Realistic face drawing begins with understanding the shape of the human head.
How to Draw Faces
Capturing a person’s appearance in a drawing is a three-fold task. On one hand, an artist needs to understand the anatomy of the head and how it is positioned on the neck and in relation to the rest of the body. You must also be able to effectively render the features of the face, knowing how to draw eyes, nose, lips, and hair so that all these parts integrate into the whole. But artists also need to realize that drawing faces isn’t an exercise in minutiae. It is more a matter of accurately rendering a handful of facial planes, shapes, and proportions that distinguish each one of us.
This topic page will guide you towards links, resources and youtube tutorials to help you on your way to mastering drawing faces.
Eyes are almost always halfway down the oval shape that is the human head. It is easy to forget this and place them too high up, forgetting to account for a forehead and a hairline, which takes up most of the top half of a person’s head.
By learning the musculature of the face, you’ll be able to better understand how to draw lips because you see them in the context of the human anatomy. This is especially important if you draw without a life or photographic reference, since many facial expressions involuntarily cause the lips to change ever so slightly.
It’s crucial to get a person’s nose right, since everything else on a face radiates out from it. This should be one of the last portions of the face you add, as it requires time and attention unlike any other aspect of drawing a face. While every face is different, there are some simple tricks: the eye is usually about the same width as the nose, and the edges of the nose usually line up with the eye’s inner corner.
Common face drawing mistakes
There are many small adjustments you can make to improve your face drawings, if you know what the common mistakes are. These include: misplacing the ear, shrinking the skull, drawing the nose and eyes out of proportion with each other, getting the angle between the forehead and nose wrong, and forgetting to register the thickness of the eyelid.
Another common misstep is putting too much effort into colour and tone, and not enough into drawing facial proportions.