Today’s critique comes from artist Tomas Wilson. You can see more of his artwork at He has drawn this portrait in graphite. This portrait is drawn really close to the reference photo. Great job with the proportions!

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As usual, I imported your photo into photoshop, layered your reference photo on top of your artwork and outlined the reference so that we can easily see where adjustments in the drawing itself may need to be made.


As you can see, the drawing is amazingly close!! Great work! That’s the hardest part! Now it’s time to refine the tiny details. One of the easiest ways to do this is to work upside down. This will often make it easier for you to see shapes as they really are, making it easier for us to render them accurately, which you had said was your goal.

If we look at the eyes you can see that they are slightly off. I mean SLIGHT too. The upper eye crease on the left hand side can be opened up a bit, the nose on the right side of the drawing is missing the line that separates the middle section from the nostril on the right. This makes the nose appear to be too rounded. The mouth is a tiny bit too small. While all of these things really are tiny, they will make a difference in the expression of the persons face.


Next, taking a look at the contrast. The values are off if we compare your reference photo in black and white to your drawing. This is SUCH an easy fix. You’ve already got the details, now its time for the fun part of working on your values which is what will really make the piece look more three dimensional.


Now that the reference is in black and white you can see where some major adjustments can be made. Get your darks much darker, while leaving the light areas light. Overall most of this piece can go quite a bit darker. You want to pay attention to where those dark areas are, don’t go crazy and make everything dark. The key is to keep the light areas light enough while creating depth by darkening up the rest. Your darkest areas are going to be in his hair, around his beard, the inside of his mouth and portions of his eyes (and his shirt of course).

Notice things like how the shirt collar on the right is cast in shadow and should be much darker than on the left hand side. Make sure you’re careful when drawing in wrinkles. They should not be the darkest values in a guy of this age. They should be there, just very subtly.


You’re off to such a great start! I checked out your deviant art page and you’ve improved SO much even since submitting this piece. You’re a great artist, keep it up!!