LESSON PLAN - Portraits

Many beginning drawing students ask,  "When are we going to learn how to draw portraits?"  My main philosophy in teaching drawing and painting is to encourage success and avoid frustration, especially early on.  Portraits are the most difficult subjects to draw.  First, the drawing must be completely accurate, and that takes a lot of concentration and practice. Also, it is one of the few subject matters where there is always a comparison with the original image.  Think about it, when you see paintings hung in a gallery you rarely ever see what the painting was based on.  A painted tree will look like a tree even if it is not exactly the tree from which it was painted.  And, a portrait can look like a person, but if it is not THE person it is supposed to represent it is doomed a failure.  Portrait drawing in the classroom is  difficult.  I always encourage my students to draw from life if they possibly can instead of from photos (reasons being will be shared in  another blog, Lol).  It is very difficult to find a live model who will sit still for the time it takes to draw a portrait.  I wanted to give my Advanced Drawing students the opportunity to explore the beginnings of portraiture, getting the likeness and expression from life.  As I was pondering how to do this in the least uncomfortable way for everyone I wondered if drawing teddy bears would be a solution. I had a collection of teddy bears that each had a unique expression and character.  But I wondered if my students would find this too juvenile and uninspiring.  Well, I went ahead with this lesson plan and it turned out to be one of the most enjoyable lessons of the program.  The students had so much fun with this and the results were amazing for many who had been drawing for such a short time.  Most of them captured the likeness, expression, and character of the teddy bears.  They worked with Prismacolor (colored pencil).