Take a look at the different faces I made below using rough measurements!
The form of the face is developed though the use of value and tone. The relationships of specific values inform the viewer of the location and strength of the light source. It is ultimately the behavior of light on the head which creates the illusion of form.
Then we can draw the upper and lower lips, knowing that the mouth is in the right spot (Step 9).
Next, we’ll determine the location of the nose. Again this is easy because the bottom of the nose will exist on a line exactly in the middle of the eye line and the bottom of the chin.
The shape of the hair is added next. In most cases, the hair extends off from the top of the cranium and may overlap portions of the forehead (Step 13).
Here’s a look at a face and head drawn from imagination using the Loomis approach combined with a simpler approach which we discuss a little further down this page. All of the relationships and proportions are identified with the guidelines discussed.
Home Learn How to Draw Learn how to draw a face in 8 easy steps: Beginners
First, we will need to determine where on the face to put the eyes. This is easy because the eyes are in the middle of the head. Draw a line in the middle of your first shape for the “eye line”.
Extend the 2 lines where the inner corners of each eye are located. These guidelines will determine the nose’s width. Now that we have a box, it’s time to draw the nose. Click here to see my nose tutorial! Start with a circle, resting it anywhere between line 1 and 2. You can give your male character a more chiseled appearance by drawing the nose using very angular shapes.
Now for the ears. We’ll extend the eye line out to determine the location where the top portion of the ears meet the head. They extend upward a bit and line up with the brow line. The bottom of the ears conveniently align with the nose line (Step 10).
We’ll first discuss Loomis’ approach, which is more complex, but more accurate. If you find that this approach is a bit difficult for you, you can skip to the simpler approach further down the page. Remember, either way, the goal is to create a convincing head so either approach you take is fine.
If you’re wanting to learn even more on drawing faces with HD video and ebooks, be sure to check out the modules that are part of “The Secrets to Drawing Video Course”
Click here for my in-depth tutorial on how to draw eyebrows!
If you’re not already a member, and you want to take a sneak peek at what’s inside, here’s a link to get a free video and ebook from this course…
The planes of the face change direction in space. These changes in direction produce different values depending on the location and strength of the light source. In most cases, the light source will originate from above. This produces areas of darker tone in locations that recede and lighter ones in locations that protrude.
Here’s a quick review of the general locations of the facial features…
Note: Remember to use a blunt HB pencil for these steps. I used a 4B so you can clearly see what I’m doing. Remember, the darker you go and the harder you press, the more difficult it will be to erase your under-layers/guidelines.
I bet that most of us can relate to both of these quotes. We’ve all felt the pressure when drawing or painting a portrait to make it look exactly like our subject. Especially when that subject is a friend.
For some of us, the pressure is so great, we avoid portraits all together.It’s often hard to pinpoint a problem in a portrait. We can see that something isn’t quite right, but finding the solution or the fix can really throw some of us.
Often it’s a combination of issues that lead to a “less than perfect” portrait. Maybe something “is wrong with the mouth”.Even though representational portrait drawing is reliant on good observation and accurate mark-making, we can still follow a simple procedure that will lead to better results in our attempts.
Steps to Drawing a Face Using a Simple Approach
Many people make mistakes when drawing faces because they don’t fully understand facial proportions. Proportion refers to the relationship in size and placement between one object and another.
Draw a vertical line down the center of each eye. This will mark the lips’ outer boundary. Click here for my lips tutorial. If you’ve already read it, place your triangle in the small box under the nose to start. If you drew the nose well above line 2, extend the triangle so the tip touches the nose.
If you love RapidFireArt tutorials and want to support what I do, check out my Patreon page where you can support RFA and earn cool rewards at the same time!
HB Pencil Ruler Sakura Electronic Eraser Kneaded Eraser Canson Recycled Sketch Paper
Once we have the ears in place, we can add the eye brows. We’ll use the tops of the ears to make comparisons. For most people, the brow line aligns with the tops of the ears (Step 11).
The following video demonstrates how to draw the face in profile or from the side (this is also an older video, but still helpful)…
This beginners’ step by step tutorial is for a basic male face. The proportions are different for females.
There are many formulas that one can adapt to draw the facial features in the correct location. There’s a simple approach – one that I first learned and is great for beginners. Then there is the more complex approach using illustrator, Andrew Loomis’ guidelines.
Portrait drawing is an important skill for any artist to know how to do. Drawing the face from the front view is one thing, but drawing the face from the side – or in profile view, is slightly different. One thing that is important in both types of drawing is understanding the proportions of a human face.
Learn to draw unique faces by experimenting with various eye shapes, eyebrow angles, nose lengths/widths, etc… Grab a piece of paper and draw as many faces as possible!
