NO KILL I (glockgal) wrote in glockart,

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no, not THAT kind, you happy pervs!

Feet Tutorial
Foreshortening Tutorial
Hands Tutorial
Computer Coloring Tutorial by cathybites

WARNING: is dead. It's not saving the links so...I have no live-action art for you, I'm sorry! I had two really nice ones too, before I realized that it wasn't working, le sigh.

- Portraiture is some of the most popular artforms. Everyone loves drawing the most elusive creature of all: MAN. (or woman) (er...or wymin)
- Portraiture is also probably one of the trickiest things to perfect. An audience will be instinctively judgemental of the one thing in life they see and study the most. We are all subconsciously finely attuned to faces; therefore, if something is off in your drawing, it will likely be noticed.
- This is, once more, how I learned faces. I know there are many, many, many other ways, and my way is by no means definitive. If you have any tips or tricks on how you draw faces, please share and I'll re-edit my post to accomodate!
- Did I mention artbeta enough times? The community and the subsequent website are gold.


*Portraits are probably the most subjective part of the human body. There are wildly varying styles, and if drawn well, each can depict a face with flawless perfection. Some general styles include:

- realism -detailed and photorealistic - various fantasy/romance/sci-fi book covers
- Disney/animation style -simplified and expression-centric - Aladdin, Road to El Dorado
- anime/manga -stylized and aesthetic - Naruto, Akira
- cartoon -stylized and expression-centric - Peanuts, Calvin and Hobbes
- comicbook -detailed and expression-centric - X-Men, Preacher

*You may fall into any or a combo of these genres, or one completely different. This tutorial will not show you how to draw a portrait, but rather the rules of drawing a face that all of these styles should conform to in order to create believability.


I've seen artists who draw starting from an eye or nose. I wouldn't suggest this method if you're new to drawing or you are currently unsatisfied with your portraiture. It'll be better to start with a general outline of the head.

* The first 'head' is an outline I've seen generally used by animation-trained artists. I...don't really know how to use it, but it looks useful! If you start out with two circles, good for you.

* The second 'head' is basically an egg-shaped construct. The lines are guides used to find:
a) The center of the features on a face
b) The eye and upper ear placement
c) The nostril and ear lobe placement
d) The mouth and jaw curve placement

* The eyes are halfway between the top of the head and the chin. I kid you not. It may not look like it, but for the average person, this is the truth. Of course, give or take centimetre or two, but for true - halfway. I'm serious!

* The profile can be tricky for many people. Do not forget the basic anatomy of a head - the jaw is shorter in width than the cranium. There is, indeed, a LOT of flesh that goes on behind the ear and jaw.

*As per ashlan - have trouble with where to place the eyes in relation to the other facial features? She explains it here!!


There are three very basic ways to draw heads - face front, angled (usually 3/4) and profile.

Example 1
How do you know the right way to place eyes, ears and jawline?
There's a really simple way - the glasses trick.

If you wear glasses, look at them right now. The
arms are not very long and therefore, these relatively short arms
must be able to horizontally reach from the eye, to the back of the ear.
If you draw a profile and glasses wouldn't realistically fit
on the person's face, you've either drawn the eye or ear
too high/low, or the jaw too far back.

Also? Profile eyes are generally little triangles, as big or slim as you

Example 2

Notice the differences between Figures 1B/2B and Figures 1A/2A in upper and lower illustrations.
In the A Figures, the jaw is stretched out, making the surface of the facial area too expansive and unwieldy.

If you look at your own skull, you'll notice there is ample neck flesh directly behind the jawline and lots of rounded cranuim bone curving from behind the ear. Too often I've seen people forget the existance of the back of one's head.

As you can see in my pathetic attempt, this rule applies (I think) to all styles including pseudo-realistic and manga style.

Example 1
The best way to draw a face, imo. No worries about
symmetry and asymmetry like with face-front, and no
need to worry abut a proper profile.

