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  • Publisher: Search Press
  • Edition: BC Paperback
  • Publication: 31 March 2021
  • ISBN 13/EAN: 9781782217954
  • Stock: 50+
  • Hurt Stock: £6.50 (1 available)
  • Size: 216x280 mm
  • Illustrations: 250
  • Pages: 144
  • RRP: £12.99
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The Beginner’s Guide to Drawing Portraits


by Carole Massey

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Book Description

Drawing the human face has a timeless and universal appeal, though it's often perceived as being difficult to achieve. Carole's book removes the mystery from portrait painting, and makes the subject accessible to even absolute beginners. She shows you in easy step-by-step stages how to use line, tone and form to capture a likeness and give it both personality and expression. 

Containing simple exercises along with longer step-by-step projects, this book leads you by the hand through the different elements of the face, allowing you to gradually build your skills before leading on to successfully describing your subject's likeness and character. 

Composition, clothing, props and more personal characteristics like age and hairstyles are all covered. The book also includes information on drawing from life.

Table of Contents

Introduction 6
Materials 8
Your first portrait 26
Self portrait 28
Shape and structure 32
Features 38
Proportions 46
Capturing a likeness 68
Dimithra 72
Shading, tone and form 76
Character and expression 90
Moving on 96
Rosie 102
Drawing from life 106
Composition 114
Story 124
Maasai Warrior 132
Cora 136
Experimenting 140
Index 144

About the Author

About Carole Massey

Carole Massey was born in Hertfordshire and studied at St. Alban's School of Art and Leicester School of Art & Design. After a career in advertising and graphic design, Carole returned to her first love, painting, full-time. She now teaches and runs weekend workshops, as well as organising painting holidays. Carole's work is exhibited widely, and she is particularly known for her celebrity portraits, mostly inspired by photographs. She uses a wide variety of media including acrylic, watercolour, pastel, pencil and monochrome.



I have always struggled with drawing noses and mouths when it comes to portrait drawing. This book is full of useful tips and advice on how to plan your portraits before going free hand. There is great advice on getting your proportions right which I have found extremely helpful. Once youve gained your grounding there are sections on shading and experimentation which is something Im hoping to progress to. The book is not overly wordy like some others and its full of photos which really illustrate the points perfectly. I would thoroughly recommend this book to amateur artists like me.

The Artist

The last time Search Press rebadged a title in their Drawing Masterclass series as a beginner's guide, I raised an eyebrow so quizzically it would have made Roger Moore blush. They've done it again, but this time they - or rather Carole Massey, who has done the heavy lifting - have pulled off quite a conjuring trick. The rabbit has been pulled out of the hat, sawn in half, put back together again and released as a flock of doves, all without a step being missed. There's new material here as well as the original and the book is not so much a course as a gentle progression through faces, features, expressions and poses. Keeping it to the head and shoulders simplifies things no end. Carole is particularly good on babies and children, too. If you've been wanting to try portraiture, but have been looking for a starting point, you've found it. 


This is a complete re-working and a great deal of credit must go to Carole Massey who has done the heavy lifting here. She has not only added new material, but re-written and simplified to an amazing extent. Concentrating on the head and shoulders simplifies things immeasurably you can forget about hands, feet, clothes and posture, for instance. It also allows her to concentrate on the form, features and expressions of the face, which is mainly what the book is about.

This is not so much a course as an examination of the way portraits are built up. Although the way through it is progressive youre always building on and reinforcing what you learnt before, there arent the same number of examples, exercises and demonstrations. Theyre there, and youll find them, but in a less structured way. Its very subtle how the material you need is to hand just when you want it, rather than when youve come to expect it.

Theres an excellent variety of gender, ethnicity, shape, form and age here. Carole is particularly good with babies and children and you could justify the relatively modest cover price for that alone.

This is probably one of the best introductions to portrait drawing around and the fact that it uses recycled material is probably only of interest to reviewers like me. You wont see the joins.

The People's Friend

More people than ever have been finding joy in drawing and painting its a fabulous way to unwind and relax. However, if you would like to improve your skills, then this is the perfect guide to take you through the stages. Step-by-step instructions remove the mystery to creating your very own masterpieces, with tips on how to capture personality and expression.

Leisure Painter contributor, Carole Massey's eagerly anticipated guide to drawing portraits is aimed specifically at the beginner. Carole takes great pains to dispel the myth that portrait painting is only for experienced artists and makes it accessible to beginners through step-by-step examples. Simple exercises and longer projects show how to use line, tone and form to capture a likeness, using both monochrome and coloured pencils. There are also chapters on composition, clothing, props and more personal characteristics, such as hairstyles, resulting in portraits full of character and life.

Amazon Customer Review

Excellent colour examples & easy to understand instructions to encourage a nervous beginner.

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