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 (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.
Learn How to Draw a Realistic Face
Step 1: Start with a circle
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
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 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.
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.
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!
Step 3: Draw eyes in the right spot
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
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
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!
Step 6: Use a triangle shape to draw 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: Add the ears
The Center Line and Line 2 mark the general boundaries for each ear.
Step 8: Draw the hair
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.
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!
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.
Other face drawing tutorials:
Part 2: Drawing Faces from the Side
Part 3: Drawing Faces from the 3/4 View
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.