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Top 17 Tips to Sketching Faces Better

Top 17 Tips to Sketching Faces Better

So, you want to learn some techniques for sketching faces as the lack of sketching tips is holding you back to improve your sketches.

No worries as today, I dish out tips that’ll help you know how to draw faces better. 

Do you know sketching faces is a great way to develop artistic skills?

Yes, you heard me right! Every facial feature is different and it becomes a different experience when you start drawing them.

So, having a basic understanding of drawing faces is essential to draw varied facial features.

Once you have a basic understanding, you can easily learn how to draw a face showing different expressions.

To draw a portrait, it is essential to know how to draw facial features such as eyes, nose, mouth, cheeks, ears, etc.

Once you come to know how to draw the facial features, it becomes easy to draw an entire face.

Most artists do not fully understand the relationship of one facial feature with another in terms of size and placement.

As a result, they cannot be able to draw faces that look realistic.

Therefore, it is important to understand the relationship of one object with another.

This is a critical thing to know in order to know how to get better at drawing faces.

Important Thing to Know Before Sketching Faces

So, before I get into details for drawing an entire face, I think that you must first learn how to draw facial features individually.

Because in this way, you can get to know how each facial feature should look and how you can capture it in your drawings.

One thing that must be considered is whatever the facial feature you are drawing, you must use good-quality sketching pencils.

You need to know whether you will need soft or hard pencils.

H pencils are usually harder and B pencils are soft.

So, it is better to decide earlier which pencils will better suit your drawings.

Here is an ultimate guide for sketching faces.

Today, I am going to discuss the top ten tips by which you can draw facial features better, from basic drawings to drawing different faces.

I have also shared a step-by-step tutorial for drawing the features of a basic male and female face separately as the proportions are different for male and female faces.

So, whether you want to kick start your sketching journey or just need some technical information, I have something for you.

From drawing each facial feature to sketching an entire face, this guide has it all.

So, without waiting anymore, let’s take a deep dive into sketching faces better.

What is Sketching and Why It Is Considered a Good Hobby?

In terms of art, sketching is a great way of refining your art skills.

A sketch may be a rough description that lacks detail, a quick drawing that has to be completed in a certain time frame, or a simple drawing in which an artist may explore something new.

According to most people, sketching is a good hobby that everyone must acquire.

Because it may not only improve the observational skills of a person but also helps an artist to bring confidence into his drawings.

sketching faces

Easy Tips to Know How to Sketch a Face

The following are some simple and easy tips by which you can draw faces, no matter you are a beginner or an expert artist.

These tips will surely help you develop your freehand drawing along with your ability to see tones and colors in different things and are essential to know how to sketch a face.

Knowing how to sketch faces can also give you so much more confidence in being able to draw people in general. 

Take a Class in Drawing Faces

The first and foremost tip for drawing faces is to take a class that may teach you how you can draw faces perfectly.

It means that you need to learn how each facial feature looks and work.

For example, if you are drawing an eye, you must learn different components of an eye.

I do not mean that you should learn what they are called.

But having a basic understanding of the components of an eye will surely help you to draw realistic eyes.

Moreover, taking a class in sketching faces will definitely help you to draw and sketch better, for example, you can know:

  • Learn how to see different facial features
  • How to draw what you can see
  • How to construct an entire scene (in the case of figure drawing)
  • Learn to draw shapes and values
  • How to add details into the shapes
  • how to make a connection between each facial feature
  • Be able to measure proportion, size, and space correctly

In this way, you can not only improve your observational skills but you can also develop your own style of sketching.

Sketching the Front View of the Nose

Most artists think that drawing a nose is a complicated task.

But the thing is if you break the nose drawing into sections, it will be easier for you to draw.

You can use different shapes and forms that may guide you to create the shape of the nose from different angles, profile view, or straight-on/front view).

