Portrait warm-ups are part of many artist warm-up exercises. Today we’ll look at expanding on those warm-ups by using distinguishing facial features from a photo reference to give us interesting character variations. Let’s start with the photo below:
I drew a quick sketch of the photo (in red). On a separate layer, I re-drew the character, keeping the eyes and nose, while varying the hair style and mouth. Multiple variants can be generated in this manner.
When I’m looking for face references, I look for visually unique and interesting faces that have a sense of character and personality. Unsplash is a pretty solid resource for finding good reference photos to begin sketching from. Let’s try it again with another photo reference.
Like everything, you can mix and match from the reference as needed. The main idea behind this exercise is to give you a method to expand from a starting point.