Portraying Portraits in Art 1

Maddy Moe and Belle Ivey

For the second nine weeks of this semester, the beginning Art 1 students are learning how to draw portraits of themselves and others. For art students, portraits are a great tool to practice proportions and shapes. They allow the artist to create something that is almost life-like, all without taking a picture.

The art teacher, Mrs. Jenny Norton, described the general benefits of portrait drawing. “It is always good to practice drawing from direct observation. Portraits are very important in art because they portray our identity. Rendering a face to form leads you to endless possibilities.” In more specific aspects of portrait art, Mrs. Norton also added, “Students are trying to make a person look real by applying and manipulating the charcoal properly. They need to pay attention to the shapes of the values, and the charcoal needs to blend gradually from dark to light to achieve form.”

From her description of the more technical parts of portrait creation, it’s easy to understand that it can be difficult work, especially for people that are new to it. Even though that may be true, many of her students genuinely enjoy it.

A senior, Patricia Bradshaw, when asked what her favorite part of drawing portraits is, she responded, “My favorite part of drawing portraits is capturing beauty in its young days, making it essentially immortal.”

Another student, Holly Bradshaw said, “My favorite part would have to be drawing the eyes and being able to put in precise but important details on them.”

Mrs. Norton and her students all think that portrait creation is a great art form. Even though drawing a portrait is time-consuming, it’s rewarding in the end.