How To Draw Portraits

“How To Draw Portraits” that’s the simple title of this book by Charles Wood from 1943.

My particular copy I’ve just bought for just a couple of quid in a well-used state is from 1948. As you can imagine, as it’s over 70 years old and missing the protective jacket it’s rather delicate.

Despite the grandiose all encompassing title it’s actually a very small thin book with just a few pages. And it’s even thinner on actual instruction but it is evidently from an age where drawing and writing were a far more common activity growing up than for today’s kids. No keyboards available outside of the secretaries typing pool…

However it does have some useful tips and suggestions, if only to refresh the memory of someone with a bit of experience these days. There’s no new-fangled way to avoid practice so in my opinion there’s still much to be learnt from looking at the old art instruction books.

My copy from the book has slightly different proportions making him look slightly older.

A previous owner of the book had gridded up the drawing in the book, evidently to make an accurate copy – I rubbed out the grid as I’m trying to gain as much skill as possible by copying by eye. It would be a different story if I was planning on doing a ‘proper’ drawing rather than a sketch.

Here’s my initial under drawing where I was trying to find the proportions. I’m guessing that I spent slightly longer than half the time on this rather than the darker marks and shading.

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