Darlene Nguyen

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.

How to Draw a Face from the 3/4 VIEW (Loomis Method)

I’m Darlene and in this drawing tutorial, I’ll walk you through how to draw a face from the 3/4 view using Andrew Loomis’ method for drawing heads.

It took me quite a long time to understand and learn how to draw the Loomis heads properly. If you’ve read his book, you’ll notice that I’ve incorporated some of my own methods into this tutorial to enhance clarity in areas where I faced challenges, striving to make each step as easy to understand as possible.

This tutorial is the third installment in a four-part series walking you through the Loomis method for drawing heads.

Part 1 covers the front view

Part 2 covers the side view

While it isn’t necessary to go through this series in order, I strongly recommend it. Seeing how the head is drawn from various angles will greatly enhance your understanding of challenging perspectives. This will enable you to draw faces from any angle with confidence over time.

First, I’ll show you how to build the basic structure of the head from the 3/4 angle, then, I’ll explain how and where to draw the facial features, followed by how to draw the final details such as hair.

Drawing Tools

These are the tools I’m going to use. But feel free to use a regular school pencil (HB) for the entire tutorial.

How to Draw a Face from the 3/4 View

Let’s start by drawing a circle for the cranium.

Next, draw a straight vertical line through the center of your circle and call it the Axis. This line determines how straight or how tilted your head will be. We will be using it as a reference for many steps throughout the rest of this tutorial.

Now draw a horizontal line through the center of your circle – This is where the eyebrows will be placed, so we’ll refer to it as the Brow Line. Make sure it’s perpendicular to the Axis.

Now we need to draw a straight line down the middle of the face. When the face is turned, this line curves. Imagine how a ball looks when you turn it slightly (observe how in the example above, the straight vertical line curves when I turn the ball left and right). To draw that curve correctly, we will draw an ellipse.

Make sure your ellipse is balanced evenly along the Axis so the facial features don’t end up looking wonky and lopsided. We’ll call this the Middle Line. The dotted half represents the side of the head facing away from our view. This dotted line helps make our 2D drawing look more 3D and helps us remember which side our head will be facing.

Above is an example of what to do and what not to do when drawing your ellipse. See how tilted the ellipse on the left is? It is not balanced well along the Axis.

It helps tremendously to have a physical model to rotate in your own hands, especially when drawing more difficult angles of the head! If you want to make a drawing reference tool like I’ve made for this tutorial, you can simply draw a vertical and horizontal line across any ball and pierce a stick through the north and south poles.

If you want to create your own drawing model, you’ll need the following materials:

The styrofoam ball represents the cranium and the toothpick is the axis upon which the head rotates. The orientation of the Axis determines whether the head will be straight or tilted and the degree of tilt. You’ll find the axis extremely important when you move on to drawing heads in tilted positions (such as the one in the 4th part of this series) because it will serve as your main reference point for properly aligning important parts of the face and head to prevent your drawing from looking skewed.

Okay, let’s get back to drawing!

So far, we’ve drawn a sphere, but the human head is not that round. The sides of the head should be quite flat, so we’ll need to slice 🔪 the side of our sphere off to reflect that.

Since we’re drawing a head from the 3/4 angle, we’ll only need to cut off one side (the visible side) of the sphere. To make sure we’re cutting off the right amount, split the sphere into 6 even spaces from top to bottom, using small tick marks.

Once you’re done, locate the topmost and bottommost tick, then extend the lines to the edge of your sphere. Make sure the lines are parallel to the Brow Line. With these two new lines, we now have boundaries to help us with the cut 🔪!

Using the boundary lines we just made, draw an ellipse that spans about half the sphere’s width. This ellipse represents the area of the sphere that we’re slicing off. We’ll call this area the Side Plane (side of the head).

Note: If you want to see what the side plane looks like from the front and side view of the head, please visit part 1 and part 2 of this drawing series.

Within the Side Plane, draw a vertical Ear Line. Make sure it’s parallel to the Axis.

Now let’s extend the Middle Line so it falls off the face of the sphere. Imagine a waterfall! Make it parallel to the axis or very slightly tapered.

Locate The Facial Features

Now let’s mark where his facial features will go! We can do this by making tick marks along the Middle Line. We have our Brow Line already, so we just need to find the Hair Line, Nose Line, and Chin Line.

The Hair Line and Nose Line are easy to find because they correspond to the top and bottom of the Side Plane.

You’ll notice that the space between each feature is equal. That means you can find where the Chin Line goes by simply measuring the distance from brow to nose to get the distance from nose to chin.

It’s important that these facial feature lines are parallel to the Brow Line.

Now let’s make this look more like a human head! Draw a curved line all the way from the forehead to the chin, creating the left edge of the face.

The jawline can be drawn by extending the ear line down and then angling your stroke towards the chin. I made my chin quite wide, but you can make it more narrow if you want, by adjusting the length of the Chin Line.

To make drawing the actual facial features less intimidating, section off the side of the face even further. I’ve drawn a curved line that stretches from the chin to the center of the side plane. You can lightly shade this entire right section of the head to clearly differentiate the side of his head from the front of his head.

There are two more facial feature lines to mark down…..the eyes and lips!

The eyes are about 1/3 of the way down from brow to nose.

For his lips, locate the halfway point between the nose and chin and draw a line that is slightly closer to the nose.

Construct the Neck and Base of The Skull

The front of his neck can be drawn right under the chin. Then draw the back of his neck. You’ll notice that I changed the shape of the cranium slightly so that the head looks less spherical.

Okay, we’re done with construction lines for now! Now we can have some fun drawing his actual facial features!

How to Draw Facial Features from the 3/4 View

Now I’m switching to a graphite pencil. Let’s draw his ear in the bottom right quadrant of the side plane, between the brow and nose. The ear should slant back slightly.

You can follow the numbered steps above and use this detailed tutorial if you need more guidance.

Now for the rest of his features…

To make the placement and drawing of facial features easier, you can familiarize yourself with the two things below. They will help you understand the human head and its features, not just from a fixed view like the 3/4 angle, but from any angle.

  1. Human Skull: Understand the bone structure beneath all the skin, muscle, and fat so you know why and where to place bumps, ridges, etc.
  2. Planar Head: A simplified version of the human head represented using flat sides or planes. Simplifying the head and face makes the placement and drawing of facial features easier and faster.

I’ve drawn some planes of the face (above), so you can see how helpful the planar head is. You can probably already visualize more clearly where each facial feature will go. Can you visualize where his eyebrows go? Let’s go ahead and draw those along the browline:

Notice how the tail of the right eyebrow ends roughly where the Side Plane starts.

Shape his forehead however you’d like while loosely following your construction lines. I’ve made his brow bone quite prominent.

It’s pretty difficult to draw a nose at this angle without any guidelines, so drawing a simple, planar nose first really helps (like the one I drew a few steps back in red). Try your best to balance your planar nose on the middle line so it sits on the face properly.

  1. To draw the base of his nose, start in the center where the Middle Line and Nose Line intersect and draw towards the tip of the nose.
  2. You can use your planar nose as a rough guide to draw the nose bridge. Extend your stroke to the brow.
  3. Wrap your pencil strokes around the side of your planar guideline to create the nose wing
  4. Then draw the nostril, which sits between the tip and wing of the nose.

Check out this tutorial for more detailed steps on drawing noses from the 3/4 view.

When viewing the nose from this angle, the nostril on the far side may not be seen at all.

Tip: If you want to study the nose from different angles, you don’t need any fancy tools, just grab some playdoh or a kneaded eraser. Create a wedge shape and add two round pieces on the side for each nostril. It’s a crude model, but it will give you a better sense of how a nose should look from different angles. Click here to watch my DIY tutorial on making a nose model.

Draw the far side of his face while visualizing the shape of his skull. The area near his eye is concave because of the way the eyesocket looks from this angle.

How prominent/high do you want to draw his cheekbone? You can adjust your stroke based on how you want his cheek to look. I’m not going any further down because I like to draw the lower portion after the mouth has been drawn.

To draw the right eye, create a vertical line that runs from the side of his nose wing, up to the Eye Line. The intersection marks where we should draw the inner corner of the right eye.

Tip: If you want to learn how to draw the eye from different angles, it helps to have a physical model to reference. make a simple model using a ball and some playdoh or a kneaded eraser. Flatten the playdoh, cut it in half, and wrap each half around the ball for the eyelids. Watch my DIY video for more details.

To draw the other eye, fit it in the space between the nose and the edge of the face. The inner corner of this eye will be hidden from our point of view behind the bridge of the nose.

Draw his lips along the Lip Line we created earlier. You can use the numbered steps above for guidance.

  1. Start by drawing the corners of his mouth using ticks. The distance between these ticks will determine the width of his mouth. The size is up to you. I like to draw an imaginary vertical line down from the center of each eye and use that as a boundary line so the mouth doesn’t appear too wide.
  2. To the left of the Middle line, draw a shallow curve.
  3. Connect that curve to the corners of the mouth using wavy lines.
  4. Draw the cupid’s bow (middle part of his top lip), making sure it’s positioned to the left of the Middle Line.
  5. Connect the cupid’s bow to the corners of the mouth to complete the top lip.
  6. Then draw the bottom lip. Position your stroke more to the left of the Middle Line.

Along the far side of his face, draw a convex curve next to the mouth. I’m still roughly following my construction lines. Outline his chin and jawline. I’ve given him a dimpled chin, but you can do whatever you prefer. For his neck, I’m staying pretty close to my construction lines.

How to Draw Hair From the 3/4 Angle

Let’s draw his hair!

How big do you want his forehead to be? You can use the blue Hair Line we drew during the construction phase as a reference to size his forehead – Draw your stroke below the line for a small forehead, above the line for a large forehead, or even higher for a receding hairline.

Work from the Middle Line and extend your strokes to either side of his head. As you work your way to the right, stop near the Side Plane, then bring your stroke down towards the end of his eyebrow. Before reaching the eyebrow, angle your stroke down to create his sideburn near the ear. Wrap the stroke around the top of his ear and continue down to the nape of his neck.

