FAQ: How To Draw A Realistic Face Shape?

A Beginner’s Guide to Drawing Facial Features

Lee Hammond shares tips and techniques for drawing realistic faces with graphite pencil in this step-by-step tutorial, which is an excerpt from her book, Lee Hammond’s All New Big Book of Drawing.

Learning to Draw Facial Features

Take a look at the anatomy of the human face now, and master this art form one feature at a time.

Drawing Noses Two Ways

The nose is the simplest feature of the human face and the one that most closely resembles the sphere. It’s important to learn to draw facial features in various poses, and these straight-on and profile views of the nose will provide plenty of practice.

1. Create a Line Drawing

How do you make a line drawing of a nose in a straight-on view using the grid method and a mechanical pencil?

2. Develop the Lights and Darks

Create light and dark patterns with a pencil first, then add reflected light along the edges of the nose and the rim of the nostril, as well as a shadow edge under the tip to make it look rounded.

3. Blend

Only the highlights should be as white as the paper, and blend out from the dark areas into the lighter face area, just like in the sphere exercise.

1. Create a Line Drawing

Create a line drawing of a nose from a side view using the grid method and a mechanical pencil. When you’re satisfied with your accuracy, carefully remove the grid lines with a kneaded eraser. Develop the light and dark patterns with a pencil, making sure to refer to the sphere.

How do you blend the animal’s tones while making the edges stand out?

Drawing Male and Female Mouths / Lips

The edges of male lips are more subtle and are described by the shadows around them. Drawing a mouth can be difficult, but it can be broken down into simple steps. There are differences between male and female lips. Female mouths are much more defined and appear fuller and shinier.

2. Apply the Dark Patterns

Make the upper lip darker than the lower, so that the top lip angles in and the bottom lip angles out. Use a pencil or eraser to evenly space the dark patterns on the lips, then apply them again with a different color.

2. Add Dark Tones

With a pencil, add the darkest tones first, then carefully line up the lines with an eraser; once you’re satisfied with the accuracy, carefully remove the grid lines with a kneaded eraser to ensure they’re in the right place on the canvas for poster-making.

3. Blend and Lift

To remove the white of the paper, blend the drawing with a stump or tortillion.

Drawing Smiles

When teeth are visible, mouths become more difficult to draw because teeth are dimensional, and leaving them white would make them appear flat. As the teeth recede into the mouth, the shadows become darker, and the bottom teeth are always a little darker because they do not protrude as much.

1. Create a Line Drawing

To create a good likeness, use the grid method and a mechanical pencil to draw a perfect likeness of your mouth. For accuracy, draw the shapes of the gum line and the edges of the teeth. Do not draw hard lines between each tooth.

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2. Apply Dark Tones

When you’re satisfied with the accuracy, carefully remove the grid lines with a kneaded eraser and apply the darkest tones with a pencil, making sure the upper lip is darker than the bottom lip and that there are no bright highlights.

3. Blend, Add Shading and Lift

With a tortillion, blend the tones smooth and add some shading to each tooth to make it look dimensional. Lift the highlights of the bottom lip to make it look full and shiny. Keep the lines between the teeth subtle and soften where they touch with a kneaded eraser.

Drawing Eyes

The iris and pupil are perfect circles when the eye is looking straight at you; they become ellipses when turning away or looking up and down.The pupil is always perfectly centered within the iris.The pupil is the darkest part of the eye; fill it in as dark and smooth as possible.

1. Create a Line Drawing

Create a line drawing of an eye using the grid method and a mechanical pencil.

2. Lay in the Patterns and Blend

When you’re satisfied with your accuracy, carefully remove the grid lines with a kneaded eraser and then lay in the iris patterns with a pencil, using pencil lines that resemble a starburst pattern or wagon wheel spokes. Leave an area open for the catch light (half in the pupil and half in the iris). Blend everything smooth with a tortillion.

3. Continue Blending and Shading, Add Eyelashes

Blend the skin areas of the drawing to create the form and contours. Shade the white of the eye to make it look rounded like a sphere. Add the eyelashes with very quick strokes that taper at the ends. They grow in layers and clumps, so do not make them go all the way along in a row.

Drawing Noses and Eyes Together

Once you’ve mastered the anatomy of the eye and how to draw it realistically, you’ll need to know how to join two of them, as well as other facial features like the nose. Here are some pointers to keep in mind: The distance between the eyes should be one eye width.Both eyes should be directly across from each other.If you draw a vertical line down from the corner of the eye, it will line up with the nose.

1. Create a Line Drawing

Create a line drawing of a nose and eyes using the grid method and a mechanical pencil, noting how the vertical line drawn down from the corner of the eyes lines up with the edge of the nose. Place the eyes directly across from one another.

2. Apply Dark Tones, Fill in the Shadow Areas and Eyebrows

Apply the darkest tones with a pencil. The pupils of the eyes are the darkest areas. Fill in the tones of the shadow areas and the eyebrows with a pencil. The eyebrows should be shaded in as a shape first, before the hairs are applied. 3. Blend and Apply Highlights Blend with a stump or tortillion.