  1. For sketching the front view of the nose, it is always recommended to use the grid method. The grid method may assist you to create a line drawing of the nose. For drawing realism in the front view of the nose, you must use a good-quality sketching pencil, smooth paper, an eraser, and a blending stump. Note: Make sure to keep the pencil strokes light so you can erase them afterward.
  2. Once you have created the basic structure of a nose using a pencil, it is time to add light and dark tones. Be sure to remove the grid lines before adding light and dark shades.
  3. Dark shades should be added in the nostrils, at the lower side of the nose, and around the nose tips and bridge. Whereas light colors should be added at the rim of the nostrils, on both edges, and at the tip/ball of the nose.
  4. After adding light and dark shades, you must blend them to give a smooth effect to your sketch. This will create an airy as well as shadowy aspect in your drawing, adding soft touch as well. You can use a stump for blending or an eraser can also work fine to dab on the areas which appear too dark.
  5. To make the nose look real, blend the dark shades in the lighter shades. You can leave skin tones light or dark, it is up to you. You can experiment with shading here to achieve unique nose shapes.

Sketching the Profile View of the Nose

The process of sketching the profile view of the nose is a bit similar to that of the front view.

  1. First, using a grid method, draw the shape of the nose from a side angle. If it seems difficult for you, you can draw the shape of a nose by drawing two circles (for the nostrils) and one triangle (for drawing the bridge of the nose). As it is a side view of the nose and one nostril should be visible, try to make the shape of the nostrils in between the two circles.
  2. Once the shape is drawn, remove unnecessary lines, circles, or triangles. Add light and dark shades using a good sketching pencil.
  3. Light tones should be used at the tip of the nose whereas black tones should be added in the nostril area along with the edges. Never shade the full area as it is better to leave some areas highlighted. You can also keep the details light, hence adding only what is needed.
  4. To make the edges of the nose look clear, always use the dark shade in the background.
  5. The last step is blending. To add a smooth touch to the sketch and make the skin look less harsh, apply blending in a circular motion.

Drawing a Realistic Eye

Another important tip for how to draw a face shape is to learn to draw an eye that looks realistic.

Follow the step-by-step instructions mentioned below to draw a realistic eye:

  1. At first, to create a line drawing of an eye, use a grid method. At this point, you must know the shape of the iris, pupil along other parts of an eye.
  2. Once you have drawn the eye with an HB pencil, carefully remove the grid lines using an eraser. Just make sure that the outline of the eye is not too dark because, in the end, result, you need to prevent the outline from showing.
  3. Now make perfections in your drawing by adding the shaded effects in certain areas.
  4. Draw a small circle for the pupil and a big circle for the iris. Use a pencil to create wheel-like strokes in the iris that go outward. To create the reflection of light, leave one side of the pupil open. To make the pupil look open on one side, you may use a circle, square, or an oval shape.
  5. Add darker shades at the corner of the eye to give it a smooth shape.
  6. Once you are done with the shading, you must blend them to fill any white space left. Make sure that the line strokes coming out of the pupil are still visible in the final result.
  7. In the end, draw eyelashes using curved lines instead of straight lines. To make sure that they look real, use a thin pencil. You can draw thick and long eyelashes to give a feminine look to the character of your drawing.
  8. In addition, shade the area around the eyes as well to make the shaded areas look lightened and the highlighted areas pop. To add depth to an eye, you can also make the shades go dark.

Use a Line Drawing Method for Sketching Lips

Sketching lips using a line drawing method is no difficulty at all.

You must know exactly the shape of the lips.

There are many mistakes that beginner artists make when they first try to sketch the lips, for example, not defining hard edges or considering the right angle.

  1. To sketch lips, the first step is to draw lines (using a grid method). Keeping in view the shape of the lips, sketch them using a mechanical pencil.
  2. Remember, the upper lip is usually smaller and appears darker than the lower lip because the angle of the upper lip is inwards and that of the outer lip is outwards.
  3. Once you have finished drawing the lips, draw some lip wrinkles, apply the dark patterns in certain areas (outer edge, lower lip, and bottom of the lips) and blend them using a blending stump or tissue paper. Never draw the lip wrinkles too dark otherwise they will look unnatural.
  4. Make sure to blend the light and dark shades at the corners appropriately to create a realistic look to the lips. As you are blending the lips, just be careful with the lip wrinkles. They should not disappear.