For the rest of his hair, try not to follow the sphere too closely, otherwise, the head will look too round and unnatural. At the very back of the head, angle your stroke inward so his head doesn’t look like a ball. If you want his hair to have lots of volume, put more space between the hair outline and the skull. You’ll notice that I’ve given him longer hair at the top/front of his head by adding more space between the hair outline and the skull.

How to Draw a Face from 3 quarter view Loomis Method

Once you’re satisfied with how your 3/4 face drawing looks, feel free to erase your construction lines and shade the face!

How to Draw a Face from 3 quarter view Loomis Method

And there we have another completed face drawn using the Loomis Method! I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and found it easy to follow! If you have any questions, please drop them in the comments section! Learn to draw more faces using this method by navigating through the drawing series using the buttons below :)

Other Tutorials in this Series

PART 1: Front View

PART 2: Side View

PART 4: Coming soon…

How to Draw a Face from the 3/4 VIEW (Loomis Method) Read More »

How to Draw Curls in 7 Easy Steps

In this step-by-step tutorial, I’ll show you how to draw curls in 7 easy steps! Grab a pencil, paper, and eraser, and follow along with me :)

Here are the tools I’m using, but you can use a regular school pencil (HB pencil) and any eraser of your choice.

Tools I Used:

Step 1: Draw Boundary Lines For Your Curls

Start by drawing a pair of vertical lines that taper at the bottom. These will serve as boundary lines for the hair. The tightness of each curl ring depends on how far apart these two lines are. You can experiment with that.

Step 2: Draw the Front Sections of Your Curl

Let’s shape the curl while keeping our strokes within the boundary lines. Draw thick sections of hair that are spaced well apart. Slant them all in one direction. At the bottom, draw the end of your lock of hair by tapering the hair to a point.

Step 3: Draw the Back Sections of Your Curl

To draw the back part of your curl, draw similar-looking sections of hair that are connected to the ends of the ones you just drew. The dotted lines in my example above show you the part where the hair is hidden from view (erase these before you shade).

Before we move on to the shading portion, make sure your curl has rounded corners instead of sharp corners like the example below:

Drawing your curl like this will make it look flat instead of spirally

Also, make sure to lighten your construction lines before shading so they don’t show through in the end.

Step 4: Add a Light Layer of Shading

You can erase the two vertical boundary lines before shading.

Grab your pencil and lightly shade one section of hair at a time, working from the outside in. Use the flat side of your pencil to avoid scratchy shading. We want to make the area going down the center of the curl appear lighter in value so it will look 3D. When you approach this lighter area of hair, flick your pencil up quickly to create a gradual change in value.

Once you’re done, you can blend your shading so it’s smooth, using any blending tool of your choice, such as a soft tissue or blending stump. Blend in the same direction you shaded.

Step 5: Add Strands of Hair to the Front Sections of Your Curl

Now we’re going to draw individual strands of hair over the top of our shading. Sharpen your pencil, using the tip to draw this time, and use more pressure to create darker lines. In each section of hair, start your stroke along the outside and flick your pencil in toward the middle.

Now that my drawing is darker, you can more clearly see the pattern of light and shadow – each section of hair is lightest down the center. The transition between light and dark values should be gradual unless you’re drawing wet or extremely shiny hair.

Step 6: Add Strands of Hair to the Back Sections of Your Curl

Let’s work on the back sections of our curl in the same way we did in step 5, using the tip of our pencil to create many individual strands of hair. To make our drawing look 3D, try to darken this section more than the front section.

Step 7: Add Final Details to Your Curl!

Once you’re done, check to see if you’d like to make any tweaks to your drawing. I added some stray hairs so my drawing looks more natural instead of rigid and predictable.

If you’d like to learn more about how to draw long curls, such as how to draw loose curls, changing the curl direction, or how to layer many curls on a head of hair for your character drawings, plus many more tips, please refer to my video tutorial below!

Video Tutorial: How to Draw Curls

Thanks for drawing with me! I hope you enjoyed this tutorial on drawing realistic curly hair and hope you share it with your friends :)

Leave a comment down below if you have any questions!

How to Draw Curls in 7 Easy Steps Read More »

How to Draw a Face from the SIDE (Loomis Method)

how to draw a face from the side_Loomis Method

Hey, I’m Darlene and in this tutorial, I’m going to explain the Loomis method for drawing the face/head from the side view. It took me a long time to understand and be able to draw the Loomis heads properly, so my goal with this tutorial is to make each step as easy to understand as possible and bridge any gaps. I also added some methods of my own.

This is part 2 in a 4 part series on drawing the Loomis heads. ** You do NOT need to go through the series in order**, but doing so will help you understand how to draw a face from any angle that you want. It’s a very useful skill to have for portrait artists!

Part 1 covered the head from the front and can be viewed via this link.

Drawing Tools

These are the tools I’m going to use. But feel free to use just a regular school pencil and eraser.

How to Draw a Face from the Side View

how to draw a face from the side_Loomis Method

If you already went through Part 1 of the series, these steps will look quite familiar to you. If not, don’t worry, you can still draw a face from the side view using these detailed steps.

Important Note: Some text will be marked with an asterisk “*”, meant for those of you who are going through this series in order. The text here may not make sense for people following this series out of order.

Draw Construction Lines for a Head in the Side View

Start with a circle. Then draw a straight vertical and horizontal line through the very center. I’m using a colored pencil so the instructions don’t get too confusing, but pencil crayon isn’t easy to erase, so I would recommend you use your graphite pencil and sketch very lightly so you can erase the construction lines easily once you’re done.

* Since we’re drawing a head from the side now (facing to the left), the middle line that runs down the middle of the face is going to be located on the left side of our circle. The vertical line is now called the ear line.

Extend your middle line straight down, creating the front of the face.

Find Where the Facial Features Go

The horizontal line is called the brow line, since that is where the eyebrows will be drawn (but more on that later). To find where the rest of his facial features need to go, we’re going to split the ear line into 6 equal spaces. Use small tick marks.

The topmost tick will mark the hairline. The bottommost tick will mark the nose line.

The space between each facial feature should be equal. So to figure out where the chin line goes, take a measurement from brow to nose and add it below for the chin line. You should now have 4 facial feature lines that are spaced evenly apart.

The eyes are going to be located about 1/3 of the way down from the brow to nose. For the lips, make a line a little higher than the midway point between the nose and chin lines.

Draw the Final Construction Lines

Draw a circle that spans from the hair line to nose line to represent the flat side of his head (aka the side plane).

* Remember when we chopped off the sides of his head in the front view? This is what it looks like from the side.

To complete the head shape, draw the jawline which runs from the bottom of the side plane to the chin.

To draw his neck, let’s first make the head shape less circular, as I’ve done above.

To draw the back of his neck, align your pencil with the nose line and base of his cranium. Halfway between the front of his face to the ear line, draw the front part of his neck.

Let’s Draw his Facial Features from the Side… Finally!

Now that we’ve constructed the head shape and know where his facial features should go, let’s use these as guidelines to draw our details on top!

Let’s draw the ear between the brow line and nose line, placing it in the bottom right quadrant of the head. It’s actually slanted back instead of perfectly vertical, so draw a slant that looks like a forward slash “/” before we actually draw the ear.

I think the ear shape is kind of similar to an oval, so if you want to have a rough guideline to draw within, create a faint oval.

Using the slanted line and oval as loose guidelines, you can more easily draw an ear. You can follow the steps as pictured above to draw the ear. You can see that I’ve now switched to drawing with a graphite pencil. At this point, I usually draw darker to differentiate the drawing from my construction lines.

To learn how to draw and shade an ear with more detailed steps, please visit this tutorial.

To draw the brow bone and forehead, start your pencil stroke just below the brow line, creating a deep convex curve. Extend your pencil stroke upward to create the forehead. I gave him a forehead that slants inward, but you can make it steeper or have it jut outward if you prefer. Try not to follow the circle shape, otherwise, his head will look too round. Stop when you reach the hair line.

Below the brow, you can draw a light triangle (the simplified version of a nose to use as a guideline to draw a more detailed one). Experiment with different shapes to get the nose shape you prefer. The base of the triangle should rest along the nose line.

Use the triangle as a rough guide to draw a more detailed nose shape. I’ve provided some examples above. You can manipulate the triangle to get some very interesting nose shapes.

After you’ve drawn the nose bridge, tip, and septum, add the wing of his nose to the right side of the middle line (the vertical line that marks the front of his face). For the nostril, draw a slight curve between the tip and wing of his nose.

To learn how to shade a nose, check out this tutorial.

Time to draw his mouth. I’ve included some steps above, showing the order I recommend for drawing the mouth. On the lip line, without going too far past the wing of his nose, draw a small tick to mark the corner of his lips. Define the opening of the mouth by drawing a wavy line. Then draw the top and bottom lip, making sure they are drawn on the left side of the middle line (the vertical line that marks the front of his face).

To learn how to draw an underbite, overbite, or normal bite, visit this tutorial.

Below the lip, bring your pencil stroke out to create a round, full chin, instead of following the construction lines too closely.

Then use the construction lines to draw the neck, jawline, and the rest of his head shape in more detail. Don’t forget the adam’s apple along the front of his neck :) For his head shape, try to deviate slightly from the circular construction line. I’ve made it so the back of his head is a little pointy.

Let’s draw his eyebrow along the brow line. I like to align the eyebrow arch with the side plane (the small circle we drew within the largest circle)

To draw the eye, first, draw an imaginary line going up from the wing of his nose. We’ll draw his eye to the right of that.

When referencing the numbered steps in the image above, the red line marks the imaginary line drawn from the wing of his nose and the blue line marks the eye line.

  1. Draw the eyelids using a shape similar to a rotated “V”, but more curved.
  2. Then add the eyeball using a curved line.
  3. The eyelid crease can be drawn using a curve that is similar to the shape of the top eyelid.
  4. Add eyelashes if you would like.

How to Draw Hair from the Side View

Time to draw his hair! Start along the hair line and draw hair-like strokes toward the right to frame his forehead until you reach the side plane. If you want to draw a large forehead, draw above the hair line. For a small forehead, draw below the hair line. Follow the side plane down toward the eyebrow, but don’t get too close! Angle your stroke down toward the ear. When you get to the brow line, create his sideburn, and then end your stroke near the top of the ear.