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Eyes from an Angle

When drawing facial features of a person at an angle, the rules change, and the features appear distorted due to perspective. In this view, the profile of the nose is blocking one of the eyes, and only a small portion of the face is visible on that side.

1. Create a Line Drawing

Create a line drawing of eyes in a slightly angled pose using the grid method and a mechanical pencil, noting how the angle blocks the view of part of the face. The irises and pupils are now vertical ellipses, as the eye is not looking straight at you, and the perfect circle has been changed due to perspective.

2. Apply Darks, Add Shadows and Blend the Eyebrows

Apply the darkest tones with your pencil to create the shadows. The pupils of the eyes are the darkest areas. Blend the shapes of the brows to a gray tone once you’re sure of your accuracy.

3. Blend and Lift

Create the patterns within the pupils and lift the catch lights with a stump or tortillion, and use a kneaded eraser for the small highlights seen in the brows.

Ears

Ears are one of the most difficult features to draw because they are made up of strange shapes. We don’t pay much attention to ears unless they have earrings or are larger than normal; in either case, they are not shapes that we often think about. To draw a good portrait, you must learn the anatomy of the model in order to make them look convincing.

Drawing Ears

The grid method will help you learn the anatomy of ears, which are made up of many intricate shapes that all nestle together. Here are some things to keep in mind when drawing ears: The outer ear overlaps the inner ear.The inner ear has an area that resembles a Y. Look for it in every ear you draw.

1. Create a Line Drawing

Create a line drawing of an ear using the grid method and a mechanical pencil, thinking of it as a puzzle of interlocking shapes.

2. Apply the Darks

Remove the grid lines with a kneaded eraser once you’re satisfied with your accuracy. Use a pencil to apply the darkest areas and create shadows underneath where the outer and inner ears overlap. Resist the urge to outline too much; instead, let shading create your edges.

3. Blend and Lift

When focusing on the earlobe, remember the five elements of shading and the sphere. Blend the drawing with a stump or tortillion, and lift out highlights with a kneaded eraser to make it look realistic. The ear is a bit shinier than other skin, so the highlights should be bright.

Putting it All Together | Drawing a Portrait

Now that you know how to draw facial features from the eyes to the mouth, it’s time to put them all together into a portrait. But first, go back and practice all of the facial features. Also, before moving on to this demo, be sure to practice drawing hair. I covered this topic in another post, which you can find here.

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1. Create a Line Drawing

Create a line drawing of a female face using the grid method and a mechanical pencil, going one box at a time and being very careful with the shapes.

2. Apply the Darks and Start Building up the Hair

Apply the darkest tones, starting with the eyes and moving down to the nose and mouth to create the triangle of features. Apply some dark tone next to the face to help create the light edge of the face. Begin to build the hair with long pencil strokes.

Keep Practicing

Keep practicing now that you know how to draw facial features with Lee Hammond’s All New Big Book of Drawing, which includes tons of quick step-by-step drawing demos geared toward beginners in both graphite and colored pencil (including how to draw facial features in colored pencil), as well as more inspiration and techniques from Lee Hammond herself.

More Resources on Drawing Faces and People

Drawing the Curves of the Cheeks, Chins, and Noses Drawing Hair Drawing Facial Hair Avoid These 5 Portrait Drawing Mistakes

How do I learn to draw portraits?

Here are some portrait drawing tips:

  1. Start with the eyes and work your way down to the nose and mouth.
  2. Allow the darkness of the hair to aid in the creation of the lighter edge of the face.

How can I draw better faces?

What is the best way to draw a face?

  1. Start with two circles to form the base of the head.
  2. Add construction lines to position the features.
  3. Experiment with different proportions.
  4. Line up the features.
  5. Start with the eyes.
  6. Add in the nose.
  7. Try different lip shapes.
  8. Think about the differences between male and female faces.

How do you draw a simple girl’s face?

Let’s get started learning how to draw a girl’s face.

  1. Step 2 u2014 Draw the Ears.
  2. Step 3 u2014 Add Hair to the Face.
  3. Step 4 u2014 Next, Draw the Eyes.
  4. Step 5 u2014 Then, Draw the Nose.
  5. Step 6 u2014 Draw a Bright Smile on the Face.
  6. Step 7 u2014 Next, Add an Eyebrow.
  7. Step 8 u2014 Add a Blush to the Cheeks.

What are the 5 basic skills of drawing?

The ability to recognize edges, understand proportions, draw from a perspective, use different color schemes, and put thoughts together are among the five basic skills.

What should I learn to draw first?

After all, any object you see around you can be constructed using one, or a combination of, three different shapes: A circle u2013 a sphere is a circle in three dimensions. A square u2013 a cube is a square in three dimensions.

How can I be good at sketching?

Top 20 sketching tips to help you improve your skills

  1. Know the difference between 4B and 4H pencils.
  2. Take control of your pencil.
  3. Experiment with different mark-making methods.
  4. Vary your lines.
  5. Avoid smudging.
  6. Control your edges.
  7. Use a blending stick for smooth shading.

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