Portrait Drawing Fundamentals Made Simple
- 6 hours on-demand video
- 48 downloadable resources
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- Certificate of Completion
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- How to simplified the head into basic shapes so you can drawing it more easily
- How to draw the head from different angles to create more dynamic portraits
- How to make your head drawing more 3D so that it leaps from the page
- Understanding the rules of lighting in order to make your drawing look realistic
- Understanding the basic anatomy of each of the facial features so you can draw them better
- A simple step-by-step process for drawing a realistic portrait from start to finish
- And a whole lot more!
- No previous drawing experience is needed for this course. Even if you are a complete beginner, this course is designed to help you easily understand the concepts and techniques.
This portrait drawing course will teach you how to draw beautiful, realistic portraits that captures the subject's likeness.
What makes this course unique from all the others out there, is how it breaks down the complex topic of portrait drawing into manageable concepts and step-by-step exercises.
You'll begin by learning simple concepts and practicing basic drawing exercises. As your hand dexterity and understanding improve, the lessons will gradually increase in difficulty until, by the end of the course, you will have drawn your every one realistic portrait. Even if you are a beginner with no drawing experience, you'll find the lessons and exercises easy to understand and enjoyable, while still learning critical drawing skills.
Key things you will learn:
How to simplified the head into basic shapes so you can drawing it more easily
How to draw the head from different angles to create more dynamic portraits
How to draw the planes of the head in order to create a three-dimensional effect
Understanding the rules of lighting in order to make your drawing look realistic
Understanding the basic anatomy of each of the facial features so you can draw them better
A simple step-by-step process for drawing a realistic portrait from start to finish
And a whole lot more!
Reference photos and hi-resolution scans of all finished drawings
This course is divided into 5 sections.
First section is going to primarily focus on how to draw the head freehand. You'll learn about the very powerful Loomis Method and how to use to it draw a simplified head in the front, 3/4, and side view.
Then we'll learn how to draw this same head and neck in more dynamic angles like the front view tilted down and up and 3/4 view tilted down and up. This will help you understand how the head is affected by perspective and allow you to tackle many different portrait positions.
Next, you'll learn about the proportions of the head and features and how to place them on the face. This knowledge will become very useful in the next section where we'll build upon the Loomis Method to construct a more three-dimensional head.
Again, we'll cover all the different angles like front, 3/4, and side view. As well as the more dynamic positions.
OK, by now, you should be pretty comfortable with the overall structure of the head and in the third section, we'll cover the fundamentals of realistic shading. You'll learn about the 5 Elements of Shading and how to combine them to create a three-dimensional look. And you'll also learn about the 4 Different Types of Edges and the Rules of Realism and how to use them to add interest to your drawings. Then we'll combine all these concepts and techniques in a drawing exercise.
Now, all these shading skills you've just learned will become very useful in the forth section where you'll learn to draw the each of the facial features.
First, you're going to learn about the anatomy of the feature and point out little tips and details that you need to pay attention to. Then we'll apply everything we've just learned in a step-by-step drawing exercise. You'll see how to take the drawing from a basic lay-in all the way to a complete realistic finish.
And we're going to do this for all the features: eye, nose, lips, ear, and hair.
Finally in the fifth section, once you're comfortable with drawing all the features, we'll combine everything together and draw a complete portrait from start to finish. Even at this stage, you'll be learning some new techniques like how to use Triangulation to keep your lay-in accurate, how to accentuate the shadow to make the portrait more dramatic, how to stylize your drawing to add more interest, and so on.
Who Is This Course For?
As the name suggests, this course is very beginner-friendly. I designed it to help beginning artists learn portrait drawing as quickly and effectively as possible.
We start out by developing the simplest skills first and then gradually add on to it, so that you don't feel overwhelmed. All the concepts and techniques are throughout explained and I never just assume any knowledge on the part of the student.
Also, I know that draw free-hand can be a bit challenging for some beginners so in some of the drawing exercises, I offer additional approaches that you can use as a guide.
So, yeah, if you're a beginning artist who wants to learn portraiture, then this course is definitely for you. On the other hand, if you're a intermediate to advanced portrait drawing artist, then this course is probably not for you.
30-Day 100% Money-Back Guarantee
Remember, there is a 30-day 100% money-back guarantee. There is no reason to hesitate. Enroll now, see if you enjoy the course, and start drawing beautiful portraits today!
- Any one who is interested in learning how to draw beautiful, realistic portraits.
Go here to download all the reference images, course assets, and material list for this course:
Hi, this is Ethan Nguyen for MyDrawingTutorials.com and welcome to this course on the fundamentals of portrait drawing. Here's a brief overview of what we’re going to cover in this course.
