Jessica Russo Scherr

Art Education

Color Portrait

on Black Paper

Using colored pencils on black charcoal paper, draw a portrait from life or a photo, either of yourself, a friend, or a family member.

Arrange the lighting so that part of the face is in light and part is in shadow.

Start with a very faint pencil sketch of the contours and the plane breaks of the face.

Draw the background first in dark tones of browns, blues, and/or greens, but only lightly so that much of the black background shows through.

Soften the edges of the shapes in the background so that it seems out of focus and distant.

Then draw the face. The colors for the flesh tones should include yellow, orange, red, and white for the light side of the face, and brown, burnt sienna, and any cool colors for the shadows.

Relate the face to the background by adjusting each until it looks right.

The drawing should, above all, suggest a strong presence of light and, if possible, express a feeling that is true to the person being portrayed.

Just about every example is from a former student of mine.  Many thanks to them for all of their time and dedication.

How to earn a good grade on your homework

Follow the criteria presented in class and on the website.

Homework  assignments will take between 1 and 3 hours to complete.

All homework should be completed in your journal unless specified otherwise (not printer paper).

Fill the A4 Page of your journal.

Include a background when applicable.

Shade using a full range of values using a drawing pencil unless specified otherwise.

©2017 Jessica Russo Scherr text and photographs. All rights reserved. Any reprinting or republishing of the content of this web site requires permission from the author.