Realistic Portrait Drawings and Sketches

These realistic portrait drawings and sketches are a collection of art pieces from super talented artists. If you’re looking for portrait references or inspiration, you’ll definitely find that below.

Along with sharing these portraits, I’ll also be including some of my best tips for drawing realistic portraits.

As always, I’ll be including a link to the artist’s social media account or website. If you enjoy their work, please make sure you support the artist by liking their work on social media, and buying their art.

girl with medium hair
Artist Credit: crystal_arts_
black girl portrait
Artist Credit: crystal_arts_

Try Using Colored Pencils or Pastels

Colored pencils and pastels are great tools to use when adding color to a portrait.

Pastels can be used to blend and shade artwork. They also deliver rich pigment to your art. Colored pencils can help you enhance your drawing and make cleaner lines.

When using pastels, it’s important to use a fixative to keep the color from smudging. I recommend using a workable fixative, so you can still make changes to your portrait if needed.

If you’re new to using pastels or colored pencils, remember to start with lighter colors and add darker colors as you go.

emo girl portrait
Artist Credit: fox.on.fire
realistic girl drawing
Artist Credit: fox.on.fire
the boyz drawing
Artist Credit: lunh_illust

Practice Drawing Different Parts of The Face

Before you start working on your portrait, I recommend that you practice drawing different parts of the face first.

That means take some time out to draw a realistic nose, eyes, mouth, ears, etc. I have some great references that you can check out below:

Additionally, below you can see a simple lip study that visually shows you how to draw realistic lips.

For more references like this, I highly recommend checking out the artist’s Instagram account. You can find the link in the image credit below the photo.

simple girl drawing
Artist Credit: lyenaart
how to draw lips
Artist Credit: crystal_arts_
girl portrait sketch
Artist Credit: melmadedooks

Don’t Be Afraid to Add Color

Depending on the portrait, adding color can really help your art piece stand out. Check out this colorful Taylor Swift portrait for example.

I just love what the artist did with this drawing. If you’d like to see more colorful celebrity portraits like this one, you can find the artist, Jeraj Jain on Instagram.

black girl with afro
Artist Credit: melmadedooks
taylor swift portrait
Artist Credit: jerajrockzzz
chris hemsworth portrait
Artist Credit: mr.brokenbrush

Practice Drawing Portraits

If you want to improve your portrait drawings, the best thing you can do is practice. Practice won’t make you perfect because there’s no such thing as perfect, but it can make you great at what you do.

For the best results, I recommend sketching for 30 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week.

If you can sketch daily, that’s even better. And don’t worry about if you can’t sketch for 30 minutes. If all you can spare is 10-15 minutes, that’s better than nothing.

Set aside some time daily for your art, and you will reap the benefits of your hard work.

profile portrait
Artist Credit: stephenbaumanartwork
eva mendez portrait
Artist Credit: passion_draw_1981
contemporary portrait
Artist Credit: stephenbaumanartwork

Experiment with Different Pencils

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of pencils. There are so many different types of colored pencils out there, and each one will give you a different result.

So, try out different brands and see which ones you like best. Also, experiment with different techniques to see what works best for you.

amy winehouse portrait
Artist Credit: passion_draw_1981
girl with long hair
Artist Credit: straightlinesroundshapes
girl with ponytail
Artist Credit: straightlinesroundshapes

Use Real Photos for Reference

A great way to get good at drawing realistic portraits is to use photos of real people for reference. If you don’t have any photos of your own, you can find a ton of reference photos online.

Just make sure that the photo you’re using is high quality, so you can see all the details you need to recreate the portrait.

And when you’re looking at the reference photo, really study it. Look at the shapes of the eyes, nose, and mouth. Notice how the light hits the person’s face. And pay attention to the small details, like eyelashes and eyebrows.

All of these details will come together to help you create a realistic portrait. So take your time, be patient, and keep practicing.

digital sketch portrait
Artist Credit: melmadedooks
girl with hand on face
Artist Credit: crystal_arts_
girl with red cheeks
Artist Credit: crystal_arts_

Whether you’re an artist in search of references or just appreciate beautiful artwork, these realistic portrait drawings and sketches are definitely worth a look.

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Hello! I'm Tiffany, a crochet pattern designer and creator of the Crochet Project Planner. Crafting has always been an integral part of who I am. It’s how I express myself and make something beautiful out of seemingly ordinary materials.