Sketches from My Past ~ Some Resources to Help You Learn How to Draw Portraits

In high school (which was a long time ago), I took an Advanced Drawing class, and became obsessed with drawing portraits.  While I wasn’t very good at drawing the whole person, I wasn’t bad with faces. I loved learning how to draw portraits.

Just the other day, I dug my old sketchbooks out from storage. That was fun! (I also found my plastic horse collection, a St. Louis Cardinals pennant from the mid 1960’s, and my 6th grade autograph book…)

Some of the drawings had some moisture damage but were mostly o.k.  (I’m not sure why the teacher marked with red pen right on the drawing…)

I drew this one of Jim Croce and it made it into an art show.  I was proud!  (I do realize that many of you will have no idea who Jim Croce was. A wonderful singer/songwriter from the 1970’s.)

portrait of jim croce

The next year in college, I would sit in my dorm and draw the faces of some of my friends, from their high-school senior photos.

This one is my college room-mate. (1976!)

portrait of a friend

After college, I stopped drawing portraits. Which brings me to the real point of this post. Why in the world would I completely stop doing something I enjoyed so much? It’s a mystery to me now.  Does adulthood have to do that to us?  Why do we get so caught up in the “important” matters of life that we completely ignore a passion?

I’ve decided recently, though, that it’s never too late to revive those early passions, and I’ve decided to start drawing again.  I  may even draw portraits of my family and frame them to put on these walls that are still bare from our move in November!  (Use your art as home decor, I say!)

This post contains affiliate links, which means I will earn a commission if you purchase through them, at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

I picked up a few drawing books that have helped me find my way back, Faces and Features, by Debra Kauffman Yaun and Draw Real People! by Lee Hammond.   These make drawing very simple and are great, even if you are just a beginner. (I encourage you to shop locally, but I realize you might not have that ability.)

how to draw faces book

I also bought a new sketchbook, a nice one from the dollar store.  With acid-free pages!  Drawing is definitely not an expensive hobby.  This is a nice one, made by Canson.

You don’t need special pencils to draw, of course, but a few drawing pencils and a good quality eraser are nice to have.  A common medium soft graphite pencil for general drawing is the 2B pencil.  A softer one, like the 4B, can be used for shading.

Don’t tell yourself that  you “can’t draw.” If you want to try,  you’ll be amazed at what you can do, with some basic instruction.

Do you have a former passion that somehow got lost?  I hope you’ll find it again.  If that passion is drawing, I hope I’ve given you some new resources and a little encouragement!

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Linking to:

Project Inspired at Yesterday on Tuesday, Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy, Handmade Monday at Sum of Their Stories, Creative Mondays at Claire Justine, LouLou Girls, SITS , Beautifully Made at My Husband Has Too Many Hobbies, Wonderful Wednesday at OMHG, Wow Me Wednesdays at Gingersnap Crafts, Made By You Monday at Skip to My Lou, Thursday Favorite Things at Katherine’s Corner, Artsy Fartsy Link Party, Creatively Crafty at Try It, Like It, Inspire My Creativity at Dazzle While Frazzled, Inspiration Spotlight at Dear Creatives, Friday Features at OMHG, Home Matters at Life with Lorelai, Cooking and Crafting with J & J, Tuesday Turn About, Craftastic Monday at Sew Can Do, Pam’s Party and Practical Tips, Pictorial Tuesday at Peabea

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  1. Your drawings are so good! I really admire people who draw, I normally paint directly onto canvas but I must admit that when I do draw, I feel really proud and I keep promise myself that I should do it more often. Posts like yours really help me get motivated and inspired, so thank you :).

    1. Thanks so much for the nice words, Teodora! I'm so glad you feel motivated and inspired–that makes me feel good! I can't wait to look at your paintings.

  2. Hello there, Pam! I used to draw a lot, too, then picked it up again when I'd see kids working on crafts and such in the afternoon. I was just drawn to drawing them {sorry about the pun… ;)}. I think maybe we just get too busy with life, especially when our own kids come along, and we forget about it. Too busy. Too much to do. Not enough energy and time. I'm glad you've begun drawing again… It's a wonderful thing!

    Thanks for a fun post. Sharing to my Favorite Blogs board on Pinterest for you.
    Barb 🙂

    p.s. Stopping over from Wordless Wednesday on Oh, My Heartsie Girl!

  3. My mom is an art teacher but I am not good at drawing faces, nor do I love it. I do, however, love seeing other people's! And I totally know who Jim Croce is. I love rediscovering an old passion.

    1. I wanted to be an art teacher too, early on. Sometimes I regret not doing it. (But I wanted to be too many things!) Your mom has a wonderful job.

  4. Wow Pam! You are so talented! Your drawings are spectacular and you should continue creating art!
    Also wanted to thank you for dropping me a visit!!!

  5. Pam, I'm so glad you have reignited your passion for drawing. Oddly, I have drawn or sketched in the two years I've been on the blog break either, but this makes me want to dig out my sketchbook again. Also, I totally recognise myself in the 12 year old you from your about page!!! 🙂

  6. Oh my goodness PAM!!! These are gorgeous! You will probably pick it right back up too:) We do have very similar interests. HA and not just calligraphy. I was just looking at one of my sketchbooks last week from 1998 where I was thinking to myself 'I am so rusty….I don't know if I will ever get back to faces again. They were hard and I had to practice all the time to get good at them.' But I have been dreaming about it for a while. You have given me some encouragement here! Your portraits were really good and you will always have that talent! Why not pick it back up? I have to keep telling myself that when I wonder why motherhood and childbearing years should have anything to do with keeping myself from taking a half an hour here and there to sketch something. Thanks so much for the encouragement and I LOVE your website:)

    1. Thank so much for all of the your sweet words, Kathleen! I am so glad my post gave you some encouragement! I hope you will get back to drawing too! I'm learning that those creative times are really energizing, and I'm planning to take more time out for them. Thanks for your encouraging words about my website!

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