How do you draw faces like a Renaissance artist? I turned to the Leonardo da Vinci exhibit at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts for inspiration.
This first piece in the da Vinci exhibit is actually by Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio, a student of his, but Leonardo’s instructions to other artists on how to draw faces is still pertinent today:
The size of the mouth is a well-proportioned face is equal to the distance between the parting of the lips and the bottom of the chin.
The space from the middle of the nose to the bottom of the chin is half the face.
The space between the eyes is equal to the size of one eye.
image from wikiHow
Now let’s examine da Vinci’s portraits more closely.
Attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, Head of a Young Woman, about 1500-10. Red chalk with touches of white chalk on prepared paper.
Leonardo da Vinci, Head of a Young Woman (Study for the Angel in the Virgin of the Rocks), about 1483-85. Metalpoint with opaque watercolor on prepared paper.
One way to learn to draw like da Vinci is to copy his drawings. Tracing the drawing is another way to learn (and it’s not considered “cheating”).
From Awesome Artists
p.s. This post is part of my series for my daughter, Grasshopper and Sensei, who wants to go to art and design school. The rest of the posts are:
Top Art and Design Colleges for Undergraduates (this includes summer programs for high school students)
Art Competitions for Kids and Teens
Follow PragmaticMom’s board Art with Kids on Pinterest.
BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.
6 thoughts on “How to Draw Faces Like a Renaissance Master”
Thanks for the resources! I’ve always wanted to improve my drawing skills. It’s never too late to learn!
My mother and mother-in-law started painting in their retirement and they would agree with you that it’s never too late to learn!! I’m so glad you are brave enough to try! You are an inspiration!
This looks great, Mia!! I can’t wait to show this to my daughter!
I hope she likes it! 🙂
I want to learn how to draw better. Thanks for sharing these resources!
Hope you enjoy the drawing tips! 🙂