How To Draw A Face: A Step By Step Guide

Want to learn how to draw a realistic face? You’re in the right place! We asked a professional illustrator to make this simple, step-by-step guide that will help you create an awesome face drawing. It makes drawing easy, even if you’re a beginner.

Drawing tutorials don’t have to be complicated. Even though drawing faces seems intimidating, you shouldn’t be too scared to make the attempt. First, make sure you gather your materials. Grab a pencil, an eraser, and a piece of paper. Keep in mind, hard pencils give you a lighter line. And light lines are best for sketching. Once you have everything ready for your drawing session, here is a step-by-step guide on how to draw a face:

1. Search through the internet to find the perfect face.

First things first. Look through different websites in order to find a face that you want to recreate. Throughout the drawing process, you’re going to look back on this picture as a guide. It will help you figure out exactly where you should place certain facial features and how large or small to draw them.

I’m picking this nice-looking fellow. Of course, you can draw faces of any celebrities, friends, or family members you want. It’s entirely up to you, but if you want to follow this tutorial, let’s stick with my choice for now!

2. Draw a circle.

How To Draw A FaceTo start this drawing tutorial, we’re going to draw a basic circle. This will serve as your skull, so make sure it’s perfect. However, keep in mind this circle isn’t going to be in the finished drawing. When you’re an artist, a lot of the lines you put down are going to be used as guides. They aren’t going to remain until the end.

3. Draw a second smaller circle below your skull.

How To Draw A FaceThis should look like a Venn diagram turned on its side. Once you complete this step, you should draw a third, even smaller circle underneath the second one. This will later serve as the bottom of the jaw.

5. Draw a curved line.

How To Draw A FaceDraw a line connecting the bottom of your skull circle to the bottom of your jaw circle. This should form a U-shape. This will later become the jaw and the cheekbones. You can already see it forming, can’t you?

6. Next, you’re going to draw your forehead which sits inside of your skull.

How To Draw A Face The forehead should join your jaw and cheekbone line. Once you’ve completed this step, you’ll have the basic outline of your face. This should teach you to be patient. You can’t draw a perfect face right away. There are a lot of steps you need to follow before you see real progress.

7. Get rid of your face “snowman” aka those circles you started out with.

How To Draw A FaceGrab your eraser because you’ll need to erase a lot of lines throughout this process. Remember, what you delete is just as important as what you add when it comes to drawing. When you’re done with this step, all that should remain is your actual face shape.

8. Draw a vertical line going down the center of your face.

How To Draw A FaceThe next few steps will be a little mathematical so bear with me! You can do this! For now, all you have to do is draw a straight line down the center of your face. If you want to use a ruler to make sure this is as straight as possible, feel free. Use whatever materials help you.

9. Then comes the top of your eyebrow line.

How To Draw A FaceNow, you should draw a horizontal line as a guide. This should fall at around the top third of your face. This line is going to come in handy soon, so make sure you don’t skip this step.

10. Here comes the line for the center of your eyes.

How To Draw A FaceYou’re not done until you draw a few more horizontal lines. This one should sit a little bit above the top half of your face.

11. Draw another line below the half of the face.

How To Draw A FaceYou should add a few more lines to the center line. This one will become the bottom of your nose, where the nostrils are located. Even though drawing guide lines might feel like an unnecessary step, you’re going to need them if you want your drawing to come out looking perfect.

12. Draw lines for your upper and lower lip.

How To Draw A FaceNext up are your lip lines located underneath the bottom of your nose. These two lines, which cross over your middle line, will measure the top and bottom of your lip. So make sure you know how big your lips will be!

13. Start to draw your eyes.

How To Draw A FaceIt’s time for the fun part, drawing actual facial features! I’m gonna start off with the eye, so I’m drawing the bottom of my top eyelid here, which rests right on top of that center-of-the-eye line I drew.

14. Now draw the bottom of your eyeball.

How To Draw A Face

Facial features are important, so you don’t want to rush them. Make sure you take your time when drawing an eye. You’re going to have to repeat the process again on your other eye so pay attention to what you’re doing so you can recreate it. It’s okay if your eyes aren’t identical, but you don’t want them to be too different.

15. Add in those fabulous eye details.

How To Draw A FaceThis will make your drawing more realistic. Remember to keep checking back with the photograph you’re trying to recreate. That way, you’ll create the most realistic drawing possible. If you try to draw based on your memory, then you’re doing yourself a disservice. It’s easy to make mistakes that way.

16. Alright, next up is your eyebrow!

How To Draw A FaceSince I’m drawing a fellow with big brows, I’m making my eyebrow shape pretty large and in charge. However, if you’re drawing someone with smaller eyebrows, you can make these lines smaller. This is why it’s important to have a photograph to consult throughout your drawing journey.

17. Draw eyebrow hair.

How To Draw A FaceI’ll fill those in by drawing each individual eyebrow hair. I know, I’m a total masochist. However, the hard work is going to pay off. Your drawing is going to look more realistic if you pay attention to the tiniest details. If you overlook them, then your drawing might look more like a caricature.

