how to draw faces

How to Draw Faces – Drawing Turorials and Coloring Tips

Are you a budding artist or someone who simply loves to doodle? Have you ever wondered how to draw faces with precision and skill? Drawing a face may seem daunting at first, but with the right techniques and guidance, you can create stunning portraits that capture the essence of the subject.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced artist looking to refine your skills, this article will provide you with step-by-step tutorials, tips, and tricks to help you master the art of drawing faces. From understanding the proportions of facial features to adding realism and detail, we’ll cover everything you need to know to create lifelike portraits.

But before we dive into the details, let’s start with the basics. What is the key to capturing the true likeness of a face? Is it the shape of the eyes or the angle of the nose? Join us as we unravel the secrets of drawing faces and discover the essential elements that make a portrait come to life.

Key Takeaways:

  • Master the basic facial proportions to create a solid foundation for your drawings.
  • Use shading techniques to add depth and dimension to your portraits.
  • Experiment with different facial expressions to bring your drawings to life.
  • Explore the world of color to add a new dimension to your portraits.
  • Practice regularly and don’t be afraid to make mistakes!

The Basics of Drawing a Face

When it comes to drawing a face, understanding the basic steps is crucial. Whether you’re a beginner or looking to improve your skills, follow these step-by-step tutorials to master the art of drawing faces. In this section, we will cover shading techniques and provide beginner art tutorials to help you get started.

Step 1: Outlining the Face

To begin, lightly sketch an oval shape to represent the face. This will serve as a guide for placing the facial features. Divide the oval in half vertically and horizontally using light lines, creating guidelines for the eyes, nose, and mouth.

Step 2: Placing the Features

Next, draw symmetrical eyes along the top horizontal guideline. Add lines for the nose and mouth, aligning them with the vertical guidelines. Develop the eyebrows and include pupils and eyelids in the eyes. To add depth and dimension to the face, shade under the eyes.

Step 3: Completing the Structure

Once the features are in place, include the ears, hair, and neck to complete the overall structure of the face. Ensure that the proportions are accurate and the features are aligned properly. Lastly, erase any unnecessary guidelines to clean up the drawing.

Remember, practice is key when it comes to drawing faces. With each attempt, you’ll improve your skills and gain a better understanding of shading techniques and creating realistic portraits. Embrace the learning process and enjoy the journey!

Benefits Steps Tips
Improves artistic skills 1. Outline the face – Use light, gentle strokes for the initial sketch
Enhances understanding of facial proportions 2. Place the features – Ensure symmetry when drawing the eyes
Develops shading techniques 3. Complete the structure – Pay attention to light and shadow for realistic effects

By following these step-by-step tutorials, practicing shading techniques, and exploring beginner art tutorials, you’ll be well on your way to mastering the art of drawing faces. Stay patient, experiment, and most importantly, have fun with your artistic journey!

Drawing Facial Features

When it comes to creating realistic portraits, understanding the proportions and shapes of facial features is essential. Each feature contributes to the overall likeness and expression of the subject. Let’s explore the key elements of drawing facial features:

The Nose

The nose, considered the least complicated feature, can be drawn in various angles, such as a straight-on or profile view. Begin by sketching a basic line drawing representing the nose’s shape. As you develop the drawing, add lights and darks to create dimension and depth.

The Mouth

The mouth can be a challenging feature to conquer, but by breaking it down into simple steps, you can achieve realistic lips. Consider the differences between male and female lips, such as thickness, shape, and overall structure. Pay close attention to the nuances that make each mouth unique.

The Eyes

Eyes are often considered the windows to the soul, and capturing their essence is crucial for realistic face drawing. Include the iris, pupil, and eyelashes to bring the eyes to life. Take time to study the anatomy of the eye and practice drawing different eye shapes and expressions to develop a variety of realistic portrayals.

facial proportions guide

Mastering these fundamental facial features will lay the foundation for creating realistic portraits and bring your art to life.

Drawing Hair

When it comes to creating realistic portraits, drawing hair plays a crucial role in capturing the overall look and feel of the face. Whether you aim for straight, curly, or wavy hair, there are various techniques you can employ to bring your hair drawings to life.

Before diving into the details of hair drawing, start by sketching the basic shape of the head. This provides the foundation for the hair and ensures proper proportions. Once the head shape is in place, you can begin adding strands of hair to create volume and dimension. Experiment with different types of lines to convey the texture and style of the hair.

Shading is another important aspect of drawing hair. It adds depth and realism to your artwork. Use varying degrees of shading to create highlights, shadows, and mid-tones, which will enhance the three-dimensional effect of the hair. Play with different shading techniques like hatching, cross-hatching, or stippling to achieve the desired texture.

hair drawing techniques

The placement of the hair in a portrait can greatly impact the composition and overall visual appeal. Consider the natural flow and direction of the hair, taking into account factors such as hair parting, bangs, and the position of the head.

