Welcome to How to draw faces. – In this series of tutorials dedicated to the drawing of the human anatomy we will dedicate time to study and draw the human features. In this specific tutorial, we’ll be looking at how to draw compelling faces using an internal reference system to get the proportions right every time.

The method we are going to show you is very simple, really no rocket science, however with a bit of practice you’ll be able to draw faces with the right proportions without using external reference or complicated constructing grids.

The face is the feature that best distinguishes a person, and there are “special” regions of the human brain, such as the fusiform face area (FFA), which when damaged prevent the recognition of the faces of even intimate family members.

How to draw faces – Let’s get started!

Let’s start by drawing a simple face oval. To draw the oval correctly imagine to be drawing an egg shape or taking a circle and stretching it along one of its diameters.

Now it’s where the fun starts. Trace a horizontal line right in the middle of the oval.

This will be where the eyes will be placed. Divide that line into almost five equal segments.

Now the length of the eyes in the human face is an excellent unit to position and scale all the other elements of the face.

In fact, the nose line is exactly distant from the eye line two eye units. See where the letter N is in the drawing. Then the mouth line is distant one eye unit from the nose line. So the mouth line is in the face three eye units from the eye line. Ears are approximately two-eye units long and are positioned at the sides of the head right at the middle of the oval.

How to draw faces – Overall shapes

it’s not finished yet! You’ll see how handy the eye unit will come to define other proportions of the face. If you look closely at the drawing below you’ll see that the width of the nose is exactly one eye unit and that the width of the mouth is exactly two eye units! Isn’t that handy?

Once you have defined all the relevant proportions drawing the face becomes an exercise in filling the spots that you have been so carefully planning. Draw the appropriate shapes of the eyes in their sockets and also sketch the nose tip and the mouth lips. Eyebrows are approximately one eye unit above the eye line.

Now draw the ears, and the pupils and clean your drawing from unwonted construction lines.

Keep in mind though that there is no such thing as a perfect or average face. All faces are different and all these guidelines serve only to start practicing and honing your skills but the beauty of a face is given not just by uniform positioning of the facial features.

I have just sketched in a bit of hair to have a better feeling of how the face drawing is coming along. We’ll be modifying the haircut further along the tutorial.

How to draw faces – Complete the drawing

To complete the drawing at this point you want to add in more detail like, for example, the eyebrows or the nostrils.

Also, keep in mind that at this stage the appearance of the face is still quite plastic and can change easily with a few strategically positioned lines.

Add a bit of detail on the nose and a modern haircut to make this face appear like that of a young male.

Ad more details like the iris and a few lines at the bottom of the nose and on the lips. The overall drawing has been consolidated in this last step. At this stage, which I call consolidation, you can’t change dramatically the features of your drawing anymore so before finalizing be sure you like what you got so far!

How to draw faces – The finished result!

And there you have it! A face is drawn from scratch using only internal reference. Brilliant!

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