Many RFA readers have requested me to write a tutorial on how to draw faces, so here it is! To make it easier to digest, I will 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. The other 2 will be coming soon!
Update: Part 2 is up! Click here to open in a new tab.
This tutorial is for a basic adult face. If you would like me to cover portraits, I’ve actually been thinking about making an ebook on that. Before I jump in, I want to make sure this is something RFA readers want. Drop me a comment below if you’re interested! :)
Note: Remember to use an 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.
How to Draw a Face Step 1: Face Shape
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: Face Guidelines
There are 2 ways to do this step: Ruler or no ruler. I 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).
Step 3: Eyes
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.
Step 4: Nose
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.
Step 5: Eyebrows
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.
Step 6: Lips
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: Ears
The Center Line and Line 2 mark the general boundaries for each ear.
Step 8: Hair
Experiment with Drawing Different Types of Faces
As always, you don’t need to stick to the exact guidelines above. Take a look at the different faces I made below using rough measurements!
You can play with different face shapes, test out unique eye and eyebrow angles, nose lengths/widths, etc… Grab a piece of paper and fill it with 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, and more.
I hope you guys enjoyed this tutorial on how to draw a face. 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.