Composition in Portraits

This video walks through basic tips on how to compose a portrait, citing strategies for placement of the head, neck and shoulders to create a dynamic composition. Using examples from both contemporary art and art history, concrete, practical tips for how to consider the posture of the neck and shoulders, the mass of the hair, the range of textures and surfaces in portraits, are explored. Other elements, such as the potential for distortion and caricature by exaggerating the proportions and facial features are explained. Learn about the infinite potential for visual expression with a portrait composition. Discussion led by RISD Adjunct Professor Clara Lieu.

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TIME STAMPS
0:00 Opening
2:12 A portrait is not only the face
3:42 Think of compositions
5:48 Barry Moser
7:00 Lighting
9:11 Kara Walker

11:08 Lucian Freud
13:38 Blocking large shapes
16:11 Jan Van Eyck
18:42 Vermeer
20:19 Portrait of a Flavian Woman
21:48 Jenny Saville

23:32 Amedeo Modigliani
26:17 Tamara de Lempicka
27:13 Mixing tone
31:00 Bob Staake
32:11 Palette knife

33:29 Proportions
34:46 Mix more color
36:10 Dana Schutz
36:50 Stylistic choice
38:02 Francis Bacon
39:30 Marc Quinn

41:40 Self-modeling
43:28 Marilyn Minter
47:00 Leon Golub
49:00 Face structure

THUMBNAIL ARTWORK, Kehinde Wiley
https://kehindewiley.com/

ARTISTS MENTIONED IN THE VIDEO
Barry Moser: https://www.moser-pennyroyal.com/
Kara Walker: https://art21.org/artist/kara-walker/
Lucian Freud: https://www.artsy.net/artist/lucian-freud
Jan Van Eyck: https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/eyck/hd_eyck.htm
Johannes Vermeer: https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/verm/hd_verm.htm
Piero della Francesca: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piero_della_Francesca
Tamara de Lempicka: https://mymodernmet.com/tamara-de-lempicka/
Bob Staake: https://www.bobstaake.com/
Dana Schutz, Francis Bacon, Marc Quinn, Marilyn Minter, Leon Golub, Young Flavian Woman, Ancient Rome, Jenny Saville , Amedeo Modigliani

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RELATED PORTRAIT TUTORIALS
Background Ideas & Tips for Portraits: https://youtu.be/Uu0dyTG2TDE
Drawing Male Portraits, Art Professor Draw Along #17: https://youtu.be/pRO5IljdW6A
Drawing Female Portraits, Art Professor Draw Along #18: https://youtu.be/P5_9ez5MLKo
Drawing Male Portraits, Art Professor Draw Along #19: https://youtu.be/eJKwwlCQs5s

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Clara Lieu is an Adjunct Professor at the Rhode Island School of Design. Her artwork has been exhibited at the International Print Center NY, the Currier Museum, Childs Gallery, the Davis Museum, and more. Lieu received an artist fellowship from the MA Cultural Council, has written for the NY Times, and lectured at Brown University, the NAEA conference, and in Vancouver & China. She has been profiled in Artsy, Hyperallergic, KPCC, & WBUR.

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