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Master the Art of How to Draw a Face: Step-by-Step Guide

by | Dec 16, 2023 | How To

Are you ready to take your drawing skills to the next level? Whether you’re a beginner or looking to enhance your artistic abilities, learning how to draw a face is an essential skill. In this comprehensive step-by-step guide, we will walk you through the process of drawing a face with ease. From understanding facial proportions to adding depth and detail, you’ll gain all the necessary techniques to create realistic face drawings.

Key Takeaways:

  • Master the art of drawing a face with a step-by-step guide.
  • Understand facial proportions to create balanced and realistic drawings.
  • Learn techniques for drawing faces from different perspectives, including the front and side view.
  • Add depth and detail to your face drawings using shading and highlighting techniques.
  • Experiment with different facial expressions and hairstyles to add variety to your drawings.

Understanding Facial Proportions for Face Drawing

Before you start drawing a face, it’s crucial to understand how the different facial features relate to one another. By mastering facial proportions, you can create more accurate and realistic drawings. Whether you’re a beginner or looking to improve your skills, these tips will help you with your face drawing journey.

Placing the Features Correctly

When drawing a face, it’s essential to place the features in the right positions. Here are some general guidelines to follow:

  • The eyes are usually located halfway between the top of the head and the chin. They should be evenly spaced apart.
  • The nose starts at the space between the eyes and ends around the bottom third of the face.
  • The mouth is roughly located between the bottom of the nose and the chin.
  • Pay attention to the proportions of the different parts of the face, such as the distance between the eyes and the width of the mouth.

Creating Realistic and Balanced Proportions

While it’s important to understand basic proportions, keep in mind that every face is unique. The measurements and ratios can vary depending on the individual. Experiment with different proportions to create a diverse range of faces.

“The eyes are the windows to the soul, but only if you draw them correctly.” – Anonymous

Remember, practice is key when it comes to mastering facial proportions. Take your time to observe and study faces in real life or through reference photos. By understanding the underlying principles and practicing consistently, you’ll be able to depict facial features more accurately and bring your face drawings to life.

Step-by-Step Guide: Drawing a Face from the Front View

If you’re looking to learn how to draw a face from the front view, you’re in the right place. Follow this step-by-step guide to create a stunning face drawing with ease.

Step 1: Establish the Basic Structure

Start by drawing a simple oval shape to represent the head. Then, divide the oval in half horizontally and vertically to create guidelines for placing the facial features. These guidelines will help ensure that your proportions are accurate.

Step 2: Add the Facial Features

Next, begin adding the eyes, nose, and mouth. Remember to pay attention to the placement and size of each feature. Use the guidelines to help you position them correctly. Take your time and be patient with this step, as it is crucial for creating a realistic and well-proportioned face.

Step 3: Capture the Details

Once the basic features are in place, you can start adding more details to your face drawing. Focus on refining the shapes of the eyes, nose, and mouth, as well as adding eyebrows, eyelashes, and any other facial elements. Take note of the subtle nuances and unique characteristics of the face you are drawing.

Remember to use light, delicate lines at this stage, as you can always go back and darken them later. This will give your drawing a sense of depth and dimension.

Step-by-Step Face Drawing

By following these steps, you will be able to create a beautiful face drawing from the front view. Practice regularly and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Each attempt will bring you closer to mastering the art of drawing a face.

Step-by-Step Guide: Drawing a Face from the Side View

Mastering the art of drawing a face from the side view can elevate your artwork to a whole new level of realism. In this section, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to effectively capture the proportions and details when drawing a face from this perspective.

Understanding Facial Proportions

Before diving into the step-by-step process, it’s important to have a solid understanding of facial proportions. The side view of a face presents unique challenges in accurately depicting the features. Pay close attention to the angles of the nose, the curve of the lips, and the placement of the ears. Taking the time to study and practice these proportions will greatly enhance the realism of your face drawings.

Step-by-Step Process

  1. Start by sketching the basic shape of the head from the side. Use simple lines to outline the forehead, jawline, and neck.
  2. Place the nose and mouth in relation to the head shape. Pay attention to the angle and size of the nose, as well as the curve and thickness of the lips.
  3. Add the eyes, eyebrows, and ears. These features should align with the proportions of the face and be positioned correctly in relation to each other.
  4. Refine the details and add shading to create depth and dimension. Pay attention to light sources and shadows to make your drawing appear more realistic.

Remember, drawing a face from the side view takes practice. Don’t be discouraged if your first attempts don’t turn out exactly as you’d hoped. Keep practicing, study reference images, and experiment with different techniques. With time and dedication, you’ll be able to master the art of drawing a face from the side view.

Alternatively, you can also check out our step-by-step guide on how to draw a face from the front view to further enhance your skills in face drawing.

realistic face drawing

Common challenges when drawing a face from the side view: Tips to overcome these challenges:
Proper placement of features Use guidelines to ensure accurate positioning of the eyes, nose, and mouth. Pay attention to the alignment with the head shape.
Proportional accuracy Practice measuring and comparing the proportions of different features. Pay attention to the size and placement of the ears, as they can easily be misjudged.
Creating depth and dimension Use shading techniques to create the illusion of three-dimensionality. Pay attention to the play of light and shadow on the face.
Capturing facial expressions Study reference images and observe how the features change in different expressions. Pay attention to the curvature of the eyebrows and the positioning of the mouth.

