Amazing Family Portrait Develops Before Your Eyes


Watch the talented artist, Giorgio Arcuri, create a masterpiece in “moments” as he uses a photograph to draw a family. The subject of this recent piece is fashion designer and model Chiara Ferragni, blogger of “The Blonde Salad” and author of the book by the same name.

Whether you are a beginning or seasoned artist, it is always a good idea to observe the work of others, and to have the opportunity to watch this time lapse of Arcuri’s portrait is priceless. Remember that this portrait took much longer than the less-than-three minutes it took to watch it. Mr. Arcuri is very skilled and confident in his application of pencil to paper, and you can be assured that this skill has been honed for many years with diligence.

While entertaining to watch, there are a few things we can also learn from the video. The composition starts in pencil, a favorite media for Arcuri. He achieves an amazing range of shades with his pencils. Notice that he starts with the lightest areas of the face and moves to the darker. Also take note that he has at least 3 black pencils in use. Light, fine lines are created with a hard lead (the letter H is on the pencil, and the higher the number, the harder the lead). Softer pencils (labeled with a B) are darker and richer. He uses charcoal for the deepest blacks.

I would recommend beginning a project like this with a single face. Arcuri flows smoothly from one face to the next, but do you notice his order for drawing the faces? He is generally progressing from top to bottom, left to right. Why do you think this is?

Arcuri has an interesting technique for using color. Rather than making the entire illustration in color, he uses colored pencils for just accents, such as the eyes and lips of the girls. That is his style. Remember that you can learn techniques from different artists, but the fun thing about art is you can stick to those techniques as much or as little as you want to develop your OWN style.

Remember not to be intimidated by this talented artist, but be inspired instead. His amazing ability to draw a family was not acquired overnight. Start slowly, and view this video and other similar ones. There is always an added layer of challenge when drawing multiple people in a portrait, but if you practice drawing compositions of friends and family from time to time, it will become easier and easier.

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