19. Alright, make your other eye now!

How To Draw A FaceIt’s time to work on your second eye. Repeat the steps you’ve just completed on the opposite side of the face. If this isn’t perfect, that’s okay. Most people don’t have perfectly symmetrical faces. Of course, if you have your eraser on hand, you can always try again if you’ve made a huge mistake.

20. Here comes another circle.

How To Draw A FaceThis one should sit at the top of your nose line. It’s going to be the basis for your character’s nose. Again, check with your photograph to see the size and shape of the nose you want to create. Is it big or small? Wide or narrow? Rounded or pointed? All of these details are important.

21. Then you’re going to draw two smaller circles.

How To Draw A FaceThese sit partly inside the left and the right of your bigger center nose circle. These are going to become your nostrils soon. After all, your character needs to be able to breathe.

22. Draw a small curved line.

How To Draw A FaceThis should sit at the bottom of your center nose circle. This is a line that you aren’t going to erase, so make sure you draw it the way you want it. Soon, your whole nose is going to be finished. You’re on your way to a complete face!

23. Draw your nostrils!

How To Draw A FaceNostrils should be located on either side of that line. They will be located around the center of each small nose circle.

24. Next up, you’re going to draw the sides of your nose.

How To Draw A FaceThis should consist of two curved lines that sit outside those small nose circles. One to the left and one to the right.

25. Erase your nose circles.

How To Draw A FaceI hope you didn’t put away your eraser because you’re going to need it again. Erase the lines that helped you form your nose. This should reveal a legitimate-looking bottom-of-the-nose! Once you’re finished with this step, you should keep that eraser nearby. It still isn’t done doing its job.

26. Complete your nose by drawing some lines to illustrate that nice nose bridge.

How To Draw A Face

Remember, the little details are the most important part of any realistic drawing. Don’t skip this step if you want people to do a double-take at your artwork, wondering whether it’s a photograph or a sketch. If you only do the basics and skip the rest, then your drawing isn’t going to feel as real. You need to put in the extra effort to make your drawing really pop off the page.

27. Next, comes the mouth.

How To Draw A FaceYour face isn’t complete without a mouth. This part looks easier than the rest, but it can still be tricky to get right. It’s best to first observe where your mouth line ends. The mouth I have ends just outside the sides of my nose. So I’m going to draw some mouth line guides there to help me out.

28. Draw your mouth line and upper lip.

How To Draw A FaceNow here comes your upper lip. Everyone has a different lip shape. Some people have bigger upper lips than they do bottoms and vice versa. My guy has a bigger bottom lip so I took that into account when I drew my mouth line.

30. Draw that bottom lip and chin line.

How To Draw A FaceFinish your mouth by creating a bottom lip that works well with the upper lip. Then you can move on to a chin if you want. This is totally optional but I also drew a chin line (the top of my chin), which sits underneath my bottom lip.

32. Draw ears and their folds.

How To Draw A FaceOk, how is this dude going to hear without any ears? Let’s draw one. The top of your ear should almost be level with the top of your eye. Once you finish creating the ear, make sure you add enough detail to it. Draw the folds. Then draw another ear on the opposite side of the face.

35. Ok, now comes your neck (if you want).

How To Draw A Face

It’s time to draw a neck for our character. This will complete their look. Then you can erase any pencil lines that shouldn’t exist in the finished product. Make sure that you have the drawing cleaned up because you’re almost finished now. Soon, you’ll be able to brag to your friends and family about what an amazing job you’ve done!

36. Draw hair on top of their head.

How To Draw A Face

This is one of the most exciting parts because it will bring the entire look together. However, he’s certainly got a lot of hair, so this might take a while. Of course, it’s better to spend more time on a drawing than to rush through it. Make sure you give your art the time and attention it deserves, even if that means coming back to it later.

37. Delete the forehead line.

How To Draw A FaceFor my next magic trick, I’m going to make that forehead line disappear! Now his hairline looks more natural. Remember, there aren’t a lot of hard lines in real life. Most people have curves to their faces and hair. Keep that in consideration when you’re finishing up your drawing.

38. Add some color!

How To Draw A Face

Gasp, it’s the last step: Color it in with light shading along the jaw bone! I ended up giving him blue hair because sometimes change is good. Remember, you don’t have to make your character look exactly the same as the picture you’re referencing. If you want to change the size of their ears or the shape of their nose, feel free. Be as creative as you want. That’s the best part of drawing, after all!

Overall, drawing heads isn’t easy. You’re not going to make it perfect on your first try, so don’t be too hard on yourself. Keep practicing. And once you master this face, you can move on to a female face. Then you can learn how to draw a body. Eventually, you’ll be able to create a human from top to bottom. It’s only a matter of time, as long as you keep putting in the work.

About the author

Illustrator, designer, and all-around creative rover for Thought Catalog

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