Adding Depth and Detail to Your Face Drawing

Once you have the basic structure of the face in place, it’s time to elevate your drawing by adding depth and detail. Shading, highlighting, and creating texture are key techniques that will bring your face drawing to life and make it more realistic.

Start by observing the light source in your reference image or scene. This will help you determine where the light hits the face and where the shadows fall. Use a variety of shading techniques, such as hatching, cross-hatching, and blending, to create smooth transitions between light and shadow areas.

When adding highlights, think about the reflective properties of the skin. The forehead, cheeks, and tip of the nose are common areas for highlights. Use a lighter pencil or a white charcoal pencil to add these highlights, and blend them softly with your fingers or a blending stump for a more natural look.

To create texture, pay attention to the different surfaces of the face. The skin has pores, wrinkles, and other imperfections that can be implied through subtle lines and dots. Hair also adds texture to the overall drawing. Use short, directional strokes to depict the flow and volume of the hair. Don’t forget to vary the thickness and direction of your lines for a more realistic effect.

realistic face drawing

Portrait Drawing Tips

Portrait drawing requires a keen eye for detail and capturing the essence of the subject. Here are some additional tips to enhance your portrait drawing skills:

  • Focus on the eyes: The eyes are often considered the windows to the soul. Pay close attention to the shape, size, and expression of the eyes to convey emotions effectively.
  • Study facial anatomy: Understanding the underlying structure of the face will help you accurately depict different features and create a more lifelike portrait.
  • Practice drawing from life: Drawing from real-life subjects will provide you with a deeper understanding of light, shadow, and proportions. If you can’t find a live model, use reference photos.
  • Experiment with different mediums: Charcoal, graphite, colored pencils, and pastels each have their own unique qualities. Explore different mediums to find the one that suits your style and preferences.

“The aim of every artist is to arrest motion, which is life, by artificial means and hold it fixed so that a hundred years later, when a stranger looks at it, it moves again since it is life.” – William Faulkner

Remember, drawing is a skill that takes time and practice to master. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and keep experimenting with different techniques. With dedication and perseverance, you’ll be able to create portraits that capture the true essence of your subjects.

Experimenting with Different Facial Expressions and Hairstyles

When it comes to drawing faces, capturing different facial expressions can add depth and personality to your artwork. Experimenting with various expressions allows you to convey emotions and tell a story through your drawings. Additionally, exploring different hairstyles can further enhance the uniqueness of your characters. In this section, we will dive into the techniques and tips for depicting a range of expressions and hairstyles in your face drawings.

Facial Expressions

Facial expressions are a powerful way to convey emotions and bring your characters to life. Whether it’s a wide smile, a furrowed brow, or teary eyes, each expression adds its own unique touch to a face. To master facial expressions, start by observing real-life references or photographs to understand how the features of the face change with different emotions. Pay attention to how the eyes, eyebrows, mouth, and other facial muscles move and interact.

Once you have a good grasp of the basics, practice sketching different expressions. Start with simple emotions like happiness, sadness, anger, surprise, and curiosity. As you gain confidence, challenge yourself to depict more complex emotions or subtle variations. Experiment with exaggerating or toning down certain features to enhance the overall expression. Remember, practice makes perfect, and by continually exploring different facial expressions, you will expand your artistic repertoire.


Hairstyles play a significant role in defining the personality and style of a character. From long flowing locks to short and spiky, each hairstyle tells a story and adds visual interest to your face drawings. To effectively depict different hairstyles, it’s important to understand the basic shapes and textures of different hair types.

Start by observing and studying references of various hairstyles. Pay attention to the way the hair falls, the direction of the strands, and the overall volume and structure. Experiment with different drawing techniques, such as cross-hatching or stippling, to create textures and depth in the hair. Consider the character’s personality and age when selecting the hairstyle, as it should reflect their individuality.

Remember, the key to mastering different facial expressions and hairstyles is practice. Dedicate time to sketching and experimenting with various emotions and hairdos. Don’t be afraid to push your artistic boundaries and try new techniques. By continuously learning and improving your skills, you’ll be able to create dynamic and captivating face drawings that truly express the essence of your characters.

face drawing tutorial

Tips for Improving Your Face Drawing Skills

Mastering the art of drawing faces takes time and practice. Whether you’re a beginner or looking to enhance your skills, these tips will help you improve your face drawing abilities. By incorporating these techniques into your practice, you’ll be well on your way to creating realistic and captivating portraits.

Study Facial Anatomy

Understanding the structure and anatomy of the face is essential for accurate drawing. Take the time to study the proportions and placement of facial features. Pay attention to details such as the shape of the eyes, the curves of the lips, and the angles of the nose. By familiarizing yourself with facial anatomy, you’ll be better equipped to depict realistic features in your drawings.

