Let’s Face It

Drawing faces is hard.

For something that we all have and see nearly everyday (hey, no judgment if you don’t check the mirror or see other people some days), when it comes to sketching out a visage it can be pretty darn difficult.

This is something that I’ve been trying to perfect throughout my (relatively short, yet so far lifelong) art career. In about 5th grade I tried to draw portraits of my best friends from memory. I’ve italicized “from memory” because it’s important to note that not only am I an incredibly novice artist at this point in time, but the subjects were not around during this experiment. Long story short, I made my 5th grade friends look like 40 year olds and the audience (my dad and uncle) were not shy about bringing it to my attention. Any remaining drawings from this day have since *mysteriously* disappeared.

I have since recovered from the PTSD of drawing my friends as their parents and have taken art classes and practiced in order to improve this (almost nonexistent) skill. The picture below is a quick self portrait I did for a class recently and is also featured in the header of my blog, along with an actual picture of me for comparison.

The main takeaway from this is that I do not look 30 years older in the drawing than I do in real life (hopefully). It also stands to motivate you to keep working in your own endeavors of drawing or whatever your medium of choice may be, because we all start somewhere and can only get better in time.

So whatever your issue is drawing faces, or if you’re not sure where to start, I’ve gathered some helpful resources for you all from my numerous trips around the interweb. 

This video is the first of two parts that explains how to begin drawing and shading faces. The instructor uses some neat shortcuts to get a proportional and realistic looking face.

This post from Craftsy.com does an excellent job breaking down the beginning steps and introducing different methods of measuring and putting the features together. Personally, I’ve found those measuring tricks helpful, especially in the placement of the nose and mouth. It’s important to remember, though, that those measurements will vary based on the person’s face, so you might need to alter the precise measurements.

I hope this has encouraged you to try your hand at some faces or at the very least introduced you to some new, interesting art!

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