Continue your stroke on the right side of his ear, working down the nape of his neck.

Looking at the head on the right in the image above, you’ll notice how the hair highlighted in red is close to his head in certain areas and further away in other areas. The closer the hair is to the head shape, the shorter the hair is and vice versa. Use this knowledge to design his hairstyle the way you want. I made his hair mostly short but gave it much volume at the top.

Once you’re happy with how the face/head looks, erase your faint construction lines (what I’ve drawn in blue pencil crayon). And that’s how you draw a head from the side view using the Loomis method. If you want to learn how to draw 3 more head positions, please navigate to those tutorials using the links below.

Other Tutorials in this Series

PART 1: Front View

PART 3: 3/4 View


Coming soon…

How to Draw a Face from the SIDE (Loomis Method) Read More »

How to Draw a Face from the FRONT (Loomis Method)

Hey, I’m Darlene and in this tutorial, I’m going to explain the Loomis method for drawing a face from the front view. It took me a long time to understand and be able to draw the Loomis heads properly, so my goal with this tutorial is to make each step as easy to understand as possible and bridge any gaps. I also added some methods of my own.

This method allows you to not only draw faces from the front view but also from ANY view that you want.

This is PART 1 in a 4 part series where I’ll show you step-by-step how to draw 4 different head positions.

Drawing Tools

These are the tools I’m going to use. Feel free to use a regular school pencil and eraser though.

How to Draw a Face from the Front View (Loomis Method)

Let’s start with the easiest angle. The front view. I’m using a colored pencil crayon for all the construction lines so you can still see the construction of the head after the drawing is complete. Keep in mind that pencil crayon cannot be erased easily, so if you’re following along, you might want to use just a regular graphite pencil for this construction process.

Draw Construction Lines for a Head in the Front View

The first step is to draw a circle. To do so, limit the movement in your fingers and wrist and instead, move your elbow and shoulder. Just hover over your sketchbook, creating circular motions. When the movement looks and feels right, lower your pencil to create a faint circle. It may take a few tries and that’s perfectly normal!

I’ve gone over my circle to make it dark so the instructions are more clear. But try to keep your construction lines very light.

The next step is to create a vertical line (called the middle line) and a horizontal line (called the brow line) that runs through the very center of your circle.

Since the side of the human head is more flat, let’s cut off the sides of our circle. To cut off just the right amount, split the vertical line (aka middle Line) into 6 equal spaces.

Draw a straight horizontal line through the top and bottom-most tick.

Where each horizontal line intersects with the circle, draw a straight vertical line:

You should now have a square within your circle.

I can’t easily erase pencil crayon, so for now, just imagine that the left and right sides of the circle are gone.

Determine Where each Facial Feature Goes

Extend the middle line down so we can mark where all his facial features go.

We already know where the eyebrows are going to go, so next, we’ll need to figure out the placement of the hairline, nose, and chin. In the process of cutting off the sides of our circle, we’ve actually created the hair line and nose line already.

For an average male face, all of these features will be spaced evenly apart, so to find the boundary of the chin, take a measurement from hair to brow OR brow to nose to find the distance between the nose and chin. Make a small tick to mark the spot:

Now we have 4 horizontal feature lines that are spaced evenly apart.

To complete our head shape, we’ll need to draw the jawline. Extend the sides of the head down a little and then taper your pencil stroke in toward the chin. You can adjust the chin width based on your preference. For older males, I like to make the chin very wide with sharper angles. For a younger male with softer features, I like to draw the chin more narrow and smooth out the corners.

Now we have a complete head shape!

But there are two more feature lines to draw – the eye line and lip line!

The eye line is located about 1/3 of the way down from brow to nose.

And then between the nose and chin, there’s the lip line. It looks like it’s halfway between the nose and chin, but it’s actually just a little closer to the nose.

Time to Draw the Actual Facial Features

Let’s start adding his features now! Now that we’ve constructed the head shape and know where each facial feature should go, let’s use these as guidelines to draw our details on top!

Draw his ears along the side of the head, positioned between the brow and nose.

It may help to think of the ear as a shape that resembles half of a heart ❤️.

Introducing the Skull and Planar Head

Drawing the rest of his facial features can be very intimidating. So before we actually draw any of them, it’s good to learn where each feature fits on the face, then we can worry about how to draw each one.

A good way to approach this is to first practice drawing the human skull because it helps us understand the structure beneath all that skin.

Study and draw the skull from all sorts of angles. There are many apps and online references you can use to study from.

You can also learn how to draw muscles of the face, which is covered in Andrew Loomis’ book.

Learning how to draw a planar head will also come in handy. It’s basically a blocky, simplified version of the head. When you practice drawing this, it helps you better visualize where the facial features go. And it will give you a better grasp of the subject in a 3-dimensional space, giving you an understanding of how to draw the subject from different angles, which will help you as you move on in this drawing series.

It takes some time to learn this, but if you put in the time, your drawing skills will level up dramatically.

You can go right ahead and actually draw the planar head over your drawing very lightly to block out the different sections from one another. There are many ways to draw a planar head, as you can tell from a quick Google search. The Loomis one is a little different from what I’m doing now.

I like to lightly sketch just the face section and ignore the rest of the head, but when you’re practicing it’s probably a good idea to draw the whole planar head.

Please refer to the book for more info on this.

I’ll walk you through the specific placement of each facial feature as I draw them. With the skull and planar head references, you can probably already vividly picture where the features go.

Along the brow line, let’s draw his eyebrows. Slant them up at the ends. Leave a little space between the tail of each eyebrow and the side of the head.

Use your planar head sketch as guidelines to help with drawing the nose. The nose should sit on the nose line and be balanced along the middle line that runs vertically down the face.

I won’t go into much detail on how to draw each individual facial feature because I have separate tutorials for each one already. Click here to find all my free facial feature tutorials.

To place the eyes, draw a vertical line from the wing of the nose all the way up to the eyeline. That marks the inner corner of each eye.

The width of each eye should be about the same width as the nose.

For each eye, you can draw a trapezoid-like shape, then round off the corners to create something that looks more like an eye.

Position his eyes right above the eyeline.

Add an eyelid crease above each eye – It’s just a line that roughly follows the eye shape.

To draw the lips, I’m going to use a different method from Andrew Loomis.

Where your lip line intersects with the middle line, draw a U-shaped curve. It can be pointy, shallow, wide, or long. To either side, draw the corners of the mouth using small ticks, then connect the dots creating a wavy line in the shape of your choice.

Draw the outline for his top lip, creating an M-like shape. The bottom lip is like a very wide and shallow U shape.

How wide should the mouth be? It’s up to you, but I like to draw it a little wider than the nose.

Let’s draw his cheeks next.

If you want to really define his cheeks but don’t know where to start, it helps to visualize his skull. Also, knowing where the cheekbones end will help you understand which areas you can hollow out.

For his jaw, use your construction lines as a rough guide, softening the harsh angles. I’m giving him a dimpled chin.

For his neck, draw it as thick as you’d like.

I’m using red here so you can clearly see what I’ve added since the last step

Let’s draw the outline for the top and sides of his head. Round off the sharp corners and make the sides of his head come out a little more than the blue construction lines.

How to Draw Hair in the Front View

To draw his hair, you can use the hair line as a reference point, which will give him a medium-sized forehead. Draw above or below the hair line to give him a larger or smaller forehead.

Where the hair line intersects with the vertical middle line, I’ve drawn a dip to give him what’s called a cowlick. The boundary of his hair along the two sides of his forehead angle in slightly toward his eyebrows and then out toward each ear.

You can leave it like this so he has a buzz cut (head pictured on the left) or give his hair some length and volume (head pictured on the right). To do that, first select where you want his hair parting line to be (where he parts his hair). The parting line is the transition point between where his hair sweeps left and right. Start drawing his hair from that point and give him any hairstyle you want. To give his hair more volume, draw it further away from his head.

Once you’re happy with how your drawing looks, erase the faint construction lines and that completes our head drawn from the front view!

We’re going to use the exact same method to draw the last 3 heads in PART 2-4 of this series, so you’re going to see the same patterns come up over and over again, but from different angles!

I hope you enjoyed this drawing tutorial! If your drawing didn’t turn out the way you wanted the first time, don’t give up. It takes some practice and some patience. You can do it!!

Use the links below to navigate through the rest of the tutorials in this series on drawing faces from any angle using the Loomis method.

PART 2: Side View

PART 3: 3/4 View


Coming soon…

How to Draw a Face from the FRONT (Loomis Method) Read More »

How to Draw a Male Eyebrow

How to Draw a Male EyebrowHey, I’m Darlene and in this tutorial, I’ll break down how to draw a realistic male eyebrow into simple steps.

Tools I Used

I’m going to use a cheap 2B dollar store pencil, but you can use an HB pencil if you prefer, I’m also using a kneaded eraser, which you can learn how to make here and I’ll use a regular, soft facial tissue for blending.

Okay, let’s get started!

Decide on Eyebrow Height

We first need to figure out where to draw the eyebrow above our eye. I’m going to place mine close to the eye, but you can play around with the height to see what you prefer.

For males, I like to draw the eyebrow closer to the eye. Above is an example of a masculine and feminine eye with different eyebrow heights for reference.

Outline the Eyebrow

Once you’ve decided on the eyebrow height, let’s create a few rough guidelines to help us construct the eyebrow outline. These don’t need to be exact.

Eyebrow drawing placement

Navigate a small distance outside the left of the eye, move your pencil straight up and draw a very light tick to mark the spot. This is roughly where your eyebrow will begin.

Navigate to the right corner of the eye, go straight up, add a light tick mark. That will be the point where the eyebrow arches.

Angle outward from the right corner of the eye for the tail of your eyebrow.

Okay, now that we have some guidelines in place, we can outline the shape of our eyebrow:

How to draw different eyebrow shapes maleYou can create a number of shapes using the guidelines that we just drew to help you. I’m going to go with something quite angular, not too curvy to make the eye look more masculine (Example C).