Remember, hair can be a focal point in a portrait, so take your time and pay attention to the details. A well-executed hair drawing can bring your artwork to a whole new level of realism and aesthetic appeal.

Here’s a table summarizing some essential hair drawing techniques and coloring tips:

Technique Description
Strand by strand Draw individual strands of hair, following the natural direction and flow.
Texture lines Use different types of lines (curved, zigzag, wavy) to depict different hair textures.
Layering Add layers of hair to create depth and volume.
Highlights and shadows Use shading techniques to indicate highlights and shadows within the hair.
Coloring Experiment with colored pencils or other coloring mediums to add vibrancy and realism to your hair drawing.

With these techniques and tips in mind, you can enhance the visual impact of your portraits by mastering the art of drawing hair. Practice and experiment to find your own unique style and bring your artistic vision to life.

Putting it All Together

Now that you’ve mastered the art of drawing individual facial features, it’s time to bring it all together and create a complete portrait. By using the guidelines for facial proportions that you’ve learned, you can ensure that everything is properly placed and proportional within your artwork. Follow these step-by-step tips to create a stunning portrait:

  1. Start by drawing the shape of the head using the oval technique. Remember to consider the individual’s specific facial structure, such as a prominent jawline or a more rounded face.
  2. Add the eyes, nose, and mouth. Use your knowledge of facial proportions to accurately position these features. Pay attention to details like the shape of the eyebrows, as they can greatly influence the overall expression of the face.
  3. Focus on the small nuances and intricacies of the face. Look for areas where the skin may have value variations, such as the shadow under the cheekbones or the highlights on the forehead. These details will help make your portrait more lifelike.
  4. Don’t forget to add shading and texture to your drawing. Use various drawing techniques, such as hatching or cross-hatching, to create depth and dimension. Experiment with different levels of pressure on your pencil to achieve the desired effects.
  5. Take your time and be patient. Drawing a portrait is a labor of love, and the more effort you put into it, the more rewarding the final result will be.


“A portrait is not just a likeness; it captures the essence and personality of the subject. Pay attention to both the physical features and the emotions they convey.”

portrait drawing tips

By following these portrait drawing tips and employing various drawing techniques, you can create compelling and realistic portraits that truly capture the essence of your subject. Remember to practice regularly, study different facial structures, and explore your own unique artistic style. With dedication and perseverance, your portrait drawing skills will continue to improve over time.

Adding Realism and Detail

To make your portrait more realistic, it’s essential to pay attention to the details and employ shading techniques and texture. By using different values of graphite or colored pencils, you can create the play of light and shadow, giving your artwork depth and dimension. To achieve a seamless transition between tones, consider blending them smoothly with a tortillon or stump. It’s crucial to observe the shape of the face and the contours of the features, as they contribute to the overall realism. Additionally, adding highlights and reflections adds further depth and dimension to your portrait. Don’t overlook the significance of the small details, such as the texture of the skin, the reflection in the eyes, and even the strands of hair. Taking your time to closely observe your subject will allow you to capture all these important intricacies.

shading techniques

Example of Shading Techniques:

Shading Technique Description
Hatching Using parallel lines to create shading and texture
Cross-Hatching Adding intersecting lines to build up value and form
Smudging Blending shades together with a soft tool, such as a tortillon or stump, for a smoother transition
Stippling Creating shading effects with tiny dots or specks

“Adding realistic shading and detail is like adding life to a portrait. It’s those subtle nuances that can truly bring your artwork to a whole new level of realism.” – [Author Name]

By employing shading techniques and paying attention to the finer details, you can elevate your portrait to a new level of realism. Remember to practice and experiment with different shading methods to find the ones that work best for your style. With patience and dedication, you’ll be able to create stunning portraits that capture the essence and beauty of the human face.

Tips for Drawing Different Expressions

Drawing different expressions is an art form that adds life and personality to your portraits. By experimenting with various techniques, you can effectively convey a range of emotions through facial features. Here are some tips to help you master the art of portraying different expressions:

  1. Experiment with eyebrow positions: The position of the eyebrows plays a significant role in expressing various emotions. Raised eyebrows can communicate surprise or curiosity, while furrowed eyebrows can convey anger or concentration.
  2. Explore mouth shapes: The shape of the mouth can denote different feelings. An open mouth can indicate joy, while a closed mouth can convey sadness or determination. Pay attention to the lip curvature and tension when portraying different expressions.
  3. Focus on eye expressions: The eyes are often described as the windows to the soul. They can express a wide range of emotions, from happiness to sadness to anger. Pay attention to the positioning of the eyelids, the size of the pupils, and the direction of the gaze to capture the desired expression.
  4. Notice subtle changes: Facial expressions are nuanced, and even the smallest details can make a significant difference in capturing the intended emotion. Look for wrinkles, tension lines, or slight changes in the shape of the features that are characteristic of the specific expression you want to depict.
  5. Practice, practice, practice: Drawing expressions is a skill that improves with practice. Set aside time to sketch different expressions regularly. Observe people around you and try to capture their emotions in your drawings. The more you practice, the more proficient you will become in capturing authentic and evocative expressions.

