How To Draw An Abstract Face; 10 Amazing Techniques

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How to Draw an Abstract Face

Do you want to learn how to draw an abstract face? Well, the good news is that there are man different techniques and materials that you can use as you learn how to draw an abstract face. As an artist, it’s often difficult for people to push themselves beyond their comfort zone.

If you think back to your beginnings as an artist, you didn’t sit in an art class and learn how to create abstract art. You probably started with sill life drawings, then other realistic subjects. Abstract art is a step outside of the norm for many people, but once you embrace it, the possibilities are endless. You really can do just about anything you want to.

How to Draw an Abstract Face

How do you draw an abstract face? Here are 10 clear techniques to draw an abstract face using various artistic techniques

  1. Continuous Line Drawings
  2. Cubist Portrait
  3. Expressionist Portrait in Oil Pastel
  4. Expressionist Portrait in Charcoal
  5. Doodle a Face
  6. Drawing a Zentangle Face
  7. Mixed Media Portrait
  8. Draw a Distorted Portrait
  9. Draw a Face to Music

You do it any way you want to. You draw them it using any materials that you want to. The beauty of abstract art is that there is no wrong way to do it. If your perspective is off, or the shadows aren’t quite right, it really doesn’t matter with an abstract portrait. The only thing you need to do is come up with a vision, then find the right approach and materials to execute it. The following are 10 different abstract portrait ideas that you should try if you are trying to get your feet wet in the exciting world of abstract art.

1. Continuous Line Drawing Of The Face

What is a continuous line drawing? It’s exactly what the name implies. Instead of lifting up your pen or pencil, you never take it off fo the paper. When you are drawing a portrait in this manner, using a model can help a great deal. What’s nice is that you don’t have to purposely exaggerate any features of your model, the fact that the line is continuous is enough to make the portrait abstract. If you want to add a nice twist to this approach, try not looking at your paper as well as not lifting up your pen or pencil. Just concentrate on your model, and let what happens to happen. When you are drawing a continuous line drawing of a face, a pencil will work, but a simple ballpoint pen will give you a smoother line.

2. Cubist Portrait

Cubism, made famous by Picasso, involves stripping away all of the soft edges and shadows that you would typically focus on when drawing or painting a portrait. With those smooth edges and shadows gone, you instead focus on sharp edges and angles, and colors appropriate to your subject. You don’t try to capture a perfect likeness of the person you a drawing or painting. Instead, you try to capture their essence using color and a characterized, cubist approach to their features.

3. Expressionist Portrait In Oil Pastels

Expressionism is defined by a distortion of the natural appearance of an image to convey a certain mood. This is done by using a color palette that helps to establish the atmosphere of a piece, and also by eliminating details, and in some cases distorting the appearance of your subject. If you want to create an expressionist portrait, then oil pastels are the perfect medium to work in. Oil pastels are pigment suspended in an oil binder. They look like crayons, but they are very different than crayons.

With oil pastels, you can lay down color quickly, and with proper blending, you can achieve a look that is very similar to an oil painting. Oil pastels can also be thinned with turpentine giving you the ability to further blend the line between drawing and painting. If you have always wanted to dabble in oil painting, oil pastels are a great gateway into that medium. If you finish an oil pastel portrait that you would like to keep, keep in mind that oil pastels never fully dry. That means you’ll need to frame it behind glass.

4. Expressionist Portrait In Charcoal

While an expressionist portrait in oil pastels will focus on color, an expressionist portrait in charcoal will be a darker piece due to the fact charcoal is black and not colorful. One of the more exciting ways to use charcoal is with water. Try drawing your image on watercolor paper with charcoal. Then use a wet paintbrush to smear the image, it will give you a look similar to ink and wash. You can also mist your picture with a water bottle to create randomized effects similar to a watercolor painting.

5. Just Doodle A Face

Have you ever tried to just sit down and doodle something? You don’t start with a plan or have some kind of methodical approach. You just grab a pen or pencil and start drawing. Let your imagination go wild, exaggerate features, and just have fun. Just doodling faces is a great way to step out of your comfort zone and get used to create abstract images.

6. Zentangle Face

While many abstract portraits eschew fine details, a Zentangle portrait does the opposite. Zentangle art features intricate repetitive patterns that are used to mesmerize the viewer. They are intricate and time-consuming, but when done correctly, it can be spectacular. One tip for creating Zentangle art is to embrace mistakes. While you may be tempted to try to erase an errant pencil mark, don’t. In fact, try working in ink to prevent yourself from being able to change a stroke once it has put down on paper.

7. Mixed Media Collage And Drawing

Mixed media portraits are a lot of fun to create, and they allow you to take your art into realms that aren’t possible with a single medium. The only real rule with mixed media collage portraits is that you use a heavy paper. You need something that can stand up to the abuse you are about to put it through. Feel free to use pen, pencil, ink, paint, pastel, oil pastel, and of course various items you can glue down to create your artistic masterpiece.

8. Pop Art Portrait

A pop art portrait involves simplifying the shapes and colors of your subject to create an abstract representation of what they look like. Unlike other types of abstract art, you aren’t really trying to distort your subject with a pop art portrait. Instead, you are trying to simplify things. Look at the most prominent features of your subject, and emphasize those. Choose bright colors, and don’t worry about the details.

9. Draw A Photograph And Distort It

Drawing from a photograph and intentionally distorting it is a great way to get into the practice of creating abstract images. Rather than having to feel pressure by drawing or painting with a live model, you can work at your own pace, in private. You can experiment and look at what looks good, and what doesn’t seem to work. Whatever you do, don’t try to copy the photo. Create your art from the photo and make something unique.

10. Draw A Portrait To Music.

Music has an ability to evoke emotions in people, so it stands to reason that listening to music when you are drawing a portrait can help to get the creative juices flowing. When you start to get, your supplies set up, and prepare to begin working. Turn on the music, and before you put pencil to paper close your eyes, and think about what you are feeling. Then, start to create. When working in this manner, it’s best to work quickly. Don’t worry about making mistakes. This is abstract art! There are no mistakes! One great medium for this type of portrait creation is oil pastels. They let you get your thoughts down quickly with bold colors, which really lends itself to this approach.

Experiment And Don’t Be Afraid To Try Things That You Aren’t Comfortable With

Creating abstract art is something that many people struggle with. Which is ironic since creating photorealistic interpretations of a person are so much more challenging. If you aren’t sure if abstract portraits are something you’ll enjoy, take a moment to think about what you want to accomplish as an artist. Do you want to simply copy your model? Do you want to create an interesting, but lifeless portrait of your subject? If so, then why not try photography instead?

With abstract portraits, you can really come into your own as an artist. You can try new things without fear of failing because you can’t do anything wrong. You can work to capture the essence of your subject, instead of merely trying to copy what they look like. In fact, once you really delve into abstract portraits, you may find that your work will give you a better sense of your subject than any of the realistic portraits you have ever done. Feel free to experiment with new approaches, this will allow you to grow as an artist and develop a unique style. Look at the masters for inspiration, but don’t copy them. Be yourself. Find your own approach. Abstract art can be incredibly fulfilling, and it’s something that is different than what you have probably done before. So, embrace it, and experiment, and have fun while you are at it!

Ian

Ian Walsh is the creator and author of improvedrawing.com and an Art teacher based in Merseyside in the United Kingdom. He holds a BA in Fine Art and a PGCE in teaching Art and Design. He has been teaching Art for over 24 Years in different parts of the UK. When not teaching Ian spending his time developing this website and creating content for the improvedrawing channel.

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How To Draw An Abstract Face; 10 Amazing Techniques