How to Draw a Face: 25 Tutorials

4 Comments | December 16, 2010

Drawing faces or portaits is, to me, a bit of a paradox.  It is that part of our body which most distinguishes us from others (as an identifying physical trait), but that part of the body which we see the least during our lives.  When we do, we do not see our face as others, but rather the mirror reflection, the opposite. It is the seat of the outward manifestation of our inner emotional lives, and yet also draws emotional responses from the outside.  Faces can take on an almost infinite of shapes that express the many subtle variations of our inner being, and thus present a unique challenge in rendering on paper.

Thus, practice, as ever, is of the essence, especially when you want to draw faces.  I have collected here some materials that should aid you in your quest of drawing the face just right.  Hopefully they are of help, and as always, any comments or feedback is much appreciated.

How-To’s, Tutorials, and Step-By-Steps

As you’re learning to draw faces, the first thing to get a grasp of is facial proportions.  Our faces are a beautiful harmony of various proportions, deviations from which our eyes easily detect even if only on a subconscious level.  Here are a handful of resources to get you going on facial proportions.

How to Draw A Face via Tipdeck.com

Short tutorial on the proper proportions of the face on tipdeck.com.

Step-by-step instructions on how to draw a face on wikiHow

Step-by-step instructions on how to draw a face on wikiHow

Step-by-step face drawing tutorial by Stephanie Valentin

Step-by-step face drawing tutorial by Stephanie Valentin

Several portrait tutorials on artyfactory.com

Several portrait tutorials on artyfactory.com

Quick portrait drawing tutorial, by Tina Poe.

Quick portrait drawing tutorial, by Tina Poe.

Good tutorial on how to shade a face, by Brian Duey

Good tutorial on how to shade a face, by Brian Duey

Books

Please be aware that any book on this site is linking to Amazon, of which I am an affiliate.  That means that when you make a purchase on Amazon using one of my links, Amazon reimburses me a small percentage (at no cost to you!).  This greatly helps me maintain this site and provide content.  Your support is great appreciated!

"The Artist's Complete Guide to Drawing the Head" by William Maughan

“The Artist’s Complete Guide to Drawing the Head” by William Maughan

This book is a bit more advanced and has received great reviews on Amazon, although it’s primarily focused on drawing the three-quarter portrait pose.

"How to Draw Lifelike Portraits from Photographs" by Lee Hammond

“How to Draw Lifelike Portraits from Photographs” by Lee Hammond

As the name implies, if you are interested in drawing lifelike portraits based on photographs, this is the way to go. Lee Hammond is a great instructor and you’ll learn all about pencil technique along the way.

How to Draw Faces by Barbara Soloff Levy

“How to Draw Faces” by Barbara Soloff Levy

You can’t really go wrong with starting with a book on how to draw faces. Beware, however, that this a book targeted at children.

Facial Expressions

Once you have a good, firm grasp on drawing proper facial proportions and such, it’s time to broaden your scope and tackle the thousands of expressions that we humans use to communicate with one another.  Here are a few resources to get you going.

Explore facial anatomy and expressions interactively on ARTNATOMY

Explore facial anatomy and expressions interactively, by Victoria Flores.

Tool to create facial expressions based on emotions.

Tool to create expressions based on emotions.

Guide to 50 facial expressions, by Dani Jones.

Guide to 50 facial expressions, by Dani Jones.

"The Artist's Complete Guide to Facial Expression" by Gary Faigin

“The Artist’s Complete Guide to Facial Expression” by Gary Faigin

"Facial Expressions" by Mark Simon

“Facial Expressions” by Mark Simon

Videos

It’s always good to see how other people work – you can learn a lot just by watching. So below I’ve compiled some videos that do a fairly decent job of explaining how to draw faces.






Online Books

Sometimes to really dive into a topic you just need to get a book – a website isn’t gonna cut it. If you really wanted to get going on drawing faces and cannot wait to order a book, here are some online books that you can read.


Just for Fun

Finally for the doodler in all of us – how to draw faces the doodle way:

Comments

  • […] esta página podemos encontrar varios tutoriales con diversos trucos que nos facilitarán la tarea de […]

  • nice drawings bought mats book many years ago

    ronald
  • This is a LOT of links.. :)
    Definitely a lot of good info, however its pretty overwhelming looking through them all.
    This would be far easier to digest if it was presented on separate pages, rather than as it is now with hordes of links and very little text.
    I don’t want to sound too harsh though, so good job finding all these! All these will take weeks to look at :)

  • This is a huge list! To add another to the mix, here’s a simple one on doing a self portrait – http://sketchbuddy.com/training/life-drawing-basics/self-portrait

Thoughts?