Draw male eyebrow outlineInstead of drawing a solid outline, use tiny pencil strokes that flow in the same direction that our eyebrow hairs point, that way, they’ll blend in and just disappear as we continue to draw.

Use small, light strokes. Don’t worry too much about how they look, we mainly want to focus on the eyebrow shape that we’re making.

Tweak the shape however you’d like before moving on to the next step.

Understanding Eyebrow Hair Direction

To simplify the rest of the eyebrow drawing process, I’m dividing the eyebrow into two zones. Let’s call the bottom half zone 1 and the top half, zone 2.

In zone 1, the hair mostly points up and toward the tail of the eyebrow. At the beginning of the eyebrow, they can even point the opposite way.

Zone 2 is simple, they mostly point down toward the tail of the eyebrow.

In the middle section (between the two zones), they’ll point toward the tail of the eyebrow while following the same path as the boundary line.

Let’s keep that in mind as we draw.

You can draw a boundary line between zone 1 and 2 using hair-like strokes starting from the top left to the bottom right. Since everyone’s eyebrow is different, your boundary line can look way different from mine:

how to draw a male eyebrowSearch up some eyebrow pictures on Google and you might find a distinct line that runs through the eyebrow, separating it into two zones like example A which I find quite common, like example B where zone 1 is most prominent, or even one like example C where zone 2 is most prominent.

ZONE 1: Draw the Bottom Half of the Eyebrow

Here are some tips before we start actually drawing the eyebrow.

To make the eyebrow look as natural as possible, make sure not to draw the hair in a perfectly straight path and instead stagger them, creating a more random pattern.

Another thing to remember is to avoid drawing them all straight and parallel to each other, and instead, slightly change the angle or the curve. The example above is a little exaggerated.

The last thing to remember is to keep your pencil sharp at all times to make sure each hair is thin. Flick your pencil up at the end of each stroke to feather it out.

Let’s start drawing the hair in zone 1, creating a row along the very bottom. If you make a mistake, just pinch your kneaded eraser to a fine point and dab the mistake away gently.

Once you finish the first row of hair, move up slightly and add a second row, then a third, and so on.

Keep doing this until you reach the boundary line. As you get closer to the boundary line, you’ll want to start angling your hairs or curving them until they’re pointing in the same direction as the hairs we drew along the boundary of zone 1 and 2.

Draw more or less hair depending on how full or sparse you want your eyebrow to appear. Fill any areas that look too bare.

Try to avoid drawing stray hair unruly hair for now because we’re going to blend our drawing slightly later on.

ZONE 2: Draw the Top Half of the Eyebrow

Now that you have some experience drawing the bottom hairs, it’ll be easier to do the ones up top.

Again, you can cross some hairs over each other to make them look natural instead of drawing them parallel to each other.

So for zone 2, we’re going to draw the first row of hair very lightly using very thin strokes.

Then for the next row down, we can darken our strokes some more. Keep going row by row until the full eyebrow is drawn in.

Along the boundary line between our two eyebrow zones, I want the hair to look like they’re affected by each other like they’re interacting with each other.

I can do that by tapering some of the top and bottom hairs together like in example G. You can also draw them like example H where they cross over each other, but I think too much of that can create a very unnatural-looking crisscross pattern as shown in example I. So it’s up to you and your creative decision and how you want to go about it.

Experiment with tapering or crisscrossing hair to see what you prefer.

If your eyebrow is looking too patterned or stiff, make sure your strokes are slightly curved and relaxed instead of straight and stiff, and remember to flick your pencil up at the end of each stroke.

Blend Your Eyebrow

Next, I’m going to slightly blend the eyebrow to make it look more full and give it some shadow.

If you’re unsure about this step, you can test it on a separate sheet of paper before applying it to your drawing and do it as lightly as you can.

If you’re still unsure, you can instead just lightly shade over your eyebrow, making sure the edges are the lightest and make sure the smoothness of your shading matches the rest of your drawing.

Blend Bushy Eyebrow DrawingTo blend, I’m just using a regular, soft facial tissue wrapped around my finger. Try to avoid the outer edges of your eyebrow and any stray hairs that you’ve drawn. Very gently smudge your eyebrow following the direction of the hair, using a swift motion, lifting your finger up at the end of each swipe.

The lighter you press, the less you’ll smudge and vice versa, so do what feels comfortable to you. If you need to do it a few times to blend the entire eyebrow, use a clean spot on the tissue each time.

before and after blending eyebrow drawingHere’s a before and after so you can see how much I blended mine. You absolutely don’t have to blend yours as much!

It doesn’t look pretty right now and it’s not supposed to because we’re going to work the drawing even more. The smudges act as cast shadows and it makes the eyebrow look bushier without having to draw an overwhelming amount of hair.

Let’s take a break from the main body of our eyebrow for now and finally draw some stray hair. The reason I’m drawing the stray hair now is that I want these pencil strokes to appear as sharp/clean as possible.

Draw Stray Eyebrow Hair

You can skip this section if you want your eyebrow to look well-groomed and plucked.

How to Draw Stray Eyebrow Hair BushyI’m just sort of expanding the eyebrow in a very subtle way, drawing very light hairs that are shorter than the others that we’ve drawn so far. I like to draw them even lighter the further they are from the main part of the eyebrow.

Try to spread them out, so they’re not too close to each other.

Along the top of your eyebrow, draw your pencil strokes especially thin.

Add more stray hair if you want your eyebrow drawing to appear bushy.

By now, you can probably tell that I’ve expanded my eyebrow past the original outline that I made, and that’s completely fine. Because it was meant to be a rough outline – something to help us during the initial drawing phase. So don’t feel like you need to strictly stick to that original shape!

Darken and Sharpen Your Eyebrow Drawing

If you think your eyebrow lacks that 3D feeling, you can darken hairs that face away from the light.

Here’s an example of what I mean using a diagram of the eyebrow from the profile view:

My imaginary light source comes from the top, so the lightest hair will be the ones along the top (zone 2), because those hairs face the light more directly, while the hair along the bottom (zone 1) are facing away from the light, making them appear darker.

So simply darkening the hair along the shadowy side of your eyebrow, can make it look more 3D.

Okay, so earlier we used a tissue to smudge our eyebrow in order to give it cast shadows and make it look more filled in.

This process made it a little blurry.

We want to give it back some definition. In other words, I’m redrawing some of the hair so that they are more apparent and appear sharper.

How to Draw a Male EyebrowYou don’t have to redraw every hair, just pick a select few and try not to favor one section of the eyebrow over another. I’m just redrawing every other one or so, allowing the others to act as fillers.

Try to keep your pencil very sharp throughout the process.

If you like the hair color/shade of your eyebrow currently, just focus on making the hair look sharper, but if you’re like me and want to darken your eyebrow more to make the drawing POP, you can go ahead and darken them at the same time by pressing harder with your pencil as you draw each stroke.

As I’m doing this, I find myself doing some touch-ups like elongating some hair or even adding some new ones where there appears to be an odd gap. Just do what you think looks good for your specific drawing.

As you go along, step back from your drawing every so often to make sure you like how it’s coming along.

If you need to remove some hair, pinch your kneaded eraser to a fine tip and dab the hair away gently instead of rubbing out an entire area of your drawing.

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And that’s how I draw a bushy, male eyebrow from scratch!

Note: If you’re stuck on any of the steps, you can refer to the video version of this tutorial which contains more detail on each step.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! Happy drawing :)

Watch the eye tutorial here

How to Draw a Male Eyebrow Read More »

How Draw a Realistic Eye From the Side

How to Draw a Realistic Eye From the SideHey, you’re reading a detailed step by step tutorial on how to draw a realistic eye from the side, QUARANTINE EDITION!


Since art supplies may be hard to come by during this time, use whatever tools you have or you can even make your own. I’m using a dollar store pencil, a tissue, a homemade blending stump and a kneadable eraser, which you can learn how to make in my other post: How to Make a Kneaded Eraser Putty!

Let’s get started!

Draw the Eyeball

Lightly draw or trace a circle for the eyeball. It doesn’t have to be perfect because we’re only going to use it minimally during the construction process of our eye and then we’ll erase it completely.

Just in case you’re wondering, my circle is 6cm in diameter.

Draw the Cornea

Draw a small bump or cornea in the direction you want the eye to face. I want mine to face the right, so I’ll draw my cornea on the right side.

In terms of sizing, the cornea’s length is roughly half of the eyeball’s diameter (or the length of the radius).

Draw the Iris and Pupil

Now draw the iris by creating a curve that touches the top and bottom of the cornea. Make sure your linework is very light, so you can make changes easily.

Erase part of the eyeball that crosses through the iris/cornea. Then inside the iris, draw a narrow oval for the pupil.

Draw the Eyelids

Now let’s draw the eyelids.

Starting roughly from the center of the eyeball, lightly draw a curved line for the top eyelid. It can cover part of your iris or expose it completely, then wrap the eyelid around the other side of your eyeball.

To draw the bottom lid, create a curve where the two eyelids meet and then continue your stroke toward the bottom of your iris.

Example of a narrow eye (the iris is more exposed at the bottom, rather than the top.

Usually, when our eyes are open, the iris is most exposed at the bottom rather than the top. So if you want to draw narrow eyes, keep that in mind:

Alright, moving on! Right above the top eyelid, draw the eyelid crease. You can use the eyelid shape as a reference or draw a more uniquely shaped crease. Connect that pencil stroke to the top eyelid using a slight curve.

To complete the bottom lid, I’m drawing a stroke that goes almost straight down, but you can angle it out or in if you want.

You can add wrinkles at the corner of the eye or at the end of the eyelid crease if you want.

Bulging eye example

Tip: If you wrap the eyelid skin very close to the eyeball, you can get a bulging eye effect:

Once you’re done, erase the circle guideline and parts of the iris that fall outside the eye-opening.

Eyebrow Placement

Now let’s figure out where to place the eyebrow.

Lines from left to right: Tail, arch, and beginning of eyebrow.

