This week, we are kicking off a month of drawing tutorials by going back to the basics of drawing a well-proportioned face. When you draw a face, it is loads of fun to break “the rules” by making a gal with big old eyes or a guy with a honker of a nose, but in order to break the rules and still look like you know what you are doing, you have to internalize a certain structure. This tutorial will give you the tools to draw a face either straight up or on the rocks. All you need is paper and a drawing pencil so you can follow along.
Let’s start with this photo of two women’s faces. Pretty!!! You can see that I drew some lines on their faces, which can serve as a reference for when you are drawing almost any adult face. You can print the unmarked one and draw those guidelines yourself for practice if you like.
Now get a piece of paper and a drawing pencil, which has a hard lead. If you do not have a drawing pencil, you can use a mechanical pencil or even a Number 2 pencil provided that you use VERY light pressure (otherwise, you won’t be able to easily erase the guides you’ll be drawing on the face). For my examples, I used a dark line for the sake of the scanner; when you are actually drawing your own faces, use the lightest line you can. This is more readily achieved when you have a hard lead.
For future reference:
Hard pencils are defined by the letter H continued by a number (when higher, harder): 2H, 3H, 4H, 5H…
Soft pencils are defined by the letter B continued by a number (when higher, softer):2B, 3B, 4B, 5B…
Begin the face by drawing an oval . Draw a vertical line down the center of the face. Add another faint line across the center, horizontally. Divide the bottom half in two , this will be the guideline for the bottom of the nose
Draw two almond or oval shapes for the eyes. Position them evenly on the horizontal guideline, with one eye’s width space between them. This will look weird. You do not have to draw the “third eye” if you would rather just eyeball *ha-ha* the distance. I know it looks a little serial killer mask right now, but it will turn in to a face, for real. Unless you are like some of us around here and kinda dig that look .
See? Creepy, but effective, like that weird Bio teacher you had in seventh grade.
Now draw a circle in each of the two almond shapes that will become the eyes. This is the iris. Add an overlapping line for the eyelid, then draw in a circle for the pupil and shade it in black. You can leave a little white spot in the pupil for a highlight. This helps create the illusion of depth.
Draw the lashes and eyebrows. Make sure your pencil lines follow the directions the hairs grow. Do not try to draw every single eyelash , unless you are drawing Liza. Or Oprah. Or your personal favorite false eyelash aficionado. I like to draw the eyelashes mainly towards the corner of the eyes and leave space between groups of them. The line direction and keeping the length shorter make the biggest difference, though.
Now, onto noses. Noses are tricky. The trickiest, in fact. The nose should be drawn on the vertical guideline with the bottom of the nose on the horizontal line. One rule to remember is that the outside edges of the nose line up with the inside of each eye. For real, try using your “imaginary pencil” (AKA: your finger) and drawing a line straight down from the inner edge of each eye. Cool, right? The top of the nose starts between your eyes, so lightly draw a triangle that touches those three points, then add three overlapping circles to form the base of the nose.
Draw the bottom lip halfway between the bottom of the nose and the chin. The outside corners of the lips should match up with the line running up to the middle of the eye. If you do not believe me, check on your very own face with those “magic pencils ” again.
Use a slightly flattened out “m” shape to make a top lip and another, flatter, “m” shaped line to mark the division between top and bottom lip. The space between the top lip and the nose should be small or your face takes on a simian appearance.
Draw the ears, making them level with the eyebrow at the top and the nose at the bottom. You can draw a curved shape inside them.
Draw in the hairline a little bit above the eyebrows . Then, draw the rest of the hair, making sure your lines follow the way the hair falls. As when we drew the eyelashes, do not try to draw every hair with an individual line .
Finally, draw in the neck and shoulders. Remember the neck needs to be thick enough to hold up that head full of brains, so don’t draw a little lollipop stick neck!
Use an eraser and remove those guidelines you drew in, then sit back and admire how gorgeous that face is! And once you finish, practice again! And again! Times a billion!
We all know rule bending is way more fun than rule following…and far less fraught with peril than rule breaking. Great news! When you are drawing a face that is a little “off,” you can still use those same proportional guidelines and have a unique face in your own style. This face was drawn with the same exact “rules” we covered earlier. If you are admiring the super cool cross hatching in the finished drawing then check us out in a couple of weeks when Ann shows you how to do some of your own.
So there you go. You are all set to draw all sorts of faces. Come back next week when we get to draw BODIES!
The best thing about all the practicing you are going to be doing this month is that you can submit any drawing you make using this tutorial to our monthly contest. You can check out the contest rules HERE .
You may be wondering “What is a contest without a prize?” “A SURPRISE!” I would answer. *confetti * You can check this space later next week for a peek at the monthly prize. You have until March 31 at 11:59 PM to post your entries in to our FLICKR group so get your pencils sharpened and be ready to draw ‘strange style all month!
HEY!!! Here’s the prize! You can win this 5.5 1 11 inch mixed media piece done on a wood panel! But you gotta play to win!