HOWEVER! 3/4 angles rely on foreshortening.

The face is a big old egg! It is curved, not flat. The 'background' eye,
therefore, will be foreshortened, as well as the back half of the lips and
the background nostril.

Think of the face in discs or slices. I know it's gross, but it does
help you understand the diameter-nature of facial feature placement.

Example 2

Notice the differences between Figures A and Figures B in left and right illustrations.
In the Figures B, the eye and mouth 'bleed' into the outline of the face,
making the faces look warped, flat and 2-dimensional.

I know it looks like that in real life. But for the purpose of drawing, it's sometimes a good idea to foreshorten the eye and mouth, and leave a
small sliver of cheek between the eye and the face outline.

The only exception to this guideline, I'd say, is when the head is angled at a nearly-profile and less 3/4 angle. But the ability to judge and discern how to employ bleeding successfully can take a while to come into fruition.


It just works for me, man; I don't know why. The egg shape can be positioned in any way you like, once you've put together head-shape, facial-feature placement and foreshortening. Try your own eggs!


Thee is always a temptation, especially when doing more realistic
styles, to add many lines and crevices for the ultimate realism.
Or, when drawing someone laughing or shouting, how much lines can you put?

It is a matter of judgement, but I would say to always error on the side of caution.
More lines add age, less lines look youthful. Finding that middle ground
is a long process.

Laughlines are usually the most misused. I know real people have laughlines.
But for the purpose of drawing, they aren't always necessary.

Figure A demonstrates a face with no lines...pretty young.
Figure B is the same face with many lines...rather artificially old
Figure C is the same face with some dimpled line indication. Still young, but
expressive. The lines around the mouth can be deepened to your discretion.


Will make or break an evocative face. Experience with drawing proportional faces not necessary. Expression can be appealing to an audience, even if the face itself isn't quite perfectly drawn. It is normal human nature to immediately react - consciously or no - to another facial expression. We learned it from our infancy.

Which face (below) would better express a dude about to get some action, or walking purposefully, or holding up his 100%-score test smugly?

Unless you're drawing zombies (and I don't even think that's an excuse) faces should NEVER be expressionless. Not even if they're dead. Faces are the windows to personality, living or deceased!

Before you're even confident with the technical aspects of faces, please start playing with expression.
Crinkle eyes, make people grin widely, open mouths, make frowny eyebrows, wrinkly noses, sneering mouths...the possibilities are endless. Practice many different expression. Use your own face in the mirror for reference, or faces in magazines - the ones with expression, not that dull supermodel look. *G*


The best tip I got from my high school drama teacher -
eyes do not show expression, eyebrows do. If you have
trouble drawing a big happy grinning mouth or a growling
mouth, try starting out with the eyebrows. As you can
see with the image to the left, just a few different
strokes can change the expression of a character, easy-peasy.

Try it out - draw one set face and then just move the
eyebrows around. Those little strips of hair are fantastic.

I think that's all I have for faces. As a treat - and I REALLY hope starts working again - I constructed a primitive illustration on the way I normally draw a head.

Remus Lupin, come to life!

-- Start with the outline.
-- Add eyes, nose, mouth.
-- Eyebrows can be added whenever, but preferably early on.
-- Add other details afterwards - lips, eyelashes, eyelids, eyebags, laughlines, forehead wrinkles, etc.
-- Start on hair; complete it now, if you like, or wait till later.
-- Fix facial structure to accomodate features, and hopefully keep everything propotional.
-- Add pupils - I usually add pupils in last, I'm not sure why. Maybe for me, it's what completes the character and brings it to life?
-- Add shadow, lighting (not shown in animation).

That's it! I don't really have another tutorial planned, actually. If I do one, it'll be TBA.
Thanks for all the encouragement and I am so happy that feedback has demonstrated to me that people are learning stuff. Please feel free to show me any facial sketches you do as practice, I would love to see them.

Tags: tutorial
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