How Do You Draw a Face? – A Step-by-Step Guide

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If you want to enhance your artistic abilities, then you must challenge your drawing skills. One way to do this is by drawing a human face. But how do you draw a face?

Fortunately, drawing a face isn’t really as complicated as it may look. But just like any other type of art, it requires more than just experience. You must have excellent observation skills if you want to come up with a perfect drawing. Your drawing location and peace of mind also matter a lot. So make sure you identify a good location and have a clear mind before getting to your artistic site.

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Furthermore, you need the right artistic tools to make sure that your masterpiece appears as professional as possible. You must have quality pencils, erasers, sketchbooks, sharpeners, and much more. If you already have these, then you are good to go.

How Do You Draw a Face? – Steps to Follow

Here is a step by step guideline on how to draw a perfect face.

Step 1 – Outline the face

Usually, heads are oval-shaped. Sketch an oval outline, like an egg, with the tapered end at the bottom. This can vary depending on the face of the person that you are drawing as well as the angle you are looking from. Draw two intersecting lines in the center of the head. These lines will help us to locate and place the facing features.

Step 2 – Draw the proportions of the face

Now divide the face into four sections using straight horizontal lines from the top towards the chin. Make sure to leave the hairline area. You should start your lines slightly below the top of the face. The lines should be evenly spaced.

Step 3 – Place the eyebrows

Count two lines from the top of the head and sketch the eyebrows below the 2nd line. For a female face, the eyebrows should be thin as compared to a male face.

Step 4 – Locate the eyes

With the eyebrows in place, the next step is to locate the eyes. Generally, the eyes are located in the centerline of the head.

Step 5 – Draw the eyes

Eyes are critical facial features and need more attention. The eyes can be used to define the mood of the face that you are drawing.

Now that you have the location of the eyes, go ahead and draw the shape of the eyes. It’s also vital to mind the width of the eyes. The length from the right eye to the left ear should measure the same as those of the left side. Also, for more accuracy, the distance between both eyes should be wide enough to fit another eye between them.

When drawing the pupil, draw it smoothly and shade it as dark as possible. The pupil should be centered within the iris perfectly. Remember to leave a good area for the catch light. It should be half in the iris and half in the pupil.

Draw the lower lids of eyes. They should be thick, so remember to shade them well. The whites or sclera should be blended to form a spherical shape. The eyelashes on the upper lid should be placed near each other to create a dark edge, known as the lash line.

Step 6 – Draw the eyelashes

Draw the hairs of the eyelashes closely together. The hairs should also be fairly distributed for uniformity. Also, draw the hairs towards the outer half of the eyes. They should be slightly curved and point at the viewer.

Now shade the underneath of the eyes and the corners of the eyes where they meet the nose. For a bright look, you should add as little shading as possible. However, a tired look should have slightly more shading with swooped lines to the bottom eyelid.

Step 7 – Place and draw the nose

Same as the eyes, the shape of the nose will differ from one person to another. For our sketch, the bottom of the nose is found below the 3rd line that we drew in step two. To maintain an accurate width of the nose, you can draw two light lines from the corners of the eyes downwards.

Sketch the nose closely near the inner tips of the eyebrows. The nose should narrow down towards the bridge and slowly widen towards the bottom of the face.

Step 8 – Locate and draw the mouth

We will use the eyes to determine the width and location of the mouth. Usually, the inside edges of the pupils tend to align with the corners of the mouth. For accuracy, draw light horizontal lines directly from the center of the eyes to the mouth line.

You can also draw a horizontal line from the bottom of the nose towards the bottom of the chin to position the bottom lip. Draw the upper lip. It should be slightly smaller and thinner than the bottom lip. Also, the shape and size of the lips may vary from person to person.

Step 9 – Draw the ears

To draw the ears, first outline the ears. They should be located inside the middle portion of the three divisions and touching the 2nd and 3rd line from the top. We can also use other facial features to locate the ears.

The top of the eye tends to align with the eyebrow line. Also, the nose line should align with the bottom of the ears. The ears should also go slightly out of the head and move slightly upwards. Smoothly sketch the ear ripples and folds perfectly.

You can simplify the ears’ tone structure by shading. Here, leave the light areas of the ear unshaded, for the areas that are usually a little bit dark, you should use a mid-tone to shade. As for the dark areas, use a dark tone to shade.

Step 10 – Draw the hairline and the hair

Hairlines will vary for one person to the other. For instance, hairlines are not visible for people with very long hair that tends to overlap the forehead. Generally, the hairline is located on the top edge of the upper square that we drew in step two.

