I call this elegantly simple start Striking the Arabesque. This is where the magic of drawing and painting begins.
It is, however, ill-advised for a beginner to begin with the portrait. The reason for this is that we are deeply inculcated with symbolic preconceptions of what we think a face looks like. Consider the universality of childrens' drawings of people. They are all quite similar. The same is true for the drawings of beginners.
Instead, a beginner should start with acquiring the skill of accurately drawing simple shapes. For example, consider a box. Perhaps a shoe box. Your first decision is how big to draw that box within your canvas. And then its' height/width proportion must be established. Of course, to realize a sense of space you then need to accurately gauge the angles which fix the perspective. And this now entails determining the horizon line and perspectal vanishing points. Drawing that simple box has now assumed a complex agenda.
A classically well-trained artist can accurately strike the arabesque of that shoe box in less than a minute. And that includes getting the perspective right. This is a skill that anyone can learn. And this is the first of many lessons that I teach in my Beginning to Draw Workshop.
Acquiring this one skill will save you years, yes, years, of struggling with drawings and paintings that are not working the way you want them to work. We artists have a saying: 'Painting problems are drawing problems'. And drawing problems are always found in poorly rendered shape.
Let's apply this concept of beginning a drawing with the overall shape. Following is a lesson on drawing an old shoe.
Drawing an Old Shoe for Beginners
This lesson, abridged from my Beginning to Draw Workshop, encompasses three important elements in drawing: foreshortening, line quality and composition. Drawing an old shoe is a time-honored training exercise.