Portrait – Thomas


Hi Matt,

to answer your question from last week: Yes, all my reference photos are from Pinterest.

This week I’m really happy with my drawing.

As always thank you for your time and effort.

Thomas Tarkotta


Posted on

January 24, 2021


  1. Frances Harding

    Thomas — This is beautiful work! May I ask you what size the drawing is? I am curious to know if you work smaller than the reference photo or larger.

    — Frances

  2. Thomas Tarkotta

    Hi Frances,

    thank you very much! I’m drew this portrait on DIN A4 (8.3 x 11.7 Inches).

    Also, i use my iPad for the reference photo. So i can zoom out and zoom in. For the likeness, i’m looking for a reference dimension in the photo (as example eye to eye) and put it in relation to my dimension i want to know. Finally i repeat it on my drawing.

    I hope i could help you,

  3. Frances Harding

    Thank you! That is very helpful. I have been printing my reference photos on laser printer and so I am not getting high resolution images.

    Do you import the reference photo into some kind of image software program that makes it easy to zoom in and do measurement calculations? If so, what is the name of the program.

    Another question…. you must be using very sharp pencils to get the fine details in your textures. Yes?

    Do you use Col-Erase pencils, and do you usually use the white charcoal pencils to make highlights? Also, do you blend with a brush?

    — Frances

  4. Thomas Tarkotta

    I import my reference photos to the iCloud on my PC and I use the Gallery from the iPad. There you can zoom in and out without any problems.

    To measure the distance, I use mostly my drawing pencil and my thumb. It’s kind of old school but I think it will train you as an artist more than using a ruler. Sometimes, when I feel some weirdness in my drawing, I use the ruler to check exactly my dimensions.

    Yes, I’m using a very sharp pencil. Jan Geddes, from the community, recommend me a very nice sharpener. Look in the Discussion.
    In the past, I dew with a very soft pencil (6B) but I didn’t like the reflection on the paper. Since I find Matthew’s Drawing Tutorial Online on YouTube, I use the Farber-Castell Polychromos Black *199 and with them, my drawings look so much greater.

    Brushes to blend are really great but use them careful. I only blend the hairs and the background. When I start to render the skin, I create a thin layer with my pencil and blend them as a kind of base coat.

    The highlights in the drawing are only the pure paper. In the past I used a white pencil but I didn’t like the color temperature.

    The most important thing for me: when I see any mistakes, I erase sometimes very often to get the right shape or line and I try to understand the form. Ask yourself where I could improve. You must be your biggest critic!

    You need a lot of time. I drew this portrait about 20 hours. I also be very careful with my drawings. Don’t press to hard with the pencil. A soft light touch and layer your colors to darken the value.
    Last but not least: good things take time!


  5. Frances Harding

    Thank you Thomas — Good advice!

    — Frances

  6. Thomas Tarkotta

    You are welcome, Frances!

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