First, we’ll cover two different ways of drawing a portrait lay-in, including the very beginner-friendly Grid Method and the more versatile Loomis Method where you’ll learn to construct the head from various angles.
Next, we’ll build upon the Loomis Method and learn to draw a more three dimensional, mannequinized head. This will help us become familiar with the planes of the face, as well as how to construct simplified versions of the features.
Then, we’ll cover the fundamentals of shading where you’ll learn concepts like the 5 Elements of Shading and the Rules of Realism to help make your drawings look three dimensional.
This knowledge will dovetail very nicely with the next section where we’ll dive deeper into each of the facial features and learn about their anatomy and structure, followed by step-by-step exercises where we’ll draw them from beginning to finish.
And finally, we’ll combine everything we’ve learned thus far to draw a complete, fully rendered portrait step-by-step.
Now, here are the materials you’re going to need for this course.
I like to use an HB graphite pencil to sketch in the lay-in, a 2B pencil for the initial rendering, and a 7B pencil (or something similar) to create the really dark shadows and add contrast. You can get a whole pencil set that will have the whole range of pencil in it.
For more detailed work, I also like to use a Staedtler Mars 780 Technical Mechanical Pencil, 2mm. The cool thing about this little guy is that he can keep a very sharp tip for quite a while. If you’re going to get this, you’ll also need a special sharpener (Staedtler Mars Rotary Action Lead Pointer for 2mm Leads) and some replacement lead (Staedtler Mars Carbon Lead, 12 x 2mm, HB). The lead comes in a variety of softness.
Of course, this tool is optional, so if you don’t want to get it, you can just use your regular graphite pencil. Just make sure to keep it sharp.
We’ll need a kneaded eraser for fixing mistakes and lifting highlights.
As far as drawing surface goes, I like to practice on regular printing paper. Instead of throwing used printing paper away, flip them around and use them for practice. I like to keep a pile of these next to my drawing desk. It’s cheap, better for the environment, and you can practice a lot and not be afraid to make mistakes.
If you want to draw bigger, there are also large format printing paper that you can get. Just remember to use both side!
Now that’s just for practice. For archival pieces, I’ll stop being a cheap skate and use the fancier Strathmore 300 Series Bristol Paper, either in smooth or vellum. I tend to like the vellum a little better as it has a little bit of texture which allows it to catch the graphite better. Experiment for yourself and see which you like better.
Next, we’ll also need some tortillions or blending stumps for smoothing out our shading. If you are in a pinch, you can also use a Q-tip or tissue paper.
And lastly, through out the course, you’ll see me using this proportional divider to measure things and compare distances. This tool is option. You can also use a ruler or your pencil to do these measurements. I just like the divider because it’s more precise and easier to use.
Alright! We’re gonna have a lot of fun ahead of us, so let’s get started!
Use the Grid Method to draw a simply lay-in. It doesn’t have to be super detailed, just enough for you to see how the Grid Method works. You can use a more detailed grid (easier) or a simple grid (harder).
You can use the baby reference include in the Course Assets or choose one of your own. Have fun with this assignment!
There are two phases to any portrait drawing: the lay-in phase and the shading phase. Although many artists put a lot of emphasis on the shading phase, the lay-in is arguably the most important aspect.
It is the foundation of the portrait. This is where we capture the gesture and likeness of our subject. Get the lay-in wrong, and all the shading in the world won’t save your portrait.
So, with that said, let’s go over the different methods for doing a good lay-in.
There are two main ways to draw the lay-in: the grid method and the free-hand method. The grid method is the simpler and easier of the two, so let’s go over that one first.
With the grid method, we first draw a square grid on our reference photo. In this example, I’ll divide the side of the reference into 6 equal sections and I’ll divide the top into 4 equal sections. I chose these dimensions because they were the easiest, but you can divide up your reference anyway you like.
Then we’ll draw the same grid on the drawing paper.
Now, using these grids as a guide, we can copy the reference photo over to our drawing paper. We can look at the intersections between the grid and our reference and use these landmarks to help keep our lines accurate.
For example, I can see that the outline of the baby’s forehead intersects with the grid at this point, this point, and this point. So I will mark them out on my paper and use them to help me draw the curve.
Continuing with this process, I can see that the outline of the nose intersects at this point, this point, this point, and this point.
Next, I can see that the baby’s hand fits into these 2 corner boxes, so I’ll sketch it in.
And I know that the nose’s nostril will go into the upper left corner of this box here. The grid will also tell me where to place the eyes, as well as how large to make them.
As you can see, having this grid as a guide makes the drawing so much easier.
And once finished, we would carefully erase the guidelines on our drawing paper and carry on with the shading. By the way, because we will end up erasing the grid lines on our drawing paper, it’s a good idea to put them in really lightly.