Remember, the key to mastering facial expressions lies in careful observation and practice. By honing your drawing techniques and paying attention to the subtleties of facial features, you can breathe life into your portraits and evoke powerful emotions. Keep experimenting and pushing the boundaries of your artistic abilities to create truly compelling artwork.

drawing techniques

Expression Facial Characteristics
Surprise Raised eyebrows
Wide-open eyes
Open mouth
Anger Furrowed eyebrows
Narrowed eyes
Tense lips
Sadness Drooping eyebrows
Downcast eyes
Curved, downturned mouth
Joy Raised cheeks
Smiling eyes
Open, upturned mouth
Fear Wide, rounded eyes
Raised eyebrows
Tense mouth

Using Color in Portrait Drawing

While drawing faces traditionally involves using graphite pencils or charcoal, adding color to your portrait can give it a new dimension. Experimenting with different color mediums allows you to bring life and vibrancy to your artwork.

Colored pencils, pastels, and watercolor are popular choices for adding color to portraits. These mediums offer a range of possibilities, allowing you to achieve various effects and styles. For example, colored pencils provide control and precision, while pastels offer a soft and blended appearance.

When incorporating color into your portrait, consider the color theory for artists. Understanding how colors interact and complement each other can help you create visually striking artwork. Pay attention to color temperature and value variations in the skin, eyes, hair, and lips. By using complementary colors, you can create contrast and depth in your portrait.

Don’t be afraid to mix and blend colors to achieve the desired effect. Layering different hues can add richness and complexity to your artwork. Remember to experiment with various color techniques to find your own unique style and discover the possibilities that color brings to your portraits.

“Color is a power which directly influences the soul.” – Wassily Kandinsky

Coloring Tips:

  • Start with a light hand and build layers of color gradually.
  • Blend colors seamlessly to create smooth transitions and gradients.
  • Consider the lighting and mood of your portrait when choosing your color palette.
  • Use highlights and shadows to add depth and dimension to your artwork.
  • Experiment with different color combinations to create dynamic and visually engaging portraits.

To illustrate the impact of color in portrait drawing, take a look at the example below:

Colorful portrait drawing

Black and White Portrait Colorful Portrait
A grayscale portrait drawing that focuses on shading and textures. A vibrant portrait drawing that incorporates a range of colors to enhance the features and bring a sense of life to the artwork.

Adding color to your portrait drawing opens up a world of creative possibilities. Embrace the challenge and explore the exciting realm of color in your artwork.


Drawing faces is a challenging yet rewarding skill that can be mastered with practice, patience, and a passion for art. By understanding the basic facial proportions and features, you can lay a strong foundation for creating realistic portraits.

One key tip is to experiment with shading, texture, and color to add depth and realism to your drawings. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, as they can lead to valuable learning experiences. Continual practice and refinement of your technique will help you improve your skills over time.

Remember, every face is unique, and embracing the imperfections is what will make your artwork stand out. Let your creativity shine through as you capture the essence of your subjects in your drawings.

With dedication and commitment to honing your craft, you have the potential to become a skilled face artist. Explore various art tutorials and drawing tips to broaden your knowledge, and continue to push yourself outside of your comfort zone. Good luck on your artistic journey!


What are some basic tips for drawing a face?

Start with a light outline, divide the oval shape, add guidelines for features, develop the eyebrows and eyes, and finish with additional details.

How do I draw realistic facial features?

Understand the proportions and shapes of each feature, practice drawing different eye shapes and expressions, and study the anatomy of the nose and mouth.

What are some techniques for drawing hair?

Start with the basic shape of the head, add strands of hair for volume, experiment with different lines for texture, and use shading to add depth.

How do I put all the features together to create a portrait?

Use facial proportion guidelines, start with the head shape, and add the eyes, nose, mouth, and other features.

How can I make my portrait more realistic?

Pay attention to details, add shading and texture, use different values for light and shadow, and observe the subject closely.

What tips can you give for drawing different expressions?

Experiment with different eyebrow positions, mouth shapes, and eye expressions, and pay attention to the subtle changes in the features for each emotion.

How can I incorporate color into my portrait drawing?

Experiment with colored pencils, pastels, or watercolor, pay attention to color temperature and value variations, and practice different color techniques.

How can I improve my drawing skills?

Practice facial proportions and features, experiment with shading and coloring, embrace mistakes, and keep practicing to refine your technique.

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