Whether you are drawing male lips or female lips, you can show certain areas on the lower lip shiny and moist but make sure that you have determined earlier from where the light is coming.

Sketching Smiling Lips

So, you are a beginner and want to know how to draw a face for beginners?

Apart from sketching eyes, nose, and lips, you should also learn to sketch smile lips.

Sketching smile lips is super easy once you know the basic sketching tips and techniques.

Most artists draw teeth but they look creepy or dark.

Therefore, proper shading effects should be added in both lips and teeth so that they may look good in the overall face sketch.

To sketch smiling lips, I always suggest using a line drawing method instead of drawing shapes first and then draw lips.

  1. First of all, start drawing the lips (with vertical lines, diagonal lines, or curves) using a grid method as mentioned earlier. As you are drawing the smile lips, so you must draw teeth as well. Draw teeth in perfect shape as well as size to make the whole drawing look appealing.
  2. When you are drawing teeth, just make sure that there is no hard or dark line between the teeth otherwise it will look odd. Make the lines separating each tooth subtle.
  3. As teeth should look dimensional, so it is important to add some shading effects in them using an HB pencil, instead of leaving them just white. HB pencil is always recommended to use at this step as it may prevent you from shading dark!
  4. Once you have completed drawing lips and teeth, erase all guidelines and apply the dark and light tones.
  5. Start shading the lips first instead of teeth. Also, add some effects of shading in the gum line or at the edges of the teeth. The upper lip should appear darker than the lower lip. For this, apply some light colors at certain portions of the lower lip to make them look shiny and glossy. Plus, the inside of the mouth should also appear dark from the sides and light from the middle to show the tongue.
  6. After adding the shading effects, blend the lips and teeth as much as you can!

Note: Never draw teeth that look the same.

There is a bit of difference in each tooth.

So, it is better to make them slightly different from each other in terms of size and alignment.

Drawing Eyes, Nose, and Lips together Using a Grid Method

Once you have learned how to draw an eye, nose, and lips, it is time to draw them together.

This is another useful technique if you want to step into the field of sketching faces.

The grid method is always considered the best method in the case of face drawing as it may aid an artist to draw facial features perfectly, keeping in view the right shape, size as well as placement.

Before sketching eyes, nose, and lips, keep in view some important facts that may guide you through the whole drawing.

  1. Using a grid method, create a line drawing of eyes, nose, and lips.
  2. For drawing eyes, the space between the eyes should be as much as that of the width between the eyes. It should not be too much or too little. Moreover, the iris and the pupil should be the same in both eyes. This will allow you to draw eyes looking in the same direction.
  3. To sketch a nose, draw a vertical line down from the corner of the eyes. These vertical lines will become the edges of the nose. To draw lips, you can draw simple lips or smiling lips.
  4. Once you are done with the drawing of the eyes, nose, and lips, you need to erase the grid lines.
  5. Apply light and dark tones in different areas. For example, dark tones should be added at the corner of the eyes, around the lips, or at the nostrils. Highlight some areas such as the nose tip as well as some portion of the lower lip.
  6. For completing the eyes first, as you have to leave one side of the pupil open, apply this strategy for both eyes so that they look the same.
  7. Draw eyebrows with a mechanical pencil and then shade the area so that the hair on the eyebrows may look visible.
  8. The last step is blending with the blending stump. It is one of the most important steps as it may make or break your sketching. Remember, white tones should always be added to enhance the beauty of the artwork.

Do remember that the eyes of your character are very important to convey the right emotion.

Therefore, along with the proper shape of the eyes, shading in the eyes is also crucial to give them life.

Drawing Ears from the Front

Ears are one of the facial features that are difficult to draw because they have a unique shape.

They are, in fact, made up of many small as well as intricate shapes.

