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How to Draw a Face

Learn to draw faces with personality and character by mastering these basic techniques and proportions.


  • Step 1: Draw head Draw a head by lightly sketching an oval. Place a vertical guideline down the center of the oval, then divide the head with horizontal lines into four equal sections. The upper section marks the top of the head to the hairline. The bottom section marks the chin to the base of the nose.
  • TIP: Hold your pencil between your thumb and forefinger, allowing other fingers to rest on top of the pencil. This provides freedom of movement to draw.
  • Step 2: Draw eyes and nose Add eyes at the oval’s midpoint defined by the central horizontal line. The width of the eyes and the breadth of the nose are roughly equal. Draw the nose, including the nostril wings, ball, and bridge, with the ball sitting at the central lower section’s bottom line. Rest the bridge at the section’s top line. Use your vertical guideline to maintain symmetry.
  • TIP: The ability to look closely is one of the artist’s most important skills. Study your model carefully to capture the correct proportions of the individual’s nose, eyes and mouth.
  • Step 3: Draw the mouth Add the mouth, positioning it in the center of the upper half of the bottom section. Add more fullness to the lower lip than to the bowed upper lip, and express your subject’s mood with the curve of the line between the lips.
  • Step 4: Add ears Draw ears as elongated C-shapes, positioning them between the top of the eyes and base of the nose. Refine the shape, depicting the individual structure of your subject’s ears.
  • Step 5: Draw hair, eyebrows and eyelashes Add hair, eyebrows, and eyelashes with loose hand movements, duplicating the direction hair naturally grows or falls.
  • Step 6: Draw jaw and chin Define the face shape by drawing a line angled inward from the ears to the jaw. A second line, again slanted inward, connects the jaw to the chin. Draw the chin line straight or slightly curved, depending on your subject’s chin structure.
  • TIP: If you have a mirror, you’ll always have a model. Self-portraits are great for mastering the techniques involved in drawing faces.
  • Step 7: Erase guidelines and shade Erase your guidelines and shade the face for the finishing touch, using the broad side of your pencil lead. Shading creates depth and realism, and who knows? You might be the world’s next great artist.
  • FACT: Did you know? Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, the most famous painting in the world, is preserved in a climate-controlled case at the Louvre Museum in Paris.

You Will Need

  • Charcoal or graphite pencil
  • Paper
  • Eraser
  • Model (optional)

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