This week’s submission comes from artist Farrah Mathis. She has completed this portrait in colored pencils. This was her first time using this medium!!! I am amazed at how awesome your first colored pencil portrait came out!! The soft blending on the skin is beautifully done!! The shape highlights on the hair is awesome as well!

Taking a look at a few things we can adjust on this even more, the first thing that stood out to me was the yellow used in the hair. Birds and fish are almost always going to be the only living things that will have yellow pencils used in their hair or fur. That is a color you can pretty much remove from your pencil set when drawing hair in almost every case. You didn’t submit your reference photo with this, but I found what I’m guessing was the image you used so we can better compare the colors here.

Yes, she is blonde, but blonde isn’t yellow. You will normally use various shades of greys, purples and browns (depending on how light the hair is). You will get a much more natural look this way.

For the drawing of the portrait, there are a few things off like the width of her face on the right-hand side. Her upper lip on the left is a bit too thick where it meets the bottom lip. I love your shading on the lips, that is beautifully done. Watch where you shade the teeth. The way that yours are it appears that they are angled forward with how the light is catching them. Great job not jumping straight into white though.

On her nose, the area where the bridge of her nose curves into her eye is missing on yours. This makes the nose appear to be too far to the left.

The bottom inner section of her eyes should curve up a bit.

Another thing you may not think much about when painting portraits are the ears. These seem unimportant but make sure to put the extra time into forming their shape just right. Remember that no matter how amazing every other part of your artwork is, if you have one area that you rushed over it can pull down the rest of the piece.

My last tip is on the shading and highlights. You can darken up the underside of her jaw a bit to set her face and her neck apart even more. You can also really play up the highlights on her face. I think most of the darker values and shading is great as it is, I would just take a white pencil and go over the areas of her cheekbones, chin and around her mouth and nose to give the piece more dimension. I’ve you’ve not already, watch some videos on contouring makeup. It will really show you where we want our highlights and shadows in portraits and I think can make it much easier to understand where to put those!

You are off to such an amazing start! Keep it up!!