Google+ House Revivals: How to Draw Faces When You Can't Draw

Thursday, April 26, 2018

How to Draw Faces When You Can't Draw

Most of us are okay with doodling simple flowers and shapes, but the idea of drawing faces can be a little intimidating. It doesn't have to be. With a little practice, you can be doodling faces, realistic or stylized, in no time.

You can draw on anything, from the ubiquitous paper napkin, to computer paper, to sketch pads,  to vintage book pages.  The face above was drawn on an old atlas page.

One of my favorite drawing surfaces is a page from a vintage book.

You can prep your pages with paint or gesso, or draw directly on your raw page.

To draw a face, first draw an oval or egg shape, using pencil, and draw a line down the center line, both vertically and horizontally, as shown. Draw lightly, as you will be erasing these lines later.

Next, make a mark halfway between the middle line and the outside line, to show the center of each eye. Then make a mark halfway between that mark and the center line. Make another mark halfway between between the eye center and the outside of the oval. Next make a mark halfway between the horizontal line and the bottom of the oval. This will be the end of the nose.  About halfway between that mark and the bottom of the oval, make a mark to indicate where the mouth will be.

Lightly erase your guide marks, so that you can still see them. Lightly sketch in the eyes, using the guide marks. Add irises. Notice that the tops of the irises are not visible below the eyelids. Add pupils, but don't fill them in solidly. Instead, draw a "C" shape, to indicate a reflection.


For the nose, you can make three little scallops, as shown above. To draw the mouth, start with a bow shape for the upper lip, then draw a little bowl shape for the bottom lip.  You may want to indicate where one or both ears are located. A good rule of thumb is the top of the ear lines up with the eye line, and the bottom of the ear lines of with the bottom of the nose.  The neck actually begins at the bottom of the ears, but drawing it that way can make your person look like a body builder, so you may want to slim it down a bit.

Now, go back and define the face shape. Add eyebrows. Decide from which side your light source is coming, and shade the nose on the opposite side. The shadow goes all the way from the eyebrow to the bottom of the nose. Indicate some hair, if desired, but don't feel like you need to create a perfect coif. In the atlas picture at the top of this post, I didn't actually draw hair -- just some flowers and color and a continent.

Don't worry about perfection, just enjoy the process. You can develop the face as much as you like, or leave it sketchy. You can trace it in pen, or grab your paints or markers or colored pencils.

If you decide you want your face oriented to be turned slightly away, the process is the same, but draw you guidelines as shown above.

This little mermaid was drawn on a book page, with a sailing ship sketched in the background.

The face was colored, lightly, and in layers, with colored pencils.

It's easy, I promise. The more you practice, the better you will get. You can play with proportions for a more stylized face, or use more realistic proportions. The same goes for shading and other details.

For some more easy art tutorials, click here.

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