How To Draw Maya Angelou

How To Draw Maya Angelou

Drawing the great Maya Angelou is a challenging yet rewarding experience. Angelou was a towering figure whose works of inspiring and thought-provoking poetry continue to touch the depths of our humanity. Capturing Lady Angelou’s spirit through your pencil strokes is no easy feat, but rest assured, the end result will be an exquisite work to be proud of and admired by your peers.
To begin your journey of bringing Maya Angelou to life on paper, gather your materials together. A sketchbook or pad of art paper, an assortment of graphite pencils ranging from 6H to 6B and a kneaded eraser are all you need. Make sure the paper is primed and ready to accept your graphite artwork.
Now block in the basic shape of Lady Angelou’s face with light, sketchy lines. Look to reference photos available online for guidance, but try to keep your resemblance to Maya at around 70%. This is to give yourself room for originality and also to express what’s inside you. To maintain accuracy, lightly trace over your preliminary drawing with a 4H pencil to give yourself a good foundation from which to build a likeness.
If you’re a fan of sharp lines and chiseled features, the stunning curves of Maya Angelou’s face can present a new challenge. There are no hard lines or defined angles making up the contours of her face, so pay close attention to the subtle transitions between her cheekbones and jaw. Interior details, such as the fold near the nose, can provide a strong level of detail that really bring the portrait alive.
When complete, begin to add definition to Angelou’s cheeks, forehead and chin with the 6B pencil to create a pronounced contrast between the mid-tone sketch and the darks of the facial features. Work methodically, taking your time to achieve a facial contour that you can be proud of.
Once you’re figurative drawing is complete, you can now move onto the clothing. Use both 4B and 6B pencils to form the clothing. Apply even pressure throughout and don’t forget to add the folds and other textural details.

Creating the Hair

When it comes to generating Maya’s hair, there are a few tips and tricks you can use to get the perfect result. The key is to use a 6B pencil to carve out the distinct curls, kinking each one in different directions to ensure realism and life. Pay attention to the shine of the hair and incorporate light and dark tones induced by the highlights and the shadow alike.

Making the Eyes

Painstakingly capturing Lady Angelou’s signature gaze is no small task indeed. Focus on the shape of the eyes and make sure you add the small details like the separate muscles and overlapping eyelashes. Work with a 4H pencil and subtly apply shading to create the perfect eye expressions.

Adding Depth and Dimension

Put the finishing touches on your portrait with a number of techniques that add depth, character and uniqueness to the drawing. Shading, highlighting, and the use of erasers are all tools you can use to flaunt your expertise. If a face is too dark, use a blending stump to blend the tone and achieve your desired look.
With the flurry of lines and pencil strokes that give life to the portrait of Maya Angelou, you never risk a dull moment. The shape and size of her head, the style of her hair, the details of her clothing, her eyes that seem to stare into your very soul—all are revealed if one can draw her. With patience, dedication and a bundle of determination, you too can retrace the path of the great Maya Angelou.

Robert Ortiz is an artist who has been writing about art and design for over ten years. His writing focuses on the creative process of art, from the conceptual to the material, and highlights its importance in our daily lives. He has a degree in Fine Arts from the University of Texas at San Antonio and has also attended other prestigious art schools like Savannah College of Art and Design. He has a passion for exploring the boundaries between fine art, design, commercial work, and technology. His work extends to social media campaigns, website development, magazine articles, video tutorials and more.

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