Introduction: How to Draw a Face

To pass time, I often find that a pen and paper are my best friends. Doodling has always been a part of my life and it often surprises friends and acquaintances when they find out I can draw. Half of the time I am asked, "How did you get so good?" I usually respond with, "Practice. Lots and lots of practice." In my journey of becoming an artist, I found many guides that helped me get to where I am today. I would like to pay back the art community and fellow artists by making a tutorial for new, aspiring artists or doodlers to learn how to draw a face.

Step 1: The Necessities

Anybody can learn to draw. If you can hold a pencil and know basic geometric shapes, you can learn to draw anything. To start on your journey you will need paper, a pencil, an eraser and some sort of pen (my preference are Micron pens, but your standard BIC pen will work fine). Within the next three to five minutes, you will know the basics of how to draw a face.

Step 2: Basic Shape

Take your pencil and draw a circle. Do not press too hard while drawing. Light lines will be helpful toward the end because you will end up erasing all of the lines done in pencil. Draw light enough so the lines are erasable, but not too light that you barely see the lines.

Step 3: You Egghead

Draw two curved lines that start just below the center of the circle to make a shape that looks like an upside down egg. It does not matter how long or short these lines are, but keep them symmetrical.

Step 4: Keeping Things Straight

Draw a cross. The horizontal line typically sits around a third from the bottom of the circle and will help you know where to draw the eyes. The vertical line should be right in the middle from top to bottom. This will help you keep the face symmetrical once you start adding more details.

Step 5: Ears for Hearing

Draw two ears by drawing two lines that are shaped like half a heart. Ears can be big or small, so do not worry if they do not look like the ears I have drawn. However, the face will look best if the ears are the same size.

Step 6: Eyes to See

Draw two eyes with simple shapes. The shape of the eyes will determine your characters personality. Drawing big circles will make your face more youthful and innocent while drawing right triangles for eyes will make them appear to be sinister and dark. For this tutorial I drew almonds for a more standard approach. Keep the eyes equidistant from the center line to keep the face symmetrical and aesthetic. If you plan on drawing a girl, you can add a few curved lines towards the outsides of the your eyes. Two to three lashes on each eye will be plenty to help show the character's feminine traits.

Step 7: Eyebrows Speak Louder Than Words

Draw two eyebrows just above the eyes. Once again, pay attention to the distance from the center line to keep the eyebrows even. Eyebrows give your character emotion. The angle, thickness and shape of the eyebrows will say a lot about the character. I will go more conservative with this face and keep the eyebrows a medium length and thickness by drawing two curved triangles.

Step 8: I Can See!

Draw four circles. Two circles for each eye. The outer circle will be the iris and the inner circle will be the pupils.

Step 9: Nose to Smell

Draw a curved line for the nose. You can have a lot fun with noses. At the end of the tutorial there are some examples of different faces and with varying noses. Observe people in the streets as you walk by and through magazines to see how people's noses vary.

Step 10: Mouth to Talk

Draw a curved line for the mouth. You know how it goes: draw a bridge to make the person sad or upset, or turn that frown upside down to make a smile.

Step 11: Don't Pull Your Hair Out

Draw hair with curved lines and triangles. Get ideas from pictures of people and draw the outline of the hair. It is not necessary to draw each hair individually to have a stylish 'do.

Step 12: Ink It Out

Bring out your pen and trace over the important lines. The only lines you do not want to trace are the circle and the cross. While you're at it, color in the inner-most circle in the eyes for the pupils.

Step 13: Clean and Tidy

Erase everything. As long as the ink is dried, your drawing will stay in tact.

Any eraser will do the job. I prefer having a big eraser because it makes erasing go faster, but if you only have the one on the end of your pencil, it will do. Dispose any pencil marks on your drawing. After erasing, your art will look more finished and professional.

Step 14: Practice, Practice, Practice

Practice and have fun with it! Experiment with different shapes and sizes. Faces can be long and skinny or short and round. Noses can be big and long or they can be small and cute. Look at pictures for different ideas from magazines and pictures. The first time around might not be the best face ever drawn, but by following these steps and practicing time after time after time again, you will become an expert artist in no time.