How to Draw by Joy: Baby’s Portrait

Step by step baby portrait pencil drawing

I am presently working on drawing this little one at two years old in a illustrations for a children’s book I am creating. Two of the illustrations are included on this drawing tutorial below.

This is a free drawing tutorial by Joy. Pencil drawing is a skill, that to a degree, can be learned. Of course it helps if you have an eye for it, and a creative streak within you. However, the skill of drawing can be learned by anyone with the determination and discipline to practice.

Through drawing, I have improved my photography by learning to see the world around me differently. I have also learned to think “out of the box” and pay attention to the story being told with the drawings and the photos. This seemed to come once I did not have to focus on technique so much. After a while I have become comfortable knowing what to expect out of the pencils and other supplies used in drawing, and I do not have to put effort into trying to get them to do what I want them to do. Now, I seem to be able to focus more on the composition and seeing what I am drawing differently.

I hope you enjoy this tutorial. I have many others with various drawing subjects for you to explore when you are ready.

More Portrait Drawing by Joy

“I Am Fearfully and Wonderfully Made” portrait drawing (Aug. 13, 2012)

I am presently working on writing and illustrating a children’s book. Here is the progress on the first illustration. Just click on the photo to go to “I am my Father’s Child” Squidoo lens to see more illustrations the children’s book I am working on creating.

By the way, this little girl is the baby in the drawing. She is now 2 !/2 years old.

Finished….updated portrait of same child as in baby drawing. – August 14, 2012

Where to begin drawing your baby portrait…

Personally, I began by looking up portraits that I considered well drawn on the internet and took a look the artists who drew them, there styles, the materials they tend to use, and if they had a tutorial on their website, I read it. Some of these included: J D Hillberry, Lee Hammond, Remi Engles, and Diane Cardaci. After studying this for a few days, I gathered my supplies, and began.

Here is a list of supplies I used: graphite pencils (F, 2B, B, mechanical .7mm 2B, mechanical .5mm HB), charcoal pencil (soft, medium), a carbon pencil, tortillions (various sizes), a gummy eraser, a typewriter eraser, a scanner/printer, photopaper (to print the reference photos), strathmoore 300 Bristol (smooth) paper, a sheet of tracing paper to keep over the drawing in progress so that it does not smudge (I tend to need to protect my drawings as I travel and draw at the same time). Most of these products can be purchased at your local hobby store or

Essential Drawing and Sketching supplies:

Here are my favorite basic supplies for pen and ink, graphite, charcoal, and carbon pencil drawing and sketching.

Step 1:
Reference photos and grid

A good reference photo without any blurring is essential. Once obtained, scan it into your computer. Crop it to the portion of the photo that you will be drawing. Print it out in a size that you can easily see well. Next, determine the size of the portrait you will draw. A good size to start is 8″ by 8″ or 8″ by 10″. Once you have practiced a while, drawing larger portraits will not be such a challenge.

After the final portrait drawing size is determined, print out a black and white (grayscale) of the reference photo at the same size you will be drawing.

On the black and white reference photo, draw a 1″ by 1″ grid directly on the reference photo. And, then draw the same grid very lightly with the F graphite pencil on the bristol paper.

From here, begin drawing just the outline of the reference photo, square by square onto the grid. Occasional step back and look at the line drawing as a whole, but for the most part you will draw what you see one square at a time. Draw in only an outline of the reference photo, and do not include detail. If there are major areas of shading or highlights, then dot them in lightly. Here is an example of what I did.

Step 2:

I am left-handed, so I usually begin in the upper right corner of the drawing. This is very important, because you do not want to smudge the drawing with your hands as your progress over the portrait. If you are right-hand, then choose the upper left side of the drawing to begin. I use the black and white reference photo under my hand to prevent smudging my line drawing.

I begin using my graphite pencils here and start shading using the tortillons of various sizes. To figure out where to shade, I pay close attention to the black and white reference photo. There are shading techniques that you can learn from tutorials of the above named artists on their websites or books they have written. If you pay very close attention to the details of the shading on the black and white reference photo, and play around with your totillions and pencils on a scratch paper as you go, you will develop your own technique of achieving the shading in the photo.

Step 3:
The hand and arm…

This proved to be the hardest part of the drawing for me. I had to learn not to draw lines to create the arm and hand. This one is not perfect, I still have work on developing my ability to draw this portion of the portrait. I did learn that I can kind of dot in the hand outline and use shading to bring it out. I closely followed the shading in the black and white reference photo (paying very close attention to each square of the grid, one square at a time). I drew mostly with the toritillions, not the pencil. I would just rub the end of the tortillion on the charcoal pencil and use it to shade according to the reference photo.
My Favorite Essential books for Drawing

In my opinion, anyone who loves drawing should have a copy of these books on their reference shelf. They are full of inspirational ideas and skills to enhance your own drawing performance.

Step 4:
hair and forehead

While I moved on to the hair and forehead, I went back to the blanket and arm and hand regularly, adding darkened areas with my charcoal pencil and carbon pencil. Be sure to do this sparingly, a little dark goes a long way :-).