Draw a very faint line at the end of your eye, another line from the cornea’s edge, and then a line that angles out from the eye, similar to the picture above. These are for the tail, arch, and beginning of the eyebrow.

Eyebrows come in all shapes and sizes, so don’t worry too much about this part. They’re just rough guidelines.

Now that we have 3 guidelines in place, we can draw our eyebrow more easily – using them as rough guidelines/boundaries.

You can draw your eyebrow lower or higher than mine if you like, and you can draw it as thick as you want.

Keep your pencil strokes extremely light so that your outline won’t show through later – That would take away from the realistic effect that we’re going for.

Once you’re happy with the shape of your eyebrow, erase the 3 guidelines. We’ll add the eyebrow hairs later!

Draw the Highlight/Reflection

Let’s add some highlights in the eye. Highlights are the brightest area of a drawing.

A highlight can be from a nearby window or any light source. Here are a few example shapes:

These shapes are all curved because the eyeball is curved, so a rectangular window, for example, might take on more of a C-shape.

You can come up with your own shapes and stretch them across the eyeball, covering as much or as little space as you like.

If you want, you can add obstructions in the highlight like the silhouette of a person standing in front of the window or some curtains. You can even create a gradient across your highlight to indicate a difference in light intensity.

Anyway, once your highlights are drawn, erase any lines that cross through them, cleaning them up.

I like to use my kneaded eraser for this, by rolling the end till it’s pointy and then dabbing the graphite away. Here’s a closeup:

You can even flatten your eraser to work along an edge:

Throughout the drawing process, try to keep your highlights as clean as possible so that they can stand out.

Shade the Pupil

Time for some shading!

Let’s start with the pupil, shading it really dark, because it’s actually a hole in the iris.

Shade the Iris

Next, we’ll shade the iris. Remember to be very careful around the highlights because we want to keep their edges crisp. You can shade as light or as dark as you want, without going darker than the pupil.

I recommend blending the iris now, using a tissue or blending stump for example, so it looks more smooth before moving on to the next step, or you can skip the blending process if you want.

In the video for this tutorial, I blended my entire drawing at the very end to keep the video short. But I highly recommend blending as you go because it’s a lot easier that way and you can avoid smearing your work during the process.

Here’s the shading/blending process that I like to follow:

I shade the light values, blend it, then add shadows, I try to blend just the shadows so I don’t smear the darker graphite into the lighter areas. Then finally I add details. If I need to do any blending after the details are added, I blend around them, being very careful not to blur or smudge my detail work.

Once detail work is smudged, it may be difficult to recover:

Okay, moving on!

Exaggerated example

My imaginary light source comes from the top right, so I’m shading the top of my iris darker because the iris shape is concave, so the top of the iris is actually facing away from the light, whereas the bottom of the iris, faces toward the light.

As I work my way down, I apply less and less pressure to get a gradient, as the concave iris shape starts curving/facing toward the light.

Also, you can shade the very top of the iris even darker to account for cast shadows from the eyelid.

Something I like to do is shade the rim of my iris darker than the iris body to give it more contrast, but that’s completely up to you.

The large highlight is too overpowering for my liking, so I’m going to make it more subtle by shading a gradient across it, making it dark at the bottom and gradually lighter toward the top, just like the example I showed you earlier:

When you finish shading the iris, make sure that the outline of each highlight is no longer visible. If it still is, you may need to erase it slightly or shade the surrounding area a little darker so it blends in/disappears.

Okay, so that was the simple and quick version for shading an iris. If you want to add more detail, you can apply the following steps…

More Detailed Version of an Iris

This section is optional, but to make the iris look more interesting, you can add some fine detail such as lines that stretch outward from the center.

Use your pencil and eraser to render these lines. If you want to draw straight lines, you can flatten your kneaded eraser, and then just press and lift the graphite away or rub gently. If you curve your lines close to the pupil (the hole inside of the iris), you can make the iris look more 3d.

Try to angle or space out some of your lines randomly and vary the thickness to make them look more natural.

Squiggly lines example. You can use a kneaded eraser or solid eraser for this.

As an alternative, you can draw squiggly shapes if you prefer. I’m drawing this example on the same iris, but I recommend you select only one style or somehow merge the two.

A solid eraser will work too, just make sure that it’s pointy enough. You can cut the eraser to make it as pointy as you require. It’s good to overlap the squiggles too.

After that, use your pencil to darken some of the spaces in between your squiggles to add some depth and contrast.

These lines and squiggles are all part of the iris, so we’ll need to shade them similarly to how the iris was shaded before they were added. Remember we shaded the top of the iris? I’m doing that again, except this time, lighter.

Oh, and shade around the outside your pupil if you want the area to appear deeper.

Anyways, that’s the detailed version of an iris. You can of course stick with the simple version.

Shade the Eye Whites

Let’s shade the eye whites now.

They’re called eye whites, but they’re not exactly white, so don’t be afraid to shade them.

Refer to your light source again (mine’s in the top right) – Subtly shade the eyeball lightest where it faces the light and darker where it faces away from the light.

To shade very smoothly, try to keep pencil strokes close together to eliminate gaps.

Shade the top and bottom of your eye whites.

Now we’re going to shade the top and bottom of the eye whites. We’re shading the top because the eyelid sticks out and creates a cast shadow directly below it, and the bottom because the round eyeball curves away from the light source, putting it in shadow.

While we’re here, I’m just going to shade the iris rim to soften the edge.

You might wanna blend your eyeball before moving on to the next step…

You can add veins in the eyeball by sharpening your pencil and drawing them in very very faintly. Try to make your veins even lighter as they reach toward the iris.

Shade the Skin

Let’s shade the skin, starting with the top eyelid.

Right where the eyelid crease is, create a gradual value change from dark to light as we shade our way down. This will make the skin actually look as though it’s creased.

After that, let’s shade the lower section of the eyelid because the skin curves away from the main light source.

Now let’s shade the rest of the top eyelid, leaving the right side the lightest because it faces the imaginary light source directly.

Where the skin starts to curve away from the light, I’ll shade it the darkest.

If you want to learn more about shading and how light works, please refer to my shading tutorial.

I’m using strokes that follow the contour of the skin. This is called contour shading. If you vary your stroke pressure, making some strokes darker, you can give the skin a more realistic texture. You can even throw in a few subtle strokes that go in random directions to mimic the fine lines and wrinkles of the skin.

For the bottom eyelid, I’m shading along the top edge, while leaving a narrow space for the eyelid’s ledge.

To draw an eye pouch or bag under the eye, shade along the bottom of the eye bag to make it look as though the skin above it puffs outward.

For a subtle eye bag, make your shadows light.

Shade the Rest of the Skin

Let’s shade the rest of the skin and then we’ll move onto the eyelashes.

Starting at the eyelid crease, I’m going to shade lighter as I work away from it (as the skin curves and turns toward the light).

Tip: If your outlines are still visible after shading around the eye, try to lighten them up or darken your shading until the outlines disappear.

To shade the brow area, I’m going to again consider the light source in the top right and work out which areas of skin face the light directly and which areas face away. I’m shading the right side of the brow lighter than the left side because it faces the light directly.

You can shade the brow area however you want to define a brow shape that you prefer.

Draw the Eyelashes

Alright, it’s eyelash time. But before we draw any hair, I’d suggest that you blend your shading now because it’ll be quite difficult to blend around all the individual lashes.

To draw eyelashes, we’ll need to sharpen our pencil first. I’m working with a mechanical pencil, so It’s already quite sharp.

Practice drawing eyelash shapes until your strokes become pretty consistent. Your eyelashes can curve more or less. Just make sure the end of the eyelash is tapered. You can use flicking motions to achieve that effect. If you’re struggling with drawing smooth curves, it may help to rotate your sketchbook.

Let’s start at the top eyelid, creating lashes that grow out from the bottom edge.

Tip: Avoid drawing too many lashes that run parallel to each other. If you taper them together, you can create more natural-looking lashes that are less patterned:

There are a few things you can do to make your lashes look more unique and random. Such as vary the length, spacing, or amount they curve.

Continue along until you reach the corner of the eye. Lashes located near the corner of the eye are usually shorter, thinner, and therefore appear lighter. Don’t forget to add some lashes along the other side (far side) of the eyelid too.

Let’s move onto the bottom lid, sprinkling lashes along the ridgeline that we created earlier (Stagger them in a sort of random zig-zag pattern).

I like to draw these lashes much shorter and more spread out than compared to the top set of lashes. You can draw lighter than mine if you want a more subtle appearance.

Again, avoid obvious patterns. You can draw the lashes on their own, join them at the ends or cross them over one another.

You can also vary the hair spacing, length, and thickness.

Don’t forget to draw lashes along the other side (far side) of the eyelid too :)

Draw the Eyebrow

Once you’re satisfied, it’s time to work on the eyebrow. The hair growth pattern might seem confusing, but let’s break it down.

Drawing Eyebrow Hair BreakdownWe can draw a line through the eyebrow to separate it into two zones. I’ve drawn a line from the top right to the far left. This boundary line is different for everyone because there are so many different types of eyebrows.

In zone 1 (the bottom portion), we’re going to draw hairs that point up, and then as we work toward the left, they’ll point more toward the tail end of the eyebrow.

In zone 2 (the top portion), the hairs mostly point in a downward direction toward the tail of the eyebrow.

Where the hairs from both zones meet, I like to taper them together instead of cross them over one another, but you can do whatever you prefer.

Draw a boundary line through the eyebrow to separate it into 2 zones.

Okay, let’s draw a faint boundary line for our eyebrow to separate the 2 zones, using short, disconnected pencil strokes because we don’t want this line to show through in the end.

Then, using light strokes, roughly draw hairs in zone 1 while staying within the boundaries. As you work toward the left, curve, and angle the hairs so they point more toward the tail of your eyebrow. We’re going to blend this out in a second, so it doesn’t have to be perfect.

Then draw a few faint hairs in zone 2 without crossing over into zone 1.

I’m going to lightly blend the eyebrow out using a regular facial tissue wrapped around my finger. Blend from right to left, basically, in the general direction, all the hairs are pointing. After blending, we now have a base layer of cast shadows / subtle hair that we’ll draw on top of.