Now that the hairline is in place, go ahead and draw the hair. How you draw the hair will depend on the type of hairstyle that you want to draw. For long hair, it should extend a bit off the top of the head while for short hair, it should extend slightly off. You should not draw the hair directly on the head.

Step 11 – Draw the neck

Now that the facial features are all drawn, let’s add the neck. The neck should extend down from the bottom part of the ears. Draw slender necks for females and broader necks for males.

Now that you have fully drawn all the facial features, you can add details such as shading for a clear and detailed image. Just keep in mind that the more prominent your image is, the older the face will look. So, if you are drawing a young face, add as little shading as possible.

Here is a guideline for shading the facial features:

  • To accentuate the face, you should shade the area on the neck as well as the jawline.
  • Lightly shade the hairline.
  • You can add a light shade to the sides of the jaws if you want the cheekbones to pop out clearly
  • Add a little shading underneath each eye. Also, slightly shade the area between the eyes and the eyebrows.
  • Shade the upper lip and the area under the nose.
  • Add extra shading to any other features that you feel will make your drawing more appealing.

You should also note that these features may differ slightly due to the fact that faces vary in size and shape. So that you don’t miss any step, you can use these steps to review your drawings. See if all the facial features are located in the right place. Check your facial features with the following list to find out if your proportions are correct.

  • The eyes should be located precisely in the center part of the face.
  • The inside corners of the eyes should align with the edges of the nose.
  • The iris of the eyes should align with the corners of the mouth.
  • The mouth line should be ⅓ below the bottom of the chin and the nose line.
  • The ears should be located in between the nose line and eye line. They should also extend slightly from the head.

While these standards may not apply to all the faces, the end result of the face should only differ slightly.

Tips on how to draw a perfect face

Here are a few recommendations that you can use to enhance your drawing skills.

  • Have the desire and be committed

It’s highly unlikely that you will draw a perfect face if you really don’t want to or don’t believe that you can. Your success at drawing to perfection will hugely depend on your personal desires, beliefs, and commitment. You should also come up with a drawing schedule for your artwork.

  • Practice drawing

If you want to improve your art skills, then you need to practice regularly. You can’t get better if you are not working to be better. Get a few face images and practice them on your sketchbook. You can also use other types of drawings to practice. The more you draw, the more confident and the better you’ll be able to draw. Also, it’s much easier to draw a face if you first learn how to draw facial features. Start with the eyes, nose, ears, chin, neck, mouth, and all the right details.

  • Be patient and don’t give up

Perfect drawing won’t happen overnight, especially if you are just a beginner. Also, the first attempt might not be as good as you may have imagined. You should know that it will take a while to get your skills right. Also, if you fail, don’t give up. Even the most successful artists learn from their mistakes.

If you find yourself struggling, you can get help from an expert or hire a private instructor to help you out. This way, you will significantly improve your skills quickly. Just stay motivated, and you will get better with time.

  • Draw with photographs

It’s much easier to draw from an image rather than reproducing an idea or an actual person or object. Do not trace the images; draw them. Also, start with less complicated drawings. Pick simple objects such as furniture, pets, or a coffee cup.

  • Take a drawing class

You will learn how to draw faster if you enroll in a drawing class. Besides keeping you accountable, you will have someone to guide you through and correct any weaknesses.

  • Keep a sketchbook

For proper motivation, you should keep with you your sketchbook. It can serve as a reminder for your art projects. It’s also a good way of evaluating your progress as far as your drawings are concerned. You can also use your sketchbook to put down your art ideas and inspirations. Keep your sketchbook away from watery surfaces and high temperatures.

  • Only use quality drawing tools

Your pencils should be high-quality and have a wide range of hardness degrees to give you a variety of blending or shading pigments. If possible, the erasers should be residue-free so that they don’t ruin or smudge your drawing.

Final Verdict

Now that you know how to draw a face, go ahead and try it. The best way to start drawing a face is actually drawing a real person’s face, maybe your face or your friend’s face. You can as well get a professional artist to evaluate your drawing capabilities and give you the right motivation.

Furthermore, it’s a good idea to sign up for art magazines, newsletters, online forums, and blogs so that you can get more insight on how to enhance your drawing skills. Also, keep the tips provided above in mind if you want to create masterpieces.

Remember, with the right tools, patience, practice, and motivation, you will crush it. Good luck!

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