How to draw faces is a challenge, but it’s a challenge well worth taking on! From facial expressions and lighting to the unique characteristics that make us who we are, there are countless elements that make faces so exciting to draw. And with the billions of individuals in the world, you’ll never run out of subject matter! But before you get started, you’ll want to learn the simple techniques that can be employed to create realistic, beau- tiful portraits in pencil.
In this post, you’ll find not only lots of helpful tips on tools and materials, shading, and other basic drawing techniques, but also information you’ll need to recreate a range of faces – from different ethnic features to different ages and hairstyles. With a little practice, you’ll be drawing all the different, unique people you like in no time! And eventually you’ll learn how to draw face.
How to draw face: Understanding Anatomy
When drawing faces, it is important to know the underlying structures of the head. Although the bones and muscles are not visible in a final portrait, they frame the drawing, define the shape of the head, and guide the placement of features. An understanding of the basic anatomy of the head will add realism and believability to your drawings and you will understand how to draw face.
How to draw face: Learning the Planes of the Face
To know how to draw face, you need to understand the basic structure of the head in order to simplify the complex shapes of the skull into geometric planes. These planes form the basis for shading, as they serve as a guide for the correct placement of highlights and shadows.
How to draw face: Studying Adult Proportions
To understand how to draw face, it’s essential to understand the basic rules of human proportions (i.e., the comparable sizes and placement of parts in relation to each other). Once you know the proper proportions, you can determine the correct size and placement of each facial feature and adjust them to fit the individual characteristics of your subject. Only when you understand these basics can you draw face.
ESTABLISHING GUIDELINES Imagine the head as a ball flattened on the sides. The ball is divided in half horizontally and vertically, and the face is divided horizontally into three equal parts: the hairline, the browline and the line for the nose. Use these guidelines to determine the correct placement and spacing of adult facial features. After that, you will know how to draw face.
PLACING THE FEATURES The vestibules are located between the horizontal midline and the browline. The base of the nose is halfway between the brow line and the base of the chin. The lower lip is halfway between the base of the nose and the base of the chin, and the ears extend from the brow line to the base of the nose.
LOOKING UP When the bead is tilted back, the horizontal gradient lines curve with the shape of the face. Notice how the features change as the head tilts back: The ears appear slightly lower on the bead, and more white of the eyes is visible. Without these basics, you can’t answer the question of how to draw face.
LOOKING DOWN When the head is tilted forward, the eyes appear closed and much more of the top of the bead is visible. The ears appear higher, almost calculating with the hairline and following the curve of the horizontal guideline.
How to draw face: Exploring Other Views
Beginners who often wonder how to draw face often study profile views first because this angle simplifies the drawing process. In a profile view, for example, you don’t have to worry about aligning symmetrical features. However, when drawing profile views, the rules of proportion still apply, as well as the more complex three-quarter views.
SIMPLIFYING THE PROFILE To draw an adult pearl in profile, first block the skull mass with a large circle. Add two curved lines that meet at a point to define the face and chin. Place the ear just behind the vertical center line.
PLACING THE FEATURES Use the large skull circle as a guide for feature placement. The nose, lips and chin fall outside the circle, while the eyes and ear remain inside. The slanted broken lines indicate the parallel slope of the nose and ear.
DRAWING A THREE-QUARTER VIEW In a three-quarter view, the vertical center line shifts for viewing. More of the left side of the subject’s bead is visible, but you still see only the left ear. As the bead rotates, the guidelines also curve to match the shape of the head.
DISTORTING THE FEATURES As the bead rotates, the eye closest to the viewer (in this case, the left eye) appears larger than the other eye. This is a technique called foreshortening, in which elements of a drawing are distorted to create the illusion of three-dimensional space. Objects closer to the viewer appear larger than objects farther away.
How to draw face: Depicting Adult Features
If you’re a beginner and don’t know how to draw face, it’s a good idea to practice drawing all the facial features separately and problem solve before creating a full portrait. Facial features work together to convey everything from mood and emotion to age. Also pay attention to the areas around the features; wrinkles, moles, and other similar features will make your subject stand out.
To understand how to draw face it is necessary to study the elements of the face. Next we will look at how to draw the nose, lips, ears, and eyes.
How to draw face: eyes
STEP 1 Make a circle for the iris; then draw the eyelid detect. That is, part of the iris is always heard from the eyelid.
STEP 2 Start by shading the iris and draw lines starting from the pupil. Then add the lashes and the shadow cast by the upper lid and lashes on the eyeball, working around the highlight on the iris.
STEP 3 Continue shading the ins and sweep outward from the pupil. Then shade the eyelid and the white of the eye to add a three-dimensional shape.
STEP 1 First draw through a circle for the eye; Then draw the eyelid around it as shown. In a profile view, the iris and pupil are ellipses; The top and bottom of the iris are covered by the upper and lower eyelids.
STEP 2 To draw eyelashes in profile, start at the outer corner of the eye and draw quick, curved lines that always sweep in the direction of growth. The longest lashes are in the center of the eye.
STEP 3 When shading the eyelid, make light lines that follow the curvature of the eyelid. As with the frontal view, the shading in the iris radiates from the pupil.
RENDERING A PAIR OF EYES After you have become familiar with drawing the eye itself, start developing the features around the eye, including the eyebrows and nose. Make sure that adult eyes are about one eye width apart. And remember that the eyes are always shiny. The highlights indicate this. It’s best to shade the highlights. However, if you accidentally shade over the area, you can pull out the highlight with a kneaded eraser.
How to draw face: noses
To draw a nose, I first block the four layers – two for the bridge and two for the sides (see “Combining features” below). Then I examine the way each layer is lit before adding the dark and light values. The nostrils should be slightly shadowed; if they’re too dark, they’ll draw attention away from the rest of the face. In general, men’s nostrils are more angular, while women’s are more gently curved.
How to draw face: ears
DIVIDING THE EAR The ear has the shape of a disc divided into three parts: the rim, the shell and the lobe.
SIZING THE EAR The ear is usually connected to the head at a slight angle. The width is usually about half the length.
DEVELOPING THE EAR IN PROFILE I first block in the general shape and visually divide it into three parts. Next | Shade the darkest areas and define the ridges and folds. Then | Shade the entire ear, leaving highlights in key areas to create the illusion of shape.
How to draw face: lips
STEP 1 When draining the lips, I first sketch the ground plan. The upper lip protrudes slightly above the lower lip; The lower lip is also usually fuller than the upper lip.
STEP 2 Next, I start shading in the direction of the planes of the lips. The shading on the upper lip curves upwards and the shading on the lower lip curves downwards.
STEP 3 I continue shading and make the darkest value at the line where the lips meet. Then I pull out some highlights to add shine and shape to the lips. Highlights also enhance the fullness of the lips. Therefore, it is often best to use larger highlights on the fuller lower lip.
DETAILING THE LIPS Determine how much detail you want to add to your lip renders. You can add smile lines and dimples (A, B, and D), draw clearly defined teeth (A) or parts of teeth (E and F), or draw closed lips (B, C, and D).
Now you know how to draw face. But these are just the basics. You can create a real masterpiece only if you practice. You’re sure to succeed!