and brush on a light layer where I need it. Then I go back with my kneaded eraser and start pulling out highlights. The highlights give me an idea of where I need to deepen the shadows with my pencil.  The brush creates a soft look, so practice with it a bit to see if its the look you really want.  Good luck! and Have fun!!  Looking forward to seeing the finished product =]

Comment by Laurel Nichols on August 5, 2014 at 2:12pm

Hi Patricia, are you using a pencil? my experience on that was to start and end your each stroke with less strength. Also erase the joint part and redo it could reduce the effect.

Hope this helps :)

Comment by Patricia Kim Worsley on August 5, 2014 at 6:12am

Hi guys! Can anyone pls give me some advice? Im drawing a lady with really long hair, my question is how do I get that smoothness, the hair is so long im finding it difficult to avoid those joining choppy lines you get from not being able to do one long stoke at a time? Would appreciate any advice on this .... thanks in advance! :)

Comment by Bette-Jane Schnabel on June 13, 2014 at 12:41pm

I would know this cute gal as a Swede! My family roots are in Stavanger Norway.

Comment by Christina Wood on June 13, 2014 at 12:32pm

Hi Jayne, here's my Swedish cousin again. I would still appeal to the hair-painting masters for some advice on painting blonde hair.

Comment by Jayne Somogy on June 13, 2014 at 12:17pm

Thanks, Christina Wood, for your input--I think your solution to the question is very viable (altho I couldn't find the other portrait you mentioned, but the one below illustrates your point well).  I struggle with putting "backgrounds" into my work (portraits and otherwise), so this is something I need to work on.  Some artists just seem to "naturally" have a style that makes their work not look like a copy of a photo, but not all of us are that lucky or that talented (and who knows how long it took those artists to get to that point--it may not have been 'natural" at all).  I have another question as well.  While I was scrolling through here, I noticed a comment about NOT doing "famous" people because of legal (?) problems if you plan to sell your art.  I HOPE to sell my art and want to know what one can paint/portray and what one cannot.  For example, I would like to do, in my style, a portrait of a photo of Miley Cyrus in her new short hairdo.  Is there some copyright/legal problem with that?  I also have photos of "indigenous" people I have cut out from really old copies of "National Geographic" (like 1950-1970).  Is there a problem with interpreting those photos?  It would be impossible to find or contact the photographers at this point, and would NEVER be able to find the subjects, if that is what is required.  This is all very confusing to me!

Comment by Christina Wood on June 13, 2014 at 11:09am

Following up on Jayne's topic and my answer, here's another less complicated example of realistic portraiture with using the background to set a mood, in this case I wanted a dark mood and to try chiaroscuro.

Comment by Christina Wood on June 13, 2014 at 10:57am

I hope we take up the discussion Jayne started about photographic realism vs artistic style. I wrestle with that one a lot. I am a photographer as well as a painter and when I take a really good photo, friends say, oh why don't you paint that? And I say, that it is a great photo, why paint it? So, my solution is to work with the background of the portrait and have that part tell a story. I posted a portrait here of my Swedish cousin (you'll have to scroll quite a way down to see it) in which I asked for help painting blonde hair, which I wish someone had given. (I am redoing the hair now but still not happy.) Anyway to Jayne's point, this portrait has a dark background of railway tracks and a fortress, which have to do with our Swedish ancestors who worked for the railways and the men were tyrants, and the women were narcissists, so several generations had a tough time. So, I put the symbol of the Swedish province from which her father came, three hearts, on my cousin's head, because she got her brains from him. I put the symbol of the province from which her mother came, the griffin, over her heart, because her mother was a sweet woman. Behind her is a Klimtesque flow of gold symbols and my own Klimtish river of life. These remind us that she visited me when I lived in Vienna (and we both love Klimt), but mainly the gold symbolizes the way she has conquered a tough family/ancestor situation and brought happiness into her own life. Of course possibly only she and I will understand all this symbolism, but I think building such symbols into the background of a portrait can allow a realistic rendition of the person, but tell a story about them and you at the same time.

Comment by Merrie Kapron on June 13, 2014 at 10:38am

Charcoal drawing I just finished, "Like Father, Like Son"

Comment by kathleen a sidor on June 13, 2014 at 10:19am

Takes my breath away! Simply stunning! :>D


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