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The Human Face in Portraiture

The Human Face in Portraiture

21 February 2021

The hidden stories behind the human face

Ever since I was a kid I have been drawn to the human face and portraiture. I started practicing and taking it more seriously when I was about 11-12 years old. I used to spend hours and hours drawing all my favourite celebrities. You name it, from Jennifer Aniston, David Duchovny, Devon Sawa – can you guess how old I am now? Haha.

In my first year of high school, one of my first art assignments was to draw a large-scale portraiture piece. I chose Claire Danes as the new Romeo and Juliet movie had just been released and was all the rage. I watched that movie too many times to count!! I remember my art teacher praising the accuracy in my portraiture at the age of 13. This was my very first “art critique” and it boosted my confidence and enthusiasm to keep going.

Claire Danes – 1996 (drawn at age 13)

Back then I enjoyed the challenge of improving my technical skills. I wanted to portray the portrait in the most realistic way. I knew being out by even 1 millimetre out can change the face of someone completely. Accuracy was the absolute key. There was no room for mistakes.

Rowan Atkinson

Improving my technical skills in portraiture was an important part of my growth as an artist. I learned the importance of accuracy, colours, contrasts, light and shadow sources, textures and so much more.

But after some time I felt realism took the joy out of creating. All the “rules” you need to follow suddenly felt uninspiring. I also started to realise that there is more to portraiture than just technical skills. In fact, that was never the hard part. The hard part I discovered was drawing the “unseen”, the emotion and story behind the face. A face can show so many emotions and tell you a story without ever uttering a word.

My recent portraiture pieces are no longer about the accuracy of my technical skills. My abstract, loose realism provides my viewers’ permission to feel, connect and understand the hidden story behind these faces.

THIS is what draws me to the human face.

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