Draw the upper hairline somewhere in between line A and B. It’s up to you how large you want the forehead to be. To draw a receding hairline, go above line A. When you’re drawing a man’s face, bring in hair from the sides of the head to create a solid and visible looking hairline.
A side view pose follows the same steps as the front view, so the drawing may begin with a simple circle. This circle will represent the cranium. Next, a curved line may be drawn down the side of the circle. This curved line will “hold” the features of the face. The chin can be completed by connecting the line with one edge of the circle.
For more on the Loomis method for drawing heads, check out Module 4 from the “Portrait Drawing The Smart Way” course or you can check out his book here .
The “nose” line is found in the middle of the “eye” line and the bottom of the chin. When it comes to facial proportion, most noses will end at this line (Step 3). However, there are exceptions to every rule. Some people have really long noses and some have really short ones.
If you have an electric eraser, use it to quickly get rid of all the guidelines that run through your drawing. You can clean up certain dark spots or tight spaces with a kneaded eraser.
Next, we’ll concentrate on the eyes. To find the overall width of the eyes, draw five oval shapes across the eye line. Most faces are about “five eyes” wide. Obviously, people only have two eyes. The “five eyes” just help to determine the width of the eyes (Step 4).
Draw a large circle and make a horizontal line below it for the chin. Then sketch the jawline. Draw a vertical line down the center of the face and make sure both sides of the face are symmetrical.
Learn How to Draw a Realistic Face Step 1: Start with a circle
Ruler Method: Make a ruler beside your drawing that is the same height. The ruler should be marked so there are 8 equal spaces. Always start with the center line. Draw faint lines through the face on the markings labelled CENTER LINE, 2, 3, A, and C. As you get used to this, you won’t need to draw the ruler on the side.
In the following video, we’ll take a look at an adapted approach to drawing a head using Loomis’ configuration. This is a simplified version of his method as outlined in his book .
When drawing faces, use these standards to help you get your facial proportions correct. Remember, you must look and study your subject. While these standards apply to most of us, they do not apply to all of us.
Resources for Drawing Facial Features… How to Draw an Eye How to Draw a Nose How to Draw a Mouth How to Draw Ears How to Draw Hair
Finally, we’ll add the mouth line. The mouth line fits nicely between the nose line and the bottom of the chin.
The “eye” line is in the middle of the face. (Your eyes aren’t way up on your forehead, so resist the temptation to put them there.) A line is drawn to represent the eye line (Step 3).
Once we know the width of the eyes are accurate, we can draw them in the proper location (Step 5).
As always, you don’t need to stick to the exact guidelines above. Learn how to draw heads using the basic guidelines and then mix and match facial features and face proportions.
If you know the person, the pressure to produce accuracy can be daunting. But every artist, no matter what their skill level, should take heart. Even the most experienced and well-known portrait artists are presented with challenges. Consider these two quotes from one of the best portrait painters of all time, John Singer Sargent…“Every time I paint a portrait, I lose a friend.”“A portrait is a painting in which something is wrong with the mouth.”
Now, we’ll determine the width of the nose. For most people, the width of the nose will align with the inside corners of the eyes. We can simply draw two lines down from the inside corners of the eyes to the nose line to find the relative width of the nose (Step 6).
Through this fun exercise, you will be able to draw faces faster with little effort, identify proportional errors when you revisit old drawings, identify what makes certain faces look more realistic than others, be able to draw cartoons, caricatures and more.
The Center Line and Line 2 mark the general boundaries for each ear.
Using Loomis’ approach, the head is divided by geometric configurations. A circle is drawn first (indicated in red in the image below) and then divided evenly with a vertical and horizontal line (blue). The edges of the face, the brow line, and the nose line are all defined by drawing a square (orange). An ellipse is drawn instead of a square from any other view other than the frontal or profile views.
Once we know the width of the nose, we can draw it in place (Step 7).
This means that recesses around the eyes, under the nose, bottom lip, and chin are mostly shaded with darker values. Areas that protrude, such as the nose, cheek bones, chin, and lower lip consist mostly of lighter values.
I hope you guys enjoyed this tutorial on how to draw a face for beginners and found it easy to follow. If you have any questions or requests, leave it in the comments below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.
If so, please join over 36,000 people who receive tutorials and articles. PLUS get 3 FREE COURSE VIDEOS and EBOOKS! Just click on the button below to add your name!Yes, I’m In
Here’s an older video that outlines this simpler approach…
Before addressing the hair, we’ll add a neck. The neck extends down from the bottom of the ears. For females, this lines extends inward a bit – resulting in a smaller neck. For males, this line still comes in a bit, but to a lesser degree. It’s nearly straight down from the bottom of the ears (Step 12).
