Learn how to draw a face in 8 easy steps: Beginners

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How to draw a face _ Final Step

Many RFA readers have requested me to write a tutorial on how to draw faces, so here it is!

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.

This beginners’ step by step tutorial is for a basic male face. The proportions are different for females.

Click here for more face drawing tutorials…

Part 2: Drawing Male Faces from the Side

Part 3: Drawing Male Faces from the 3/4 View

NEW: Draw Female Faces from the Front

NEW: How to Draw Female Face (Side View)

 

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.

Tools:

 

 

Learn How to Draw a Realistic Face

Step 1: Start with a circle

How to draw faces step_1

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.

Step 2: Draw guidelines on the face

How to Draw a Face Step_2

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.

Ruler: 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.

No Ruler: 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.

Draw a face step by step small

Step 3: Draw eyes in the right spot

How to Draw Faces Step 3

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.

Step 4: Draw a proportionate nose

How to draw faces Step 4

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.

Step 5: Add the eyebrows

How to draw a face Step 5

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!

Click here for my in-depth tutorial on how to draw eyebrows!

Step 6: Use a triangle shape to draw lips

 

How to draw faces Step 6

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.

 

Step 7: Add the ears

How to draw a face with ears Step 7

The Center Line and Line 2 mark the general boundaries for each ear.

Click here for an in-depth tutorial on how to draw an ear from the front

Step 8: Draw the hair

how to draw a face step by step _ Step 8
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.

How to draw a face _ Final Step

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.

Click here if you want to learn to shade faces!

Experiment with Drawing Different Types of Faces

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.

Take a look at the different faces I made below using rough measurements!

Experiment on How to Draw Faces

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!

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.

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.

Happy drawing!!

Other face drawing tutorials:

How to Shade a Face

how to draw a face from the side thumbnail 324x235Part 2: Drawing Faces from the Side

Part 3: Drawing Faces from the 3/4 View

NEW: Draw Female Faces from the Front

NEW: How to Draw Female Face (Side View)

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!

Darlene created RFA In 2013 with the goal of sharing simple yet detailed drawing tutorials with other artists on the world wide web. She is a self taught pencil portrait artist and Youtuber.

87 COMMENTS

  1. Your methodology is spot on….I learned to draw a face very quickly…Actually it surprises me how realistic it looks…I need to become more focused on the details…better eyes, nose & lips.. That I know will come in time with practice…My goal is to put self portrait on my Face Book page.. to show my “OLD” friends just how YOUNG I am at 74…I practiced all day on my birthday…things coming along just fine.. As a retired Architect things come back quickly but I was more of a draftsman than a free style artist…I have your ultimate tutorial on shading which I hope to study and apply soon… I do have a question …” small children”…no doubt proportions different if you care to comment?

    • That’s awesome!! I’m happy to hear that you’re picking up the pencil again, Tomas :)
      Small children do have different proportions. I don’t know how they’re different off the top of my head because I’m still in the learning phase as well. I’m going to have to study a few faces to come up with a solid answer. I’m going to do a tutorial or two on the subject in the near future :)

      • After doing three faces…after one week, and a quick study of the shading technique…On my 74th Birthday I did a mirror sketch of me…Not in your class but not bad…I posted it on my Facebook page from a photograph….Tomas Sailor…. Your basic techniques makes the FACE basis possible and proportional… “what else do you want or expect” One can only progress on nose, eyes and lips along with observation of shading….Did it with HB pencil and 3B….”12 pencils by the way cost $2.00 same with sketching paper

  2. Hello Mam simple but amazing tutorials .I am a animation and I want to learn drawing of any person in TOP , SIDE, FRONT & PERSPECTIVE VIEW .So can you help me by your guidelines please ☺

    • Thank you Chandan. As Tom pointed out below, you might be more interested in learning from the Loomis method as it will serve you better as an animator – drawing in 3D from various angles, etc. Here’s his book if you’re interested. I haven’t read it myself, but I’ve seen some pictures and they look promising. The book has great reviews as well.

  3. Don’t shoot me, but I think 2D constructions like this are useless to artists in the long term.

    Generally as an artist you’re doing one of two things (or a combination of both) when drawing:
    1. Copying what you see from life
    2. Constructing something from imagination/memory.

    When you’re constructing, it’s much more valuable to think of the overall forms in 3D, instead of learning “well this is how it looks from this angle, and this is how it looks from that angle”.

    An example of this would be the Loomis Head.

    • Hi Tom, you made a good point. The Loomis head is great for artists in the long term, I agree. My tutorial focuses mainly on proportions of each feature. I tried to make it as simple as possible so anyone can start drawing right away without having to learn about perspectives. I considered drawing these tutorials in 3D, but I felt like it would add a layer of confusion, especially for people who are completely new to drawing. These tutorials are meant to encourage people and get them to start without feeling intimidated.
      3D is something I will consider for future tutorials.

      Thanks for your honest feedback. It’s very much appreciated.

    • It really depends. If you take your time (without referencing the other tutorials mentioned), it could take up to 1 hour.

  4. Hey darlene, I am not a professional artist. I am engineer but still I like sketching, painting. I am following your tutorial for making sketch, I have a doubt, so can you please help me out?