Now we’re going to draw the final hair which we won’t blend. I’m going to draw them dark, but you can adjust the pressure based on your preference.

As I draw, I’m tapering 2 or more hairs together so they don’t look bushy.

If you find these strokes difficult to draw, try rotating your sketchbook.

You can add some unruly hairs on the far right. I like to draw these ones lightly.

Once you’re done with zone 1, move up to zone 2, drawing hair that points down, toward the left.

Drawing Eyebrow Hair BreakdownAgain, where the hair from both zones meet, I like to taper them instead of crossing them over each other because I think when they cross over each other, it looks messy but feel free to experiment with both.

Try to avoid drawing straight lines and instead curve your strokes even just slightly. Also, try to feather out your pencil strokes along the top of the eyebrow.

Okay, next, we can actually get the eyebrow to look 3D by making specific hairs darker. This could be a whole topic of its own, so let’s keep it simple.

The hair right below zone 2 are covered in shadow because when they meet with the hair above, they curve outward and are therefore facing away from my light source.

Make the eyebrow more 3D by darkening the hairs right below zone 2.

If we shade them darker, we can give the eyebrow more dimension (depth). I’m just going along each and every hair and making them a bit darker.

Now there’s a clear difference in value between the two zones, making the hairs point out toward the viewer instead of appearing flat on the page.

By now, our faint eyebrow outline should no longer be visible. If it is, erase the outline carefully or draw additional hair until the outline disappears.

Let’s go around the edges and add some lighter hair and/or unruly hair. You can draw them all over and spread them out pretty far if you want the eyebrow to look unplucked.

I’m just gonna shade a slight cast shadow right below the eyebrow.

Okay, I think that’s enough for the eyebrow!

Make the Eye Look Wet

To make the eye look wet, we can add water along the bottom of our eyeball.

Grab your pointy solid eraser or kneaded eraser, flatten it, and erase a thin space along the eyeball, where it meets with the bottom eyelid.

If the line of water doesn’t show up well, shade around it slightly. The (increased) contrast will bring it out. Or you can use a white gel pen or correction fluid to introduce a bright white value.

Blend your Eye Drawing

If you’ve already blended your drawing throughout the tutorial or you’re not interested in blending, please skip to the section on how to make the drawing pop.

Shading Tips_Blending_Eliminate Gaps
Check that your shading is as smooth as possible.

Alright, before blending, we need to make sure our shading is as smooth as possible, so that means making sure there are no gaps between our strokes and that any blotchy areas are reduced to the best of our ability.

Before and after blending with a tissue and blending stump.

Blend one section of your eye at a time, using a clean blending stump, tissue paper, q-tip, or fine-haired paintbrush (whatever your preference is).

I like to blend from a light area into a dark area so I can avoid unwanted smear marks.

In large areas of my drawing, I wrapped a tissue around my finger and swiped gently from the lightest to the darkest area. Blend as much as you need to until the drawing becomes nice and smooth.

Be very careful when you blend around detail work like the eyelashes and eyebrows, making sure not to blur/smudge them. A pointy blending tool like a blending stump will work well for getting into tight spaces, blending precisely where you want it to. But you can also use a folded tissue paper:

Carefully blend around eyelashes with a pointy blending tool (I used a folded facial tissue).

As you blend, follow the direction of each eyelash, being careful not to smudge them.

If you’re using a tissue and there’s a tight spot you need to get into, fold your tissue paper using fewer layers, making it tighter, or you can blend the area with your sharpened pencil, basically filling in any white dots or valleys on the paper’s surface.

When the tissue becomes too dirty, fold your tissue again using a clean spot or just rotate it to a cleaner spot.

Tip: You can remove excess graphite by dabbing it with your kneaded putty eraser gently (learn how to make one here). This is how I get rid of blotchy areas to make the drawing look even smoother. Areas that don’t have enough graphite can be filled in using a dirty blending tool (this also blends the drawing at the same time).

Alright, side note! So we covered this earlier, but if you still have a visible outline around your cornea, and you can’t just erase it because it looks weird without the outline, you can make it blend in by shading the skin beyond it just enough to make the outline disappear.

Now the cornea’s outline is no longer visible since it has blended into the background.

Make the Drawing Pop

If your drawing doesn’t pop enough, try cleaning up the brightest parts of each highlight or using a white gel pen/correction fluid to make the highlight a bright white.

You can also shade the darkest areas of your drawing even darker.

Or you can add more detail to the iris to make it stand out more, like the example I showed earlier (In the section called “More Detailed Version of an Iris”).

I’ve also gone along and did more blending to make the drawing even smoother.

Extra Tip

If you want to draw fine wrinkles across the skin like I did here along the top eyelid, pinch your kneaded eraser flat and then press it gently along the eyelid, lifting very tiny amounts of graphite. Space them out somewhat randomly and change the angle.

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If you find yourself stuck on any of the steps in this tutorial, please refer to the video tutorial that goes along with this blog because it goes into way more detail. The video is very long (40 minutes), so feel free to forward it to the spot you need instead of watching from the beginning. I’ve provided you with timestamps below so you can easily and quickly find the section you need 😊.

⏰ Video Timestamps:

00:11 – Tools
00:29 – How to draw an eye from the side CONSTRUCTION
00:57 – Cornea
01:14 – Iris
01:26 – Pupil
01:39 – Eyelids
02:21 – Eyelid Crease
02:52 – Bulging Eye Example
03:23 – Eyebrow Placement
04:48 – Highlights

06:29 – Pupil Shading
06:43 – Iris Shading
10:26 – Iris Version 2 (more detailed vrsn)
12:45 – Eyeball Shading
15:22 – Eyelids
17:51 – Surrounding Skin

20:05 – Eyelashes
22:29 – Lower Lashes
24:27 – Eyebrows
29:24 – Make the Eyebrows 3D
31:08 – Wet Eye Effect
31:59 – Blend

38:54 – Make the Drawing POP!
39:19 – Extra Tip (how to draw fine wrinkles)
39:41 – Slideshow of the ENTIRE Process

I hope this tutorial was helpful! If you have any questions, leave them down below. I hope you guys stay safe and are doing well. Thanks for stopping by!

How Draw a Realistic Eye From the Side Read More »

How to Make a Kneaded Eraser | EASY

How to Make a Kneaded Eraser

This is my favorite type of eraser. It can be molded into any shape to erase even the tiniest detail in a drawing – you just need to dab and lift. No rubbing required.

Kneaded erasers are quite affordable, but since we’re all in Covid-19 lockdown right now, you may not even be able to buy one. So here’s how you can make it yourself, out of tools that you can probably find around your house.

How to Make a DIY Kneaded Eraser Putty At HomeYou can make a kneaded eraser out of pretty much any solid eraser that you have, even the one on the end of a pencil, just by rubbing it on a piece of paper to create crumbs and then kneading the crumbs together into a putty.

Make sure you knead the putty very well until it becomes one single piece that can be molded into different shapes.

But the results will be varied because some erasers just crumble instead of stick together no matter how hard you work it. But don’t worry, I will show you how to fix that!


I tested a total of 10 different erasers and they can all be turned into putty/kneaded erasers, some work better than others, though.

This white Paper Mate eraser (pictured below) was immediately usable after just a few seconds of kneading. It became a perfect eraser putty that held its shape well no matter how I molded it. If you also experience that with your eraser, you’re good to go! You can skip straight to the section titled “Extra Tips for Making a Kneaded Eraser”. If that’s not your experience, please continue reading…

How to Make a DIY Kneaded Eraser Putty At Home


How to Make Eraser Putty from a Super Crumbly Eraser

If your eraser is super crumbly no matter how much you knead the crumbs together, we can still make it work. We just need to add a few more steps to the process.

How to fix a crumbly eraser All you have to do is add something sticky to make the crumbs stay together. The best way to do this is to rub your eraser along the sticky side of masking tape, painter’s tape, or the sticky part of a sticky note.

Just rub your eraser along the sticky side until the sticky stuff or adhesive comes off and is incorporated into the eraser crumbs. This works well with tape that isn’t too sticky. Masking tape works perfectly. I wouldn’t use duct tape for this.

If the consistency is way too sticky for your liking, you can always add some dry eraser crumbs until the consistency is just right for you. A test that I like to do, is to see if I can easily roll the putty to a point and also flatten it down without it changing shape or crumbling.

Incorporating dry eraser crumbs into a sticky piece of putty

If you don’t have any tape, just go around the house looking for stickers that are easy to peel off like barcodes or labels that you don’t need. Some water bottles will have adhesive under the label!

I would not recommend using liquid school glue because once the glue dries, the eraser becomes totally solid and unusable. Glue sticks on the other hand will work okay, but it’s not as sticky as I’d like it to be.


If your crumbs DO stick together when you work them between your fingers, but the putty isn’t quite soft enough for your preference or it’s a little crumbly, you can either…

Method #1:

Use tape adhesive to make it softer.

Just rub your eraser along the adhesive a few times and then gather the softer putty and mix it with the hard or crumbly one.

Keep doing this until it’s soft enough for you. Here’s a comparison between a piece of putty before and after adding the adhesive. As you can see, it fixed our crumbly issue and it’s more pliable and more putty-like now.


Method #2:

The other solution is to try erasing a bunch of pencil scribble marks and then kneading your eraser to incorporate that graphite into it.

After a while, this will help the putty become softer, more pliable, and more effective at erasing.

It’s normal for the putty to become grey, as it takes on the color of the graphite particles. This is also how you can break in a brand new store-bought kneaded eraser.


Now, every eraser and adhesive will give you different results, so experiment with your own recipe to come up with something that works for you. Keep in mind that the more you erase with your newly made putty, the more effective and pliable it will become.


I prefer a fairly sticky eraser because it can easily pick up graphite with just the slightest touch, so I can work on very detailed areas of a drawing. Keep tweaking your eraser recipe and testing how well it can erase until you’re satisfied. Do keep in mind that some erasers work a lot better than others at picking up graphite. So I’d recommend trying this with a few different types of erasers.