Practice Different Angles

Don’t limit yourself to drawing faces from just one angle. Practice drawing faces from various perspectives, such as front view, side view, three-quarter view, and even extreme angles. This will help you develop a better understanding of how the features change in different positions and angles. It will also improve your overall spatial awareness and ability to capture depth and dimension in your drawings.

Use References and Guidelines

References are a valuable tool for improving your face drawing skills. Study photographs, observe real people, and explore the work of other artists to gain inspiration and reference points for your drawings. Additionally, using guidelines can provide structure and help you establish proper proportions. Use light guidelines to sketch out the basic shapes and lines before adding details to your drawings.

Face Drawing Tips Beginner Face Drawing Techniques
● Study facial anatomy ● Practice drawing different angles
● Use references and guidelines ● Experiment with different techniques
● Pay attention to shading and highlights ● Seek feedback and learn from mistakes

Remember, improving your face drawing skills requires patience and persistence. Set aside regular time for practice and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Seek feedback from other artists or join a community where you can receive constructive critique. Embrace the learning process and let your passion for drawing guide you towards continuous improvement.

face drawing tutorial

Common Mistakes to Avoid in Face Drawing

When it comes to face drawing, beginners often encounter common mistakes that can hinder their progress. By being aware of these pitfalls, you can take steps to avoid them and improve your skills. In this section, we’ll highlight some of the most common mistakes and provide you with valuable tips to overcome them.

1. Incorrect Proportions: One of the most prevalent mistakes in face drawing is getting the proportions wrong. It’s important to understand the relationships between different facial features and how they align with each other. Take the time to study and practice the proper proportions of the eyes, nose, mouth, and other features. This will greatly enhance the realism of your drawings.

2. Unnatural Features: Another mistake to avoid is creating unrealistic features. Faces have unique characteristics that make them different from one another. Pay attention to the subtle nuances of each face you draw and ensure that you capture those details accurately. Avoid exaggerating or oversimplifying features, as this can result in drawings that appear unnatural.

3. Lack of Reference: Many beginners make the mistake of relying solely on their imagination when drawing faces. While creativity is important, studying references is equally crucial. Reference photos, live models, and even mirrors can provide valuable insights into the structure and proportions of the face. Use references as a guide to ensure your drawings are accurate and realistic.

By being mindful of these common mistakes, you can take your face drawing skills to the next level. Remember to focus on proportions, capture the uniqueness of each face, and utilize references for guidance. With practice and dedication, you’ll be able to create stunning and lifelike face drawings.

Table: Common Mistakes in Face Drawing

Mistake Explanation How to Overcome
Incorrect Proportions Improper alignment and sizing of facial features Study facial proportions and practice accurate measurements
Unnatural Features Exaggerated or oversimplified facial features Observe and study the unique characteristics of each face
Lack of Reference Relying solely on imagination without studying references Use reference photos, live models, or mirrors to guide your drawings


Drawing a face can be both challenging and rewarding. By following the step-by-step guide and implementing the tips provided in this article, you can improve your face drawing skills and create realistic and captivating artwork.

Start by mastering the basic proportions of the face and understanding the placement of different facial features. Practice drawing faces from both the front and side view to enhance your perspective skills.

Don’t forget to add depth and detail to bring your face drawing to life. Experiment with shading, highlighting, and creating texture to make your artwork more realistic. Additionally, explore different facial expressions and hairstyles to add variety and convey emotions.

Remember, becoming a skilled face artist takes practice and dedication. Continuously hone your skills, study references, and experiment with different techniques. With time and effort, you’ll be able to create stunning and lifelike face drawings that showcase your artistic abilities.


What is this article about?

This article is a comprehensive step-by-step guide on how to draw a face.

Who is this guide for?

Whether you’re a beginner or looking to improve your skills, this guide is suitable for anyone wanting to master the art of drawing faces.

What will I learn from this guide?

This guide covers all the essential steps of drawing a face, from creating basic proportions to adding depth and detail. You’ll learn techniques for accurately depicting the facial features and capturing facial expressions.

Is this guide suitable for beginners?

Yes, this guide provides tips and techniques specifically designed for beginners learning to draw faces for the first time.

Does this guide cover both front and side views of a face?

Yes, this guide includes step-by-step instructions for drawing a face from both the front and side views.

How can I make my face drawing look more realistic?

This guide provides techniques for shading, highlighting, and creating texture to add depth and realism to your face drawings.

Can I learn how to draw different facial expressions and hairstyles?

Yes, this guide explores various facial expressions and hairstyles to help you add variety and interest to your face drawings.

How can I improve my face drawing skills?

This guide offers valuable tips and techniques for improving your face drawing skills, such as practicing different angles and perspectives and studying references.

What are some common mistakes to avoid in face drawing?

This guide highlights common pitfalls to avoid in face drawing, including incorrect proportions and unrealistic features.

What should I keep in mind while drawing a face?

Drawing a face requires patience, practice, and attention to detail. This guide provides step-by-step instructions and tips to help you develop your skills and let your creativity shine through your artwork.