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Tip #2 "Zoom in/out" (how to draw a perfect charcoal portrait with a reference)

Have you ever lost yourself in the process of drawing? You started your drawing, and worked so hard on every detail, spending hours on shading every single part of the face and then looked at the results at a good distance and your portrait turned out to be absolutely different from the original photo? The answer to what happened is you simply kept your reference picture close up for a long time. This is the case when you need to remember about My Tip #2 "Zoom in/out"!

zoom out when you are working on shading, zoom in when you are working on details

I've created a simple golden rule for you that is easy to remember:

Zoom IN when you work on details and Zoom OUT when you work on shading.

I used to have a problem with this all the time, in the past. You know how you can be concentrated on a work so much that you don't even move and you forget even to touch your computer to change the view of the reference picture. Or you think you need to see a picture close up so you could find extra shadow on an eyelid and that would add super realism to your portrait and everyone would complement your work that is so detailed. The secret is that all of that is not going to make your artwork great.

That is why never work on shading when your reference image is zoomed in. Even if you are trying to catch a shadow that is small and hardly noticeable, NEVER do that! If your eyes can't see it when you are looking at the whole image, you don't need it. You should teach yourself how to feel the shadows and tones without zooming in. Use a close up picture only when you are working on details.

And always remember this: Details and Shadows are different things! Details are hard to see but they can be easy reflected on paper. Shadows are tricky, they are obvious but look different on paper. I will tell you how to work on shading more in my next article. Hope today's tip reduce your mistakes and saves your time.

Credit picture: Christian Steinmetz


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