This portrait was drawn by artist Molly Thomas in colored pencil. This is a beautiful portrait with a pretty accurate drawing!!






Taking a look at a few things we can adjust to improve on this one even more. First, let’s look at the drawing. You are SO close, but there are a few areas to notice.


While the areas that are off are minor, they can change enough when added up to affect how much the end portrait looks like your subject. Because you are so close we are going to get more nitpicky than normal!

  • Mouth – You have thinned out the upper lip on the right.
  • Nose – It comes down a bit too low which meant you had to drop the mouth a bit to counter that. One little thing being off can throw everything else off.
  • Eyes – the upper eye crease is not quite shaped right. This minor adjustment in the shape of that one line will completely change someone’s expression.
  • Jaw – Because the jaw is a bit too wide on both sides, it adds weight to her, which is something clients will complain about for sure!

Color and Contrast

This is especially important here because you said in your submission that your goal was to “Showing different ethnicities in their traditional dress from Alabama to show how much diversity there is inside Birmingham.”

The problem is that because contrast is always scary for all of us, you’ve drawn her as a white person in Indian clothing. This one thing being off can completely undo your goal with the piece.

In the sample above, the color swatches to the left are from the exact area on your portrait as the color swatches on the right are from the reference.

Not only have you adjusted her skin tone into being a different race, but there is no dimension in her face because there are no darker shadows. I know it is SO scary to get those in, but it is better to do it and learn from it than to leave them out and have a flat portrait.

The highlights on her hair are also off which is causing the hair to look very flat in areas. Don’t be afraid to add blues into the highlights of dark hair either. This will make the hair feel shiny instead of grey.


You put beautiful detail and attention into her clothing and the accuracy of your drawing. The background feels like it was done by a different artist all together though. Those colors are REALLY bold. Enough so that they pull your attention to them instead of the subject. When you are working on your backgrounds remember to pay as much attention to your blending and colors as you do every other part of your painting. It’s so easy to think “meh, it’s just a background, no big deal”. The problem is that it can really change how great your overall piece is.


I love how accurate your drawing is in this. You’ve started with a great foundation! Keep it up, I can tell you are going to be absolutely amazing with a bit more practice!!!