I learned from the above listed artists that the hair must be built up in layers. So I used the F pencil to lay the foundation, making strokes that followed the hair in the reference photo, but also following the shape of the head. I alternated drawing with pencils, blending with tortillions, and drawing with my kneaded easer in hair-like strokes, until it appeared as close to the reference photo as I could get it. I shaded the forehead the same way as I did the hand and the arm, paying close attention to shading under the hairline, and highlights.

I then began to darken in the eyes, keeping in mind that to create a real eye, the eye is round inside the eyelids, and that the eyelids contain several layers to the edges with dots rather than just a solid line.

Step 5:
The nose and ear…

As I draw, I tend to go back a little at a time, fine tuning what I have already done and adding darks and lights to the drawing.

I continued down the face to the nose, paying particular attention to the fact that a nose is primarily shaded onto the face with very few hard lines. These hard lines are created by the shadows under the nose and around the nose rather than drawn in with the pencil. I primarily used a tortillion that I rubbed on the charcoal pencil as I went along.

I also began shading in the ear, paying very close attention to the dark shaded areas to create the lines rather than my drawing them in. I also added the hair over the fingers here, and began adding more detail to the hair and building the layers in it.

Triumphant – August 18, 2012

This one of her was so fun to draw. She has great facial expression. I also used a few new techniques to get the slide to come forward in the drawing.

Step 6:
Ear and Mouth

I am working my way down the face to the mouth now. I left out the bubbles from the reference photo on the mouth and began shading it in. Here I remembered from the artists listed above, that highlights are very important in creating a realistic mouth and also the deeper shading. I also paid close attention to the lines in the mouth begin careful to shade them in rather than draw them in.

The blanket was shaded in next in layers. The first layer was my 2B pencil, held like a wand and shaded in an up and down direction. Blended with a large tortillion, then shaded in with the same wand like method of holding the pencil, but this time in a side to side direction. Again, blended. Leaving the dots white and using a kneaded easer when the shading bled into it. I used the carbon pencil in spots to bring out the edges and shading in the edges. The charcoal pencils was used on the tortillion to shade in the darker folds of the blanket in the foreground.

Step 7:

In the final stage, I finished up the arm at the left bottom side, and went back to adjust the fingers a bit on the hand. I also went back with my carbon pencil and added a little dark here and there, and did the same thing with the typewriter eraser (very lightly) to add highlights here and there. The darks and the lights should be added sparingly. A little goes a long way. I will keep this drawing up on the easel with the reference photos for a while longer. This way as I see it from time to time, I can touch it up a bit here and there. When finished, I will spay with a fixative to keep it from smudging. Then have it framed and matted at a local store.

Don’t forget…

to have fun!!! Drawing a little bit everyday creates drastic improvements in your drawing. Draw what you enjoy. Post it on your own lens or FB and have fun with your drawing.

Joy Neasley — the Missionary and the Artist

I am a missionary and an artist. I was born in East Texas, but left at age 19. Eventually, I settled in Tennessee. Over the years, I have raised two children who now live in Tennessee. Missionary training began at RBTC in Oklahoma in September 2005, with graduation from the missions group after two years in May 2007. Then, after returning to my hometown, Clarksville, TN, I began preparations to head out to Northern China, which took place in May 2008.

Drawing is a new skill which started in Spring 2009. During a time of recuperating from an illness for several months, I found ample time to spend in prayer. Out of that prayer time, I began to draw and write cards for various people, in which, I was led to spend time in prayer. Before I was finished with these cards there were a little over 60 of them. They were very rough sketches, but none-the-less, what I was led to do. Through this process, I realized what He was doing, and I continued to draw and develop this skill, and still continue to grow and develop. These drawings are the result. As I travel through China for my primary purpose of ministry, I draw, creating a visual journal of what I see.

I really enjoy the drawing and the purposes for which God has placed this gift in my life. A whole new door has opened, and I am walking through that door, eagerly awaiting to see where the road beyond it leads.

In mid-May of 2009 I moved into Southern China. I love the people and the ministry work here. I still travel around China and work where needed in association with another ministry here, also. This year, to help share the people I meet with my friends and supporters back home I am working on The 110 Faces of China Drawing Project. I have six of these finished, and working hard to get more finished as time permits. I also have started a blog with regular updates about the people, myself, and the drawings. You can check out this and my blog,” What is it like to be a Missionary Today”, in the links on this Squidoo lens. I also have a Fine Arts America website (linked to this lens) where prints and cards of my drawings and photos are made available to everyone.

Thank you for your prayers and support!


joy neasley

P.S. – if you want to support this ministry, the fastest way is to make an Online Donation via Go to “Donate” and select Joy Neasley – Asia. The system can process USA and International cards. Or simply mail your gift to World Outreach Ministries, PO Box B, Marietta, GA 30061, and designate for Joy Neasley Fund.

Gift of God – July 28, 2012

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