Have you ever watched someone who is really good create a drawing? Especially if he or she is drawing a portrait of someone's face? When an artist who has real talent draws faces realistically, he makes it look so natural and almost effortless.
But that's just how it looks on the surface. Most portrait artists use a structured process to draw faces step by step. There's a whole lot going on behind that pencil that you and I, as spectators, are not even aware of. And it's not just spontaneous inspiration. It's training and practice that makes it look so effortless.
So even though drawing faces realistically does take some talent, it's mostly based on educational instruction and I'd like to share some of that instruction with you. Read on for the “secrets” of how to draw faces step by step.
Decide which shape best illustrated the face. Is it a circle, triangle, rectangle, oval, or square. Draw the outline of the face and hairline with this in mind. Then, either imagine in your mind or draw on the paper, two guidelines, one straight down the middle, and one directly across the middle, creating four equal parts of the face. This will help you keep the proportions of the face.
Without you know how to follow a step by step structure to draw faces this is usually the part where most people will get totally lost. Even if it seems wrong to you at first, the eyes should be placed on the middle, horizontal guide line.
Then, draw a light sketch of the nose directly in the middle between the eyes, about half-way down from the middle horizontal line, creating an imaginary upside down triangle between the eyes and nose.
Place a short, straight horizontal line under the nose, halfway down, for the mouth. Then add the ears, making the top of the ear line up with the eyes. So far, you are just getting a very light outline sketch.
At this point you can start adding some detail to the eyes and mouth, eyelids, eyebrows, and lips. It is best to be working from a photograph as your model when you are a beginner. Look closely at the iris of the eye and use small, fine lines to create the variations both there, and in the hairs and textures of lips and folds of skin around the eyes.
Try to keep the outer edges of the mouth in line with the center of the eyes. Draw the upper lip first and then each tooth. Finally, sketch in the lower lip. Notice the many small lines in the lips. They are not smooth.
Practice shadowing at this point. Shadow under the nose, at the top of and inside the ears, under the mouth, between the eyes, etc. Do not go crazy, but at the same time, do not be afraid to be bold.
The more you practice, the more your drawings will begin to look more and more like the face you're drawing. So once you get those basic facial features down, it'll be time to work on adding some hair, and creating a three dimensional portrait through shading and light and dark.
Do not be discouraged if your first attempt at drawing a face realistically falls short. In fact, it might not look much like anyone at all. Just schedule time to keep working at it.
You can get an excellent home study course with detailed step by step instruction and practice exercises right on your computer, at a fraction of the cost of in-studio drawing lessons .