For drawing ears, you must learn sketching them from different angles.

Because at times, when you are drawing faces, you need to make only the earlobe visible, hiding the rest of the ear with hair.

And at other times, you may need to draw a side view of the ear, hence showing all the complexities of the ear.

Just like other facial features, the grid method also works well for ears, no matter whether you are drawing ears from the front or from the side.

  1. In the first step, create a line drawing of an ear.
  2. Once you have completed drawing the shape of the ear, it is time to sketch the ear for the purpose of adding depth at certain areas. Note: The outline of the ears should be made with shading rather than a clear outline of a pencil. Making an outline of the ear will make it appear natural!
  3. Before shading, remove unnecessary grid lines using a soft eraser. This will definitely give a neat look to your sketch so you can start shading the areas.
  4. Now where to apply darks? As the outer ear always overlaps the inner ear, so the area where the outer ear is overlapping the inner ear should be shaded dark. Moreover, darks should also be applied around the edges as well as the earlobe.
  5. Where to apply highlights? The skin of the ear is a bit oily as compared to other parts of the face. Therefore, to make it look different, you should apply highlights in that area, keeping the whole area looks bright.
  6. For lifting out the highlights, you may use an eraser otherwise blending stump will work fine.

Draw an Entire Face

Once you have learned how to sketch facial features separately, it is time to draw an entire face.

Never start drawing a portrait unless and until you learn to draw the facial features separately.

Practice first and then draw an entire face.

This technique will definitely assist you in sketching faces better.

Always start sketching the face by drawing the eyes first.

By doing this, you can create a connection with the subject of your drawing.

After that, start drawing a nose, lips, and then ears respectively.

  1. First of all, using a grid method, draw the face of a male or female. For this, draw a large circle and a small horizontal line below the circle at some distance. This horizontal line will help you draw a chin. Draw a vertical line starting from the center of the circle and touching the horizontal line. Then, to create a jawline, sketch lines from both sides of the circle, meeting the horizontal line below.
  2. Whether you are drawing a face with some shapes or you are using a line drawing method, you must create such a drawing of a face that looks convincing.
  3. Note: You can use a ruler method or a not ruler method for adjusting the height of the face or for drawing eyes, nose, lips, and ears. Be very careful with every shape you draw as each shape will collectively create an entire face. You can use different measurements to give proportions to each face type. Once you are finished with the drawing phase, start shading.
  4. Shading plays an essential role in drawing an entire face. Using the five elements of shading, apply, and dark and light shades in your sketch to make it look real as well as captivating. Start adding light and dark tones from the eyes to the nose and lips to create a triangle of shading.
  5. You can apply dark shades across the entire face to create the edges. After drawing ears, start drawing hair with the help of long brush strokes.
  6. Now here comes the blending part which is usually the most important part of sketching faces. As you did blending in the facial features, similarly, apply blending also in each facial feature, hence blending should be applied over an entire face to give it a smooth yet real touch.
  7. Leave some parts highlighted such as the tip of the nose, middle of the lower lip, and the eyes. You may also use a kneaded eraser to leave some portion white to make them look more highlighted.

Remember, sketching a face is just like sketching any other subject matter.

At times, it may be a bit challenging not only for the beginner artists but for the experts as well.

Therefore, it is always recommended to learn facial features separately.

Because once you learn drawing features separately, it will be much easier for you to draw an entire face.

Moreover, good observation skills and correct mark-marking is also very crucial for sketching faces better.

Create Interest in Your Subject by Controlling Edges

The last important tip for sketching faces better is to create interest in your drawings by controlling the edges.

There are mainly four techniques to define the edges of an object.

These may include hard edge, soft edge, lost edge, and undefined edge.

Hard and soft edges are used to give borders to an object.

To give a thick border, a hard edge is used and for a thin border, you must use a soft edge.

At places where you want to give a merged effect between the object and the background, lost and undefined edges work well.

To create interest in your face sketch, you may use all four types of edges.

