Portraiture {Learning the Art Basics}


This post will describe all of Lillie‚Äôs portraiture work. Lillie is doing so incredibly well with her art.  We requested a change of tutor, not because there was anything wrong with the one we had, but because we wanted more input into what Lil was doing well and what she needed to improve upon.  We are SO happy with her new tutor.  She is friendly, enthusiastic and best of all critiques Lil’s work thoroughly, which was just what we were looking for!

Lillie received 100% for her last lesson on Cutlery.  It wasn’t that which thrilled her though, it was her new tutor’s comments.  Being creative is Lillie’s everything.  She adores it and spends most of her days creating something or another.  Thing is, we never realised that she was artistic, as in drawing and painting, but she really is!  And in just six lessons she has improved her art hugely.  She is better than either of us realised and for the first time she is really enjoying sketching and pushing herself to her own limits.

Portraiture Photography

This latest lesson was all about portrait photography.  The lessons are fairly open ended and the student can choose which way to take the study to make it personal to them.  Lillie and I come up with a smorgasbord of ideas and then Lil narrows them down to the things she wishes to concentrate on.  In her final year, she wants to do her project about exploring twin-ship, so each lesson she does she always tries to incorporate aspects of that.

This lesson was no different, and we were all interested in the art she produced.  She received 100 % again, and her tutor had written an essay commenting on it!  We both love this, and Lillie really does feel like her new tutor understands her and what she is trying to create.  I have a very happy daughter right now, who spends her days pretty much in her own idea of paradise.

Portraiture and Da Vinci


She began with a study on proportions, using some of the work she did when she was 11 and studying Da Vinci:

She even used some of the photos she had taken with the help of her sister, during their attempt at recreating the Mona Lisa:

Portraiture and Proportions

Next she took some photos of the family to explore how close to ‘perfection’ their faces were.  She also thought this might improve her observation skills:


Lil was quite surprised at how different Charlotte and her faces really are:

She did the obligatory continuous sketch and blind contour sketch.  These also help her to improve her observation skills, and she tries to do them for every lesson.

Anime Portraiture

Next she tried out her new proportion skills on some simple anime drawings, and facial sketches:


She began a fabulous drawing of A8 but hadn’t added the proportion lines and realised mid way through that if the eyes were to be in the middle of the head then A’s head would be disproportionately large!

Portrait Graphite Sketches

Next, Lillie did a graphite sketch of her sister, Abigail, and a self portrait.


These were simple preparatory sketches and by no means complete.  At this point Lil’ was just playing about with facial proportions.  That said, we were blown away by her sketch of A8:

This exercise showed her that she needed a bit more practice with facial features such as eye, nose and mouth.

Practicing Portrait Features


Apart from the fact that her numpty mother managed to spray adhesive rather than a fixative spray onto the charcoal eye, she was chuffed with all her work here:

Artist Study: Diane Arbus

Each lesson, Lil’ tries to include an artist study, so that she can learn from the best.  This lesson was no exception.  I found a very well known photographer, Diane Arbus, who enjoyed capturing the marginalised people of her time, and was well known for her photos of twins:


We chose her primarily because of her most famous photo was of a set of identical twins:

And it was these photos Lillie focused her study on.

Portraiture Photography


She learnt a bit more about the actual photo and wrote about her experiences of being a twin:

as well as attempting to recreate the essence of the twin photo with Charlotte:

They DID NOT like the grumpy photos at all, so we made sure to get some fun ones in as well, which showcased their individual personalities a bit better:


The final task involved Lillie’s self portrait.  Next lesson is all about the actual drawing of the portrait, but this lesson required her to take a photo of herself (I took it, but she set it up), by a window.  She rejected many of the photos we took. But I encouraged her to include those and say why she felt they were no good:


The final photo was beautiful, and she is completely ready now to tackle her own charcoal self portrait for lesson seven:


So proud of that girl of mine <3


  1. She is really talented and it is lovely that she combined her art practice with her twinship! Even her blind sketch is better than my best efforts! She did a lot of work for this project.

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