  5. Darlene, all your tutorials are great. I am taking drawing 101 and your explanations are so much better than what I get in class. You break it up step by step so someone who does not have an artistic bone in his body can follow along and make something look good. Do you have any tutorials on drawing objects and shading them to make them lift out of the paper? A lighting tutorial would be awesome.

    • Oh wow, what a compliment! Thank you! Unfortunately I don’t have a tutorial specifically for that, but you can check out my shading tutorial to get some ideas. I’ll add these to my to-do list :)

  6. hi .. this is the first time i visited here and its great and very helpful for a beginner like me … and i was just wondering do you have any tutorials on how can i draw when the face is angled? :)

  7. I have been wondering , is there a particular name for the method which u used ? I am jzt a beginner and I want to learn the basics of drawing thats y i want to be sure about what I want to learn. Thanks for the post though 😊

    • Hi Cherry, there’s no name for this method. None that I know of anyway because I came up with it myself by analyzing over a dozen faces. I don’t recall seeing any other artists using this method. A lot of people start out with a box and draw a circle inside or make rough measurements on the face directly, starting above the eyebrow.

  8. hey Darlene… love your work…. u know how to put life into your drawings which makes them look so real and thats what i love about them….. i was wondering whether u have a tutorial for drawing mens lips….. i am currently working on a peice and it really doesn’t look good to have a man with ladies lips haha!!!
    lmk if oyu get the time
    thanks

  9. I am a fan of you and your posts here.. They’re such a big help. 😊❤ BTW, is there any pdf file about all of your tutorials? I really want to have some copy.

  10. Thank you so much!
    I have tried to make perfect human face a long time, but i couldn’t.
    So now i can. but i don’t know why it’s still difficult for me to make it face to face.

  11. Hey I am going to try your technique and draw that face I am 13 and I want to follow my dreams and be a great famous artist.

  12. I was never able to attend lasses on sketching,art or drawing….anyway thank you so very much as it will help me in all my faceless sketches (haha) I have never finished any o my sketches becauz of this & now I can thank you for help….

    Sincerely
    Ida L. Boren
    aka: ibJoyful

    • Hi Ida, glad I could help :) let me know if you have any questions or need any constructive feedback. Im available via the contact page.

    • Thanks Jennifer :) I have currently have 2 eye tutorials. You can find both of them on the homepage or in the ‘free drawing tutorials’ tab in the top menu.

  13. THANK YOU SO MUCH!! I have looked at sooo many tutorials for this, but for some reason I felt they were lacking something. This one is perfect and will definitely be bookmarked & printed out. Thanks again! :-)

    • Thank you Adelia! That’s quite the compliment :) If you don’t mind me asking, what did you like about this tutorial in particular? I’d love to get your feedback so I can improve on future tutorials.

  14. Hello Darlene
    You did an outstanding work. I wanted to skech along time but couldn’t. When I saw your work, I feel like now I can skech anything. Thank you so much for your attempt.

    I want to skech a girl face also, can you provide the steps of a female face.
    Thank you

  15. This is really really really helpful!!! Thankyou for posting these steps from this a 13 year old girl like me will be better artist than she was before!!

  16. Thanks, Darlene, very helpful! One question, how far below the circle to draw the chin line. It’s clear the circle is more than half the length of the face, but the bottom of the circle doesn’t seem to quite line up with the 1 line either. So I find it a bit confusing to be so accurate with the ruler, but yet the circle doesn’t match anything on the ruler – no line matches the diameter or the bottom. Any assistance would be appreciated!

    • Hi Harry! There’s no definitive line for the chin because faces come in all sizes. At the bottom of the article, I drew a bunch of faces with some chin lines further away and some close to the circle. For an average head, I think a little more than half the length of your circle will be good :)

  17. Your tutorials are really so helpful…my drawing ability is improving…
    But I have problem with body parts proportions…for example I draw the head bigger in proportion to body…is there any tutorial of you about that? I will really grateful to you

    • You can buy them in most art supply stores. They’re not common in general stationary sections of big box stores.

    • Thank you! I’m working on a detailed shading tutorial and face shading tutorial right now. They should be released around the same time. You can subscribe to the newsletter to get updates on new tutorials.

  18. This is genius, your tutorials have helped me a lot. I cannot wait until the one on how to draw a face from 3/4 view is up! Keep up the good work!

    • Thanks for the encouragement Arnelle! I’m working on a shading tutorial at the moment. I will get back to the last face tutorial soon :)

  19. These tutorials are splendid! Drawing has always been so hard for me, and all of my friends can do it with little effort. I felt a little left out, honestly. Every other site wants me to sign up for stuff and pay money that I don’t have. So, thank you for these free drawing lessons. It’s amazing what I can do now!

  20. thank you for this. Can’t wait to try it out. Can you make a tutorial on how to shade faces? I suck at shading and I really really need it so bad. Thank you once again! :D

  21. I love that I found your site! Its given me the tips I need to create better face portraits. :D Its so clear and concise and the steps really help. Thankyou Darlene!

  22. Darlene, u have been the best art teacher I have ever had !
    I am proud of my progress. And I hope I never forget these. I’ll keep practising.

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