What type of Solid Eraser Works Best?

I was able to convert ALL the erasers that I tested into actual working kneadable erasers.

Some worked perfectly right after I kneaded them, others required different amounts of adhesive added to them because they were either not soft enough, not sticky enough, or they were too crumbly to begin with.

Even extremely crumbly erasers like the Pink Pearl can be converted into a kneadable eraser.

The ones that I found worked best were these:

In putty form, they’re able to hold their shape when molded and pick up graphite easily using the dabbing technique.


Here are my RESULTS with each eraser that I tested:

Notes: I judge how good each eraser is by how well it erases (how many dabs it takes to erase something), how well it holds its shape when I mold it/when I use it to erase something. Erasers ranked as mediocre are still viable, they’re just less effective to work with (eg: it may require more effort to erase with)

1. Sakura Latex-Free, Non-PVC Eraser
Quick to knead. Doesn’t require adhesive. Makes a great kneaded eraser.

2. PaperMate PVC-Free Eraser
Quick to knead. Doesn’t need any adhesive. Makes a great kneaded eraser.

3. Tombow Mono Plastic Eraser
Quick to knead. Somewhat crumbly. Needs some adhesive or graphite to soften it up. Makes a great kneaded eraser. Will become stiff when it cools back down from the warmth of your fingers, so it requires kneading before use. You can use this to your advantage, though – using it as both a solid eraser and putty eraser. It can hold its shape extremely well for erasing the tiniest areas.

4. Pentel Hi-Polymer Eraser
Quick to knead. Somewhat crumbly putty. Needs some adhesive to fix crumbliness. Makes a good kneaded eraser.

5. Dixon HB Pencil from dollarstore, latex-free
Takes some effort to knead. Not crumbly, but feels drier than all the solid erasers listed above. Works better without adhesive, but it is quite stiff. Makes a good kneaded eraser after you mix it with some graphite.

6. Random white eraser from an old pencil case.
I probably haven’t used it in like 12 years (It was so stiff that it didn’t even feel like rubber. It still worked anyway. I was able to quickly form it into a putty without any adhesive. Makes a good kneaded eraser.

7 & 8. Paw Patrol Erasers from dollarstore
Quick to knead. Crumbly putty. Needs some adhesive. Makes a good kneaded eraser.

9. PaperMate Pink Pearl Latex/PVC-Free Eraser
Extremely crumbly. Needs a lot of adhesive to become putty. Makes a mediocre kneaded eraser because I need to dab many times to erase.

10. Studio HB Pencil from the dollar store
Extremely crumbly. Needs a lot of adhesive to become putty. Makes a mediocre kneaded eraser because it requires so much adhesive, that it becomes difficult to mold into certain shapes without sticking to my fingers. If you don’t need it to erase hairline marks, it will do a good job.


Extra Tips for Making a Kneaded Eraser

Tip #1:

As you erase more and more (incorporate more graphite into your putty), it will become softer and more effective at erasing. That’s a good way to soften a stiff piece of putty without having to add any adhesive. It’s also a good way to break in a brand new store-bought kneaded eraser. It’s normal for the putty to turn grey, as it takes on the color of the graphite particles.


Tip #2:

The more eraser crumbs you make, the bigger your eraser will be, of course, but it’ll take hours and a lot of hard work to turn a large eraser like this into a big pile of crumbs. A safe way you can speed up the process is by using a more textured surface to rub your eraser on. Here, I’m using the side of my textured mechanical pencil:

I’ve been asked many times if a cheese grater can be used. While you can use one, it can be very dangerous, so I don’t recommend that.

And that’s how you can make a kneaded eraser at home! Which by the way is my favorite type of eraser. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. If ya did, please share it with your friends and leave a comment down below to let me know your results!


How to Make a Kneaded Eraser | EASY Read More »

Ep 2: How to Fix Asymmetrical Eyes – Fix My Drawing Series

Hey! You’re reading episode 2 of the “Fix my Drawing” series, where I take common drawing mistakes and walk through possible solutions with you.

In this episode, let’s look at how to fix eyes that were not drawn symmetrically, as suggested by Paulo Austria on Youtube.

Let’s hop right in!


How to Fix Eyes that were not Drawn Symmetrically

The first step is to pick your favorite eye so we can use it as a baseline. My favorite is the left eye, so I will be making changes to the right eye.

To fix this asymmetrical drawing, we’ll need a long straight object. You can use a pencil, a ruler or even another piece of paper.


Pencil Method

Let’s try doing it with a pencil first. This is the tool I recommend out of all 3 because I think it will help you develop your “seeing” skills a lot faster, but it may take a bit of practice to get a hang of.

The idea is to hold the pencil parallel to the paper’s edge. Hover your pencil in front of the drawing to see which areas of the drawing are not aligned with one another. Once we do this, mistakes will immediately become apparent.

For example, we can clearly see that the outer corner of each eye are not aligned with each other and we can see exactly how much we need to move it up or down so that they will match.

Move your pencil up and down along your drawing to check the horizontal alignment of other areas like the eyelid crease for example. It’s important when you’re doing this to make sure the pencil remains level or parallel to the paper’s edge. This is assuming that your subject is drawn straight on instead of at an angle.

Note: If your subject is drawn at an angle, you’ll need to hold your pencil at an angle too. In this case, it will be helpful to draw an actual reference line across the drawing, so you can keep your measurements consistent as you work.

Here we can see just how much higher the left eyelid crease is than compared to the one on the right (about 2mm apart). As you go along, checking the horizontal alignment of your drawing, make the appropriate changes.


It will take some practice to get used to using your pencil in this way. I currently have this drawing laid out flat on my desk because it’s the most comfortable way for me to draw while recording. But I recommend doing this with your drawing in an upright position so you can hold your arm out straight in front of you at eye level.

You can also hold the pencil vertically to check the vertical alignment of the different areas within your drawing.

Let’s switch back to the overhead view…

Again, hold your pencil as perfectly vertical as you can, so that your measurements are accurate. You can use the edge of your paper as a reference.

For this example, I’m checking to see where each eyebrow aligns with the eye below it. You can see that the left eyebrow extends about 3mm out from the corner of the eye.

But on the right, the eyebrow needs to be drawn much wider in order to match the other one:

Make the appropriate changes to your drawing as you go along, checking and re-checking the horizontal and vertical alignment of the various elements that make up your drawing.

You can measure and compare down to the tiniest detail if you want to improve your drawing symmetry, accuracy and “seeing” skills.


Ruler Method

You can also do this with a ruler. The ruler’s edge can be aligned directly to the edge of your paper for a more accurate placement.

A transparent one is extra helpful, allowing you to still see the entire drawing as you move the ruler up and down or right and left.


Paper Method

Another option is to use another piece of paper. A big piece will provide you with the highest level of accuracy because once you align its edge to your sketchbook, you’ll have a close to perfect horizontal or vertical line across the drawing.

If you want to watch all the changes drawn step by step, please watch the video version of this blog article: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQ2icsQkdFI


So far, I’ve only talked about how to fix a problem that has already happened. To prevent this from happening in the first place, make measurements and comparisons before drawing the second eye. It’s also important to double and triple check your work:


I hope this episode was helpful!

Let me know what topic you’d like to see next using the hashtag #fixMyDrawing. You can also send me a copy of the specific drawing problem you’re currently struggling with and we’ll tackle it step by step.




Ep 2: How to Fix Asymmetrical Eyes – Fix My Drawing Series Read More »

Ep 1: Drawing Masculine VS. Feminine Features – Fix My Drawing Series

Hey! You’re reading episode 1 of the “Fix my Drawing” series, where I take common drawing mistakes and walk through possible solutions with you.

How to fix a drawing that looks too feminine femaleIf you’ve ever tried to draw a male, but he ended up looking more like a female instead… or the other way around, don’t trash your drawing because there’s always a way to fix it!

Let’s go step by step and pinpoint which facial features make a drawing look more masculine or feminine. I have a drawing of a female face here that I’m going to gradually change into a masculine one, one facial feature at a time, so that if you’re working on a drawing right now, you can easily pinpoint which changes you want to apply to your own drawing.

This blog will be broken into 2 sections:

  1. Conversion of female to male
  2. Conversion of male to female

If you want to watch the narrated video version of this blog, click here to you to watch it on Youtube.

Let’s get started!


Male to Female Drawing


For the purpose of this tutorial, I’m going to keep my character bald, so you can see how powerful it is when you apply changes to only the facial features. It’s easy to plop a stereotypical feminine hairstyle on a drawing and call it a female, but that’s sort of a lazy approach that we don’t want to depend on.


Anyway, let’s move onto the first facial feature… the eyebrows. I’ll try to exaggerate the masculine features, so let’s create super thick eyebrows that are closer to the eyes and are less curved.

The function of eyebrows are to block sweat from entering the eyes, and men usually have larger, bushier eyebrows than women. You can add some additional stray eyebrow hairs around the eyebrow as well.



As you can see, her eyes are outlined very thickly to accentuate or bring attention to her eyelashes.

When drawing males, I like to put less emphasis on the outline of the eye so it doesn’t look like he’s wearing eye makeup. If your eyes are drawn very thick and you don’t want to completely redraw them, simply make your outlines thinner.

If that doesn’t do it for you, try making his eyes more narrow by erasing just the eyelids and bringing them closer together.

Along with narrowed eyes, I’ve also given him hooded eyelids. You can learn how to draw hooded eyelids in my eye tutorial – that’s where the skin below the brow bone droops down and folds over the eyelid crease. That part is optional of course, but I think it adds to his masculinity because it can make the brow bone look more prominent.

The more testosterone a male has, the stronger his bone structure. So areas such as the brow, nose, jawline, and chin will all be larger in size.


Let’s work on the nose next. I’ll darken the bridge of the nose to make it look taller and chiseled. I like to give the bridge bone a wider and more distinct shape. Instead of a smooth outline for the bridge, I’m introducing angles. You can make the cartilage around the nose tip more apparent by outlining the shape, giving it a shadow.

Men have larger noses, in general, to provide more oxygen to the muscles, so let’s make the nostrils larger. Don’t forget to make the sides of the nose wider as well (you can also make them more angular).