Get Your Proportions Right

Before you start gettin’ into the details, make sure you got the basics down. I’m talkin’ about proportions and symmetry.

Use a ruler or grid to measure the distances between the eyes, nose, mouth, and ears so you can make sure everything’s balanced and in its place.

Light and Shadow: Your New BFFs

drawing shadow on faces

Light and shadow can make or break your portrait. Observe how the light falls on your subject and use it to make the curves and contours pop.

Pay attention to the shadows under the eyes, nose, and chin, and the highlights on the cheekbones and forehead. You’ll be amazin’ yourself with how real it looks.

Mix It Up with Different Pencils and Techniques

Different pencils and techniques can give you a variety of textures and effects that make your drawings come to life.

For example, use a soft, graphite pencil for shading, a harder lead for fine lines, or a charcoal stick for bold, dramatic strokes. Experiment and find what works best for you.

Make Those Eyes Pop

how to draw an eye

Eyes are the windows to the soul, man. When you’re drawing eyes, focus on the shape, size, and placement of the pupils, irises, and lids.

And don’t forget the reflections and highlights that add depth and dimension.

Mouths and Lips: A Whole New Level

Mouths and lips can add so much expression to your portraits. Pay attention to the shape, size, and placement of the lips, as well as the lines and wrinkles that give the mouth character.

Don’t be afraid to try different techniques like cross-hatching or stippling to create different textures.

Give ‘Em Some Character with Hair and Clothes

Hair and clothes can add so much personality to your portraits. When you’re drawing hair, focus on the texture, length, and style, and the highlights and shadows that give it volume.

With clothes, think about the folds, wrinkles, and patterns that give it movement and depth.

Practice Makes Perfect

It’s true, man. The more you draw, the better you’ll get.

You’ll develop your own unique style and techniques, and you’ll become more confident with each drawing. Don’t be afraid to experiment, make mistakes, and try new things.

Keep practicing and you’ll be amazin’ yourself in no time.

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So, these are some simple tips and techniques for sketching faces.

By following these tips you will surely know how to draw faces better and become much better, as long as you practice.

I hope that you have learned well how you can sketch facial features including eyes, nose, lips, and ears.

Although direct observation is one of the most crucial things that can assist you to perfect your sketches, you should learn some tips as well for drawing faces better.

The reason is these tips act as the building blocks and will surely assist you to consider the placement as well as the size of the facial features.

The sketching tips will not only help you to experiment with the drawing of faces confidently but will surely improve your drawings.

Most people think that drawing faces is one of the trickiest things to draw.

Drawing faces for beginners is often thought of as challenging. 

But the fact is: once you learn the basic skills, you can draw faces very easily.

After learning to draw faces, keep practicing.

This process is just like fitness.

The more you practice your drawing skills, the more it will become easier for you. 

So, are you ready to make your portrait sketches pop?

What are you waiting for now?

It is time to grab a sketchbook and pencils and start sketching faces.

Happy Sketching!

Do you know some other tips for drawing faces better?

Tips on How to Draw Faces Better FAQ

What are some common mistakes artists make when drawing faces, and how can they avoid them?

When it comes to drawing faces, it’s easy to mess up with proportions, symmetry, shading, and expressions.

But don’t worry, to avoid these blunders, just study anatomy and proportions, take a closer look at your subject, experiment with shading, and get feedback from other artists or art teachers. Remember to capture the uniqueness of each face, pay attention to lighting, and study different emotions and expressions. 

How can artists get better at drawing facial expressions and emotions?

You gotta start by studying facial anatomy and the muscles that make ’em. Check out real people and their emotions, and practice drawing ’em from memory or from life.

Don’t forget to use reference materials, try exaggerating things, take some classes, check out what other successful artists are doing, and get some feedback from others. 

What are some advanced techniques and styles that artists can explore to take their face drawing to the next level?

Check out some advanced techniques like cross-hatching, stippling, or expressive line work.

And don’t be afraid to experiment with different styles, like realism, caricatures, or graphic styles. Mix it up and see what works best for you!