Which is better for a portrait? – a pencil drawing v photos
Understanding the merits of a pencil drawing v photos for a portrait requires some explanation.
I draw portraits through a love of art, people, and animals. I’ve developed my style over the last 10 years, and strive to achieve a soulful and characterful resemblance of the original photo.
But why do portrait artists like myself continue to bother using pencils, charcoal and paints to capture a person or animal on paper and canvas?
Drawing v Photos – the easy case for the photograph
Photography doesn’t just create the most accurate reproduction of a subject in the shortest amount of time, it is now available to almost everyone on the planet. Our phones have such great photographic technology, it is easy to capture a moment in time, or a piece of portraiture history, with a tap of a finger.
Drawing is an expression of humanity
So why am I in the business of pencil portraits of pets and people, when everyone could just take a photo and be happy? The reason is because a drawing is more than a photo, and it means more than a photo. Drawing in itself is an expression of our humanity, and there is always something of the artist in a drawing as well as the subject.
Photography also doesn’t lie, it tells us the truth. Every defect or distraction is completely replicated. With a drawing, defects which are part of a person or animal’s being and character will get reproduced in the medium. But distractions or defects with don’t need to be drawn can be redrawn in a different way. For example the character within certain breeds of dog is enhanced when their ears are pricked. Drawing from a photo allows me to reproduce this alertness in the dog by making the adjustment to the ears.
Drawing is also more than a photo because of how it makes us feel and how we react. We are not awe inspired by photography in the same way we are by the Mona Lisa or the Sistine Chapel*. A pencil portrait of a person or animal is the perfect reproduction and likeness of the subject, and if nothing else, it’s created with a passion for art, and a love for the human and animal form.
* Source: Debatewise.org Painting represents mankind better than photography