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4.2 Basic Portrait Theory

Before we get on with adding shading to our project, let’s have a look at some basic portrait theory in regards to skin shading. We’ll look at the shadows and highlights on your average male and female portrait.

4.2 Basic Portrait Theory

Hello. Welcome back to Vector Portraits for Beginners on Tuts+. My name is Sharon Millon, and in this lesson we're going to look at basic portrait shading. As you know from the lesson about choosing the right stock images, we're going to be using two images here that I've got even lightening, they're also straight on and they have nothing obstructing the faces. I'm gonna show you the differences between the male and the female portraits, where to shade, and where to add highlights. As you can see, I've chosen stock images where the models are actually smiling. This is because it accentuates the facial muscles. This makes it easier to show you the highlight points of the cheeks. I've drawn an initial base layer which includes the face and the ears. We're gonna be focusing on this area. I've put a transparent background over the top so we can see the shapes that we're going to be drawing. I've already drawn the shadow shapes and the highlight shapes for this, so don't feel as if you need to follow along with this tutorial. This one specifically is looking at the shading. We'll use what we've learned in this lesson in our simple shaded portrait. So, let's first compare the shadows. Throughout, if you ignore any sort of shading on the ears. This is because shading, regardless of it being male or female, will be the same. What you'll see is the shapes in both portraits are in the same place, and are of a similar shape. Howeve,r there are slight variations between the sexes. Let's start with the eyes. The female's, the shape is slightly exaggerated. It's exaggerated around the eye line. This is because it's to accentuate lashes. This will make it more feminine. With women, it also comes to a point. This is to create a long lash cat eye look. The eyelid crease is also exaggerated for women. With lips, the aim is to make them as soft and subtle as possible. There'll always be shadow within the parting of the lips. There'll be shadow underneath the lip and at the corners of the mouth. However, with men, the shadows are considerably bigger. If we look at the shading for the hairline and around the forehead, you'll notice the male shading is a lot more square. Now let's look at the highlights. I'm gonna be showing you this in outline mode rather than the actual specific shapes. This is because white on top of the stock images doesn't look that clear. Let's first look at the eyes. Females have a much larger brow bone. This is, in part, due to women plucking their eyebrows. Of course, men can pluck their eyebrows as well. It's just more common on women. Women also are likely to have a highlight within the corner of the eyes. This is to make the eyes appear a little larger. If we look at the highlight in the forehead, the female shape is a lot more round, and the male is a lot more square. This is a common pattern with both the shadows and the highlights. The female highlights will be a lot more round, and the male will be a lot more square. This is also apparent on the chin. As you see, the female's is round and the male, it's a lot more square. We're gonna look at highlights on the lips now. As the top lip sticks out a lot more, you'll notice there's a highlight on top of the lips. With women, this'll be a lot larger. This is to make female lips look a lot more plump. Moving onto the cheeks, with males we're using a more triangular shape and a woman's is a lot more curved. Then on to the nose. We've separated the female highlight on the nose in two shapes, one for the tip of the nose and one for the bridge. With the male, it's one continuous shape. This gives women a lot more slim-lined look. I highly recommend looking at tutorials on YouTube created by drag queens. Drag queens are female impersonators, and they try to contour their face to be more feminine. They'll add shadows, either side of the nose, to make the nose appear more slim-line. They'll add shading around their forehead to make it look more round rather than square. They'll also add shading underneath the chin, to give them a more softer, curved jawline, rather than a square one. It can be highly entertaining and it can also teach you a lot about shading on portraits. So, let's look at colors. Although we have a basic skin tone, and ideally everyone would have such flawless colors in their skin, there are variants. Both sexes will have a slight graying in the corner of their eyes. Of course, this is exaggerated if the person is tired. Due to weathering, or sometimes illness, the tip of the nose is all slightly rosy red. Sex specific variations. Men will have a slight graying around their chin and cheek area. This is due to facial hair. With women you can add a rose blush to the cheekbones. I'm going to then add these color variations to our portraits, and you can see the difference. They are ever so slight. Of course, not all portraits will follow these basic theories. This is an average. Some faces will be a lot more plump, some will be a lot thinner. Some will be older and some will be younger. And that's it with your basic shading theory. Of course, not all portraits will be exactly the same and these are just basic principles that you can employ in future portraits. Next time on Vector Portraits for Beginners, we're gonna be taking these tips and employing them into our portraits. Thanks for listening.

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