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How To Create A Traced Portrait

How To Create A Traced Portrait

I’ve got a fun sketching technique to share with y’all today! I love to sketch portraits freehand (drawing nerd!), however sometimes I want to do things the easy way- tracing! So today that is what I’m going to show you.

For this project I am creating a portrait of one of my favorite artists- Frida Kahlo, but this will work on just about any photo, I think. 🙂


I recently received Cricut’s new Bright Pad (Thank you Cricut!) and I am using it in this project. The Bright Pad is a low profile light box, and it’s extremely handy for tracing. I’m also using some of my most favorite Tombow (affiliate link) products to create this portrait.



  1. Light Box

  2. Mixed Media Paper

  3. 2b MONO Drawing Pencil

  4. Light Eraser

  5. 05 MONO Drawing Pen

  6. Dual Brush Pens

  7. Blending Palette and Pen

(You can purchase Tombow supplies through my affiliate link here, I may get a commission at no additional cost to you. This helps me to continue creating art and tutorials for you!)

1. Place your photo onto the lightbox and turn it on. Place the piece of paper that you’ll be sketching on over top of the photo. I’m using a piece of 90 lb Mixed Media Paper by Strathmore.


2. Trace the photo using a pencil. I like the soft bold lines of a 2b pencil for tracing.

I recommend keeping your sketch fairly simple- trace the main facial features (eyes, nose, mouth, etc) bu don’t worry about getting too detailed and placing lines for every little shadow.


3. Go over your pencil sketch with a black drawing pen. I used a bold 05 MONO Drawing Pen for thicker lines, and erase the pencil.


4. Time to color! You can use a number of mediums to color in your portrait drawing, however I am using Tombow Dual Brush Pens!

To achieve a soft look with the markers, color your ink onto the blending palette, and pick it up with the blending marker, and color with that.


Here is my finished Frida next to the photograph!


I think this is an easy technique for anyone to do, even if you think you can’t “draw”. You can! Use you portraits to create customized cards, or even add them into your art journal!

Who would you create a portrait of? I think I need a Bob Ross to go along with my Frida.

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