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Drawing human faces

25 Oct 2019

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Just like anything else, the key to drawing the face is to know its structure. The basic structure of the head is the skull, and studying it can help us understand the masses of the face.

At its most basic level the skull is a large, round cranium attached to a pair of jaws.

But once the features are added things can get a little more complicated…

Let’s see if we can get a better understanding of what’s going on here by breaking the features down into their basic shapes

The Nose

When it comes down to it, the nose is really just a cone. I personally like to add a little squashed sphere on the end to give it a cute fleshy look.

It looks like an upside-down ice cream cone! In fact, let’s say that you and a friend each take a bite…

Look familiar? This is the basic shape of the nose.

Of course, not every nose looks like this, but the basic idea of the structure still applies. Play around with it a little and you can get all sorts of noses!

The Eye

Let’s stick with object lessons. This is an eye:

Or the basic shape of it, at least: a sphere inside a wide, tilted cone.

But we’re forgetting one very important part: the eyelids!

There. The eyelids work a little like thick pieces of fabric holding the eyeball in place.

And again, this basic structure can be fiddled with a little to create a wide range of variation!

The Mouth

Last but not least that thing that sits on the bottom of your face.

Try picturing the mouth as a hamburger bun

…that’s been squished on one side.

This is the basic structure for the of the lips.

However, you may want to keep in mind that, because of the philtrum, the upper lip often has a bit of an accordion fold to it.

As always, the basic structure can apply to a wide range of looks!

When drawing men’s mouths it can be helpful to merely indicate the lip instead of drawing it in full as you would on a lady.

Once you get these basic masses and structures down you can apply then to a myriad of different faces!

I hope this tutorial is of some help to you! As always, remember that the best way to learn is practice and observation. Keep up the good work!!

sarahculture's profile image


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Hi, I'm Sarah! I'm a professional Illustrator and graphic designer, and I'm overjoyed to be part of this app to keep ideas flowing. Feel free to ask me anything. You can find me at sarahculture on DeviantArt, Tumblr, and Twitter and at sarahcultureart on Instagram; you can find some tutorials I've put together on my DeviantArt and Tumblr accounts. Thank you so much taking the time to look at my sketches. I'm honored!

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