Question: how do you know where to start drawing ?

Also See: ' Eyes, Ears & Nose Placement' <CLICK HERE>

A Question I was asked:

How do you know where to start drawing a picture ? with 5 people in it ? – I know you started left to right but why ? is that just better for yourself or is there some way that you are suppose to start a picture ? don't forget you are talking to somebody who hasnt drawn a picture for 10 years or more 😐 😐 and even then mine wasnt very good but yours is looking good mate 🙂

This is a question I have been asked a few times so thought I will post my latest reply here. The question is below and my answer is further down the page. This question relates to my recent drawing of five people in one portrait for my Auntie Pam. Portrait is at bottom of the page.


To be honest their is no rules to drawing, it is simply what works best for the individual which you find from just trying things. I start from the left as you said. But It is only because I am RIGHT handed and I discovered the hard way that I MUST work left to right or my hand will end up resting against what I have already drawn which ends up smudging my hard work. So working left to right means I am not going to smudge anything.I find it is also wise to Start at the top of the page if possible, so as you work down again you wont be smudging your work.

Remember, drawing is all about building layers, from lighter to darker. Drawing and Sketching is different in my opinion. Drawing is time consuming and about layers upon layers, sketching is one or two layered pieces of work done quickly and often just outlines. Sketching is good for recording things quickly or on the move for use later. Drawing is more a polished finished piece.

As for how to start a drawing, I actually ask myself this every time as it is daunting to look at a blank page. – I asked myself this when starting each new face on this drawing!

My general rule at the moment is start by getting the outline of the face the right shape. Get the eyes, nose and mouth in position. I am right handed so I work from left to right and top to bottom to avoid smudging my work.

Once I have got a fairly accurate outline I start with getting the first layers of detail in the eyes and mouth, and then I put a first layer of hair on. Seeing the hair really helps to bring out the features to see if the drawing is looking right. If it is I then add the first layer of shading. Then back to the eyes, lips, nose, then shading etc.

I never know where to really start but this is a basic rule to help me get started if I am undecided.

What about painting? Now painting is a different thing all together as you generally start with the lightest background colours, and build up layers to darker tones, anywhere on the page that it needs to be, there is no left to right business as the hand never normally rests on the page.

Auntie Pam's Grandchildren 041211
  • Jason Turner

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    • leondavey

      Thank you for taking the time to reply! Much appreciate the feedback 🙂