Today’s submission comes from an artist who was only 13 at the time he completed this! Hassan has drawn Shakira in colored pencil. Great job on the movement of the hair!

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I don’t have your reference photo for this, but I can still give you some tips on drawing portraits.

Skin tone and shading

One of the most common questions I get about colored pencil is “what color do I use for drawing skin”…as if there is a single right color. When I drew my Jon Snow fan art, I probably used 25 different colors on his skin, and he is super pale in that image! Some of the colors I used are the same as what you did, so you weren’t wrong in that color choice, you just didn’t use enough other colors along with it so her face came out very flat.



The whites of eyes are not white unless the photo was taken with a harsh flash, in which case you should still never draw them as white. They are usually going to be varying shades of pinks and greys. The only white white area will be the shine on the eye. If you leave the whites true white you end up with a very flat eye.

The whites of the eyes do not run corner to corner either. Pause this video and go look at your eye in the mirror. Look at the inner corner with that pink bit. You have got to include that and the necessary shading to make the eye appear to have a rounded form. If you leave that out, you will end up with cartoon eyes.


This one may shock many people, but blond hair isn’t yellow. WAIT WHAT?!?! Yep, you heard that right. When drawing blond hair you will have shades of orange, tan, cream, even browns…but not yellow. Yellow is a great color for birds fish and flowers…but not people. That is a color you can safely leave out of your portrait drawing collection.

Next let’s look at the shading on the hair, this is similar to the face in that if you don’t get your values right and shading to blend softly, you end up with hair that looks flat, even if you had it drawn perfectly. When drawing hair, plan on spending much longer on that than on the face itself! Hair is a pain, but if you rush over it and don’t have nice soft clean edges and blending, it will pull your overall piece down.


Of all the things I mentioned, none of them will matter much if the initial foundation drawing is off. You have great drawing skills, I can tell you will be amazing with more practice! For now, slow down and make sure your drawing is perfect before that colored pencil ever hits the paper. Spend some time studying human anatomy and practice sketching people! No matter how great you get at shading and blending, if your initial sketch is not right, it won’t look right in the end.

You really are off to a great start! Keep drawing!