Modules 21 – 26 are devoted to drawing faces and include an in-depth look at each of the facial features.
Next, you’ll need to observe your subject. You’ll need to observe the lines, shapes, and values that exist on your subject. Use your guidelines for the features, but pay close attention to what information exists on your subject. It will take practice to perfect this skill.
On the face, mark the center line with 4 ticks spread equally apart. The eyes will sit roughly on this line. Don’t be afraid to move slightly above or below the line, since eyes are usually slanted. If you want to draw more mysterious manly eyes, click here.
Using this simpler approach, the first step is to draw a circle to represent the cranium. Next, a line can be drawn to determine the length of the face (Step 1). For most faces, this line should be approximately double the length of the original circle. Next, lines are drawn from the bottom of that line to the edges of the circle creating the shape of the face (Step 2). From here, we can locate the positions of the facial features.
Now, we can figure the width of the mouth. This measurement varies from person to person, but for most folks, the width of the mouth aligns with the inside portions of the iris or the pupil. So, we’ll simply draw a line straight down from this location to the mouth line to find the corners of the mouth. We’ll draw a line here to indicate where the upper lip meets the bottom lip (Step 8).
Drawing a portrait is very much like drawing any other subject matter. You have to closely observe the subject in order to draw it accurately. Of course portrait drawing is especially delicate because the goal is to make the portrait resemble the subject closely.
Click the following link and hit the download button beside the printer icon to download the PDF: RapidFireArt Tutorials – How to Draw a Face in 8 Steps
To make it easy to digest, I split the tutorial up into 3 parts: How to draw a face from the front, side and 3/4 view. This is part 1 of 3. I came up with the original methods in these 3 tutorials by measuring over a dozen adult faces, so each tutorial carries over the same measuring techniques. Drawing faces should be easy as pie after you get the proportions down.
How to Draw a Head From Imagination – Andrew Loomis Approach
To better understand how light behaves, we can consider the planes of the head and face. By breaking the face down into simple planes, we can better comprehend how light behaves.
Super SIMPLE Method: If it’s still a little confusing, check out my simple method here. It’s also paired with a video so you can see how I do it!
The length of the face is determined by the distance from the brow line to the nose line. This distance is extended down from the nose line to find the location of the chin (yellow). So, the distance from the brow line to the nose line is the same distance from the nose line to the chin. The jaw connects to the head at the center intersection of the square or the ellipse – depending on the view.
Andrew Loomis is revered for his step by step approach to drawing heads. His approach divides the head into manageable geometric shapes. Each feature on the face has a specific location relative to the geometric configuration set up in the early stages of the drawing process. Because this method is so accurate, it’s great to use for drawing a head from imagination.
Lastly, shading is added to develop the illusion of form (Step 14).
No Ruler Method: Without the ruler, I draw lines in this order: CENTER LINE, 2, 3, B, A, C (B is included because it’s easier to break the forehead section in half first, especially when you’re drawing freehand). This is the method I use to draw heads all the time.
Each module takes a look at drawing the face from both the side view and the frontal view.
Many RFA readers have requested me to write a tutorial on how to draw faces, so here it is!
Extend the nose’s bridge past the eyelids to define the brow bone (this step is optional). These lines should be very light! Using a 4B pencil, draw the eyebrows along the brow bone. Facial features that can accentuate masculinity are thick bushy eyebrows!
The ears begin on the eye line and extend up to the brow line and connect back to the head on the nose line. They are aligned with the center vertical line (blue) drawn in the second step.
The mouth line is found approximately one-third of the way down in between the nose line and the bottom of the chin. A line is loosely drawn for its location (Step 3).
The eyes are found in the middle of the head The corners of the inside of the eyes generally line up with the edges of the nose. The “mouth” line is about one-third below the “nose” line and the bottom of the chin.
This line represents where the top lip meets the bottom lip. The inside portions of the pupils or the iris generally line up with the corners of the mouth. The ears are usually found between the “eye” line and the “nose” line, but extend up to the brow line.
There are 2 ways to do this step: Ruler or no ruler. I highly recommend using the ruler method for the first couple of faces you draw. Why? Because doing this step without it can throw your proportions off like crazy. Especially if you have trouble locating the ‘center’ of an object with your eyes. The no ruler method requires you to split multiple sections of the face in half and then in half again.
The Loomis method can be applied to drawing a head from observation as well, but some find it a bit cumbersome. Luckily, there is a simpler approach. This formula should be used to help you see and compare. In each stage of the formula, analyze each feature and draw what you see. The result will be a representational portrait of the person you are drawing with all of the features in the right place.