Brow Bone

Next, let’s make his brow bone stronger, and by that, I mean, make it stick out more. To do that, we’ll need to add some shadows around it so it no longer looks flat. If your light source comes from above your character, you can add a shadow under the eyebrow. Feel free to adjust the shadow length and darkness to your liking. The darker you shade, the deeper the eyes will sink in and the more prominent the brow bone will appear.

If you have light coming from the front of your character’s face, shade the sides of the head and forehead to help bring out that protruding brow bone.



Let’s work on the lower half of the face now.

Okay, so large, full lips can indicate high levels of estrogen in females, so I’m making them narrower and less plump-looking. Something very easy that you can do to make lips look less plump is reducing the thickness or darkness of the lip outline.


Chin and Jaw

Moving on to the chin…

We can make the chin wider, longer or more angular. Keep in mind that a slight change can make a very big difference!

I’m making mine slightly wider and more angular.

One of the most effective things you can do to make a character look more masculine is to widen the jaw and make it more angular as well.

Body fat is also linked to testosterone, the primary male sex hormone…

The more testosterone your character has, the less fat tissue you might want to give him. Adjust the level of fat tissue based on your preference.

Now there’s only so much fat you can trim when drawing the outline of the face. So to reduce fat further, try to add some shading around the chin, mouth and/or cheeks to make them appear hollow. Some light shading may be all that you need.



The last area to work on is the neck. Here we have a narrow, slender neck. You can see that it’s currently vertically aligned with the outside corner of the eye.

I’m going to align it with the outside of the eyebrow instead, making the neck thicker, more muscular. You can add some more muscle along the traps and shoulders by drawing them higher.

To add to his muscularity, I’m going to further define his neck muscles and lower the amount of fat tissue by darkening the shadows of the neck. Let’s draw an adam’s apple too!


Less Masculine Features

RFA How to fix a drawing that looks too MasculineA small note I want to add is that not everything has to be so squarish and angular. It really depends on what look you’re going for. For example, the chin could be rounded, giving the face a softer presence.

Same thing with the jawline.

If you’re going for a less masculine look for your character, soften up some of the harsh angles. You can also make the eyebrows smaller, soften up the nose bridge or reduce some of the shadows to indicate a higher level of body fat.

Just play around with each feature until you get a balance that you prefer


Male to Female Drawing

Now that we’ve covered how to fix a drawing that looks too feminine, let’s see how we can do the opposite. Let’s say you’ve drawn a character who’s supposed to be female, but looks more like a male instead.


I’m going to start with the nose this time. Let’s make it more narrow and smoothen out the outline of the nose bridge (reduce sharp angles), which will make the overall nose appear softer. You can also reduce the nostril size as well.


Let’s make the eyebrows more narrow and curvy. You can also play with the eyebrow height, drawing them higher to indicate higher levels of estrogen.


The average female has quite a bit of facial fat tissue, so let’s get rid of the shadows that make the cheeks look hollowed out.

Our character is starting to look quite androgynous at this point. Let’s see how many facial features we need to change before we tip the scale!



For females, I like to draw big lips and shade/outline the rim pretty dark so they appear plump and are more apparent. But of course, you can draw a female with narrow lips that are not at all plump.


Let’s make the neck look less muscular by making it more narrow. If you’re not sure how narrow to draw it, use the eye as a reference point. I’m aligning the neck to the end of the eye vertically.

Let’s lighten up the shadows of the neck to give the appearance of added fat tissue, making it look soft and supple. We’ll need to get rid of the adam’s apple as well.



Okay, for the jawline, I’m going to make it less wide and less angular. I’m trying to soften up all the features. If your character’s jawline and chin are still too strong, try making it even more narrow.


This shadow around the forehead makes her brow bone look very strong, so I’m going to erase these completely.



The shadows under her eyebrows make her eyes look deep-set. There’s nothing wrong with that, but the darker these shadows are, the stronger her brow bone will appear, which is a very strong masculine feature. Once I erase the shadow, you can see how much softer the eye area will look:

Now that the shadow is gone, the brow bone looks less prominent.


Let’s enlarge those eyes.

For a line drawing like this, I like to make the outline around the top lid quite think so it looks like she has some eye makeup on.


One last thing…

Women generally have more body fat than men, but if you want to make the face look slim, try shading around the cheeks very lightly and/or around the chin.


Here’s a look at the total transformation:

How to fix a drawing that looks too masculineI hope you found this episode helpful! If you want me to address a common drawing problem that you have in a future episode, please let me know down below in the comment section. To watch this tutorial on Youtube, please click here.



Ep 1: Drawing Masculine VS. Feminine Features – Fix My Drawing Series Read More »

Pencil Shading Techniques Intro

Pencil-Shading-Techniques-Intro-All ExamplesI’ve always found shading to be the quickest way to add realism and depth to my drawings, be it portraits, concept sketches or even a quick doodle.

In this tutorial, I want to share with you 4 simple shading techniques that can help you achieve realistic textures and effects that will enhance your drawings and bring them to the next level.

Table of Contents:
4 Shading Techniques and How to Use Them
Combine Shading Techniques
Practice Shading Techniques

4 Shading Techniques and How to Use Them

Pencil Shading Techniques Intro 11These techniques may look super simple, but that’s the beauty of it. Let’s see how they can be applied and how they can transform a drawing :)


This is done by drawing lines that run in parallel or side-by-side. Since the lines are uniformly patterned, it works very well for shading things like wood grain, brushed metals and fingernails, just to name a few. A sharp pencil works great for conveying metallic textures, while a blunt pencil can help you achieve smoother strokes that will also be more easy to blend.

Hatching Example_Sharp vs Dull PencilBe careful when using this shading technique on round objects. If the strokes are not blended together well enough, it can make a round drawing appear flat. Here’s an example:

Example of Bad Hatching Shading Technique_Flat ShadingThe straight lines take away from the drawing, making the viewer perceive the object as flat, instead of 3D.

Cross Hatching

This is where you draw lines that cross right through each other. They can go in any direction.

Shading techniques crosshatching example

It’s great for creating textures such as certain fabrics (predictable patterns) or even fine lines on the skin (random patterns).


Circulism Shading Technique ExampleThis shading technique consists of many overlapping circular shapes. I use it frequently to shade realistic skin. It works well for conveying soft or fuzzy surfaces. The more you overlap the circles, the smoother the texture.

The tricky part is trying to control pencil pressure so each circle is similar in value.

Contour Shading

This is where you create lines that follow the shape of the subject you’re trying to represent. Contour lines can go in any direction.

They’re great for shading things that already display lines running along the surface, no matter how subtle. For example apples, onions, and lips. In this example, the lines also double as lip wrinkles too.

Pencil Shading Techniques

For each shading technique, the more densely you shade, the smoother the shading will appear, and the harder you press down on your pencil, the darker your shading will appear, allowing you to achieve a sense of visual depth.

Combine Shading Techniques

All of these shading techniques can be used in combination wherever you see fit. I used all 4 to shade this wrinkly hand. The combination of these techniques helped me achieve various textures commonly seen in wrinkled skin.

Starting with just the outline of a hand, I applied circulism as a base layer to give it a consistent texture all throughout – A texture that resembles subtle fine lines on the skin.

Hatching and contouring were used to show stretched skin that wraps around/across the shape of the hand.

Examples of hatching and contour shading

Hatching also works very well for shading nails, as mentioned earlier. Especially nails that have prominent stripey patterns.

Example of cross hatchingCross-hatching was used very minimally to create realistic wrinkle patterns around the knuckles where the skin is thick. I varied my pressure to make some lines darker than others just to make it look more random and realistic.

You don’t have to stick to these 4 shading techniques exclusively because there are many others you can use, or just make up your own to create the texture and look that you want for your drawing. Here are a few examples:

Pencil Shading Techniques

Practice Shading Techniques!

Here are some fun exercises you can do to practice. I’ve attached a free printout at the bottom of this article for you to use.

Exercise #1:

Pencil Shading TechniquesDraw a row of squares or rectangles and shade them from left to right using your shading technique of choice. Remember that the more pressure you apply, the darker your shading will be and the more densely you shade, the smoother it’ll be.

Exercise #2:

Shading Common ObjectsSketch a variety of common objects and shade them in using shading techniques that best describe the texture.

For example, I want to shade the toy horse above so it looks wooden. The hatching technique looks similar to wood grain, especially the lines vary in darkness:

Shading Techniques Practice_Hatching Rocking HorseThe burlap sack below is made of thickly weaved material. Cross-hatching would work for this one, but I wanna make the bag appear more 3D, so I’m using a combination of cross-hatching and contouring called cross-contouring. In shadow areas, I apply more pressure on the pencil, creating darker lines.

Shading Techniques Practice_Cross Contouring Burlap Sack 2

Teddy bears are usually soft and fuzzy. Do you remember which of the 4 shading techniques creates a soft and fuzzy texture?

If you guessed circulism, you’re right!

The more circles I draw, the softer the texture becomes…

Shading Techniques Practice_Circulism Teddy Bear

To make your shading look even softer, use a blunt pencil and/or blend the shading out with a blending tool such as a tissue, for example. Feel free to experiment with a different shading technique to see how it changes the look and feel of your subject!

You can combine shading techniques or make up your very own:

Pencil Shading Techniques

Here are a few objects you can use for practice. For each one, sketch it out and choose one or several shading techniques that will best describe the texture. For example, the wooden toy could be a mixture of hatching, contouring, and dashes.

Click here to download the image above (link will open in a new tab).

The texture that you choose to give each object is completely up to you. Stretch your creative muscles and have some fun with it! Feel free to shade outside of the lines or get rid of the outlines altogether.

Pencil Shading Techniques

You can practice with the shading techniques introduced in this tutorial, or create your very own :)

I hope you found this tutorial helpful. If you liked it, please share it and leave a comment down below! Let me know if you have any suggestions for future tutorials!

To view this tutorial in more depth, please watch the fully narrated video on Youtube!

To learn more shading basics, please visit: How to Shade for Complete Beginners.

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