When using this method, you’ll be surprised at how accurate your drawing can be, even if you have little experience. So if you are a beginner, I highly recommend you try this method to help you get started and build some confident.
Here are some tips on how to utilize this method
1) Label the rows and columns: In this method, it’s very important to accurately match each square on your reference with the corresponding one on your drawing. But when you have this many squares, it’s easy to get lost.
By labeling your grid, you’ll be able to accurately match the squares every time.
2) Use a plastic overlay: it can be cumbersome to have to draw a grid on your reference every time you do a drawing. One shortcut is to draw the grid onto a plastic sleeve like this one using permanent ink, and then simply insert different references into it every time you draw. That way, you’ll only have to draw the grid on your drawing paper.
3) Shrinking or Enlarging your reference: Another cool thing about this technique is that you can use it to manipulate the size of your reference. For instance, suppose you were drawing from a really small photographs and you would like your drawing to fit onto a larger drawing paper. All you would have to do is make the grid on your drawing paper twice as large. In this case, while the grid on the reference is 1 x 1 inches, the grid on the drawing paper is 2 x 2 inches. So now, your drawing will be twice as big as your reference.
You can also use this same technique to shrink down a large reference.
4) Using a simple grid. One objection some artists have to the grid method is that although it delivers results very quickly, it can become a bit of a crutch. And there is some truth to this. If you rely on it exclusively, it can limit your growth. That’s why I recommend you use it as a stepping stone in your early stages of learning.
Many beginning artists has this limiting belief that they just can’t draw a realistic and accurate portrait. I know I definitely suffered from this when I was starting out. And nothing shatters this belief like sitting down and drawing your first realistic portrait. The grid method can help you do this very quickly and in that sense, it is a great learning tool.
However, to prevent it from becoming a crutch one thing you could do is gradually decrease the dimension of your grid.
You might start out using an 8 x 8 grid, but as you become more confident, try using a 4 x 4 grid or even a 2x2 grid. The simpler the grid, the more freehand drawing you’ll have to do and this will force you to grow as an artist.
5) Using a modified grid: In addition to the simple grid, you can also use a modified grid. The modified grid is essentially a 2 by 2 grid with diagonal lines drawn through the center. It offers the same guidance as a normal grid, while being very simple and convenient. Nowadays, whenever I use the grid method, I almost always use a modified grid.
As you can see, the grid method has many amazing benefits, especially for beginners, but it does come with some limitations. One of which is that it can only be used on photo references.
So although I recommend you use the grid as a learning tool in the beginning, as you become more advanced, you might want to move on to the more dynamic and versatile free-hand method, which we’ll cover in the next lesson.
Your assignment is to practice drawing this Loomis head until you are comfortable with all the steps and have them memorized. Review and pause this video as many times as you need as you draw along. Then try and see if you can draw it all on your own.
It might seem a little complicated at first, but once you’ve done it a few times, you’ll be surprise at how intuitive it is!
When it comes to free-hand drawing the head, there are many methods uses by many artists. One of the most popular (and in my opinion, the most effective) method out there is the Loomis method.
This method was developed by artist, Andrew Loomis, many years ago as a way to construct the head and draw it from any angles. Unlike the grid method, which is limited to photo references, once you master the Loomis method, you’ll be able to draw the head at any angles, from photo, life, and even your imagination.
Here’s how it works…
The head can be simplified into 2 geometric shapes: a sphere for the cranium and a boxy wedge shape for the jaw.
Let’s examine the sphere shape. This shape is formed by taking a perfectly round sphere and cutting off the sides. This puts it closer to the shape of a real head.
And you can examine this for yourself: the top of you head isn’t perfectly spherical. Rather it’s mostly round with the sides being somewhat flat.
From the front, the shape will look like this, with the sides being straight lines. As the head starts to turn, we are able to see more of the side and it looks like an ellipse. As the head continue to turn, the ellipse gradually gets bigger. And when the head is all the way in profile view, the ellipse will be a perfect circle.
Now let’s see how we can use this information to draw a head from the front view.
We’ll start with a circle. We’ll trim off the sides in a bit, but first let’s put in the center line.
The center line is an imaginary line the runs down the center of the face. From the front view, the center line will be right in the middle of the face and just a straight line.
However, as the head turns, the center line will shift off the center and towards the direction that the face is looking.
Also, the un-even terrain of the face will also cause the center line to change from a straight line to a more complex wavy line.
Even though the center line won’t actually show up in a finished portrait, it’s a very helpful tool for visualizing the head as a three-dimensional object.
Next let’s locate the browline. The position of the browline will depend on the tilt of the head.
When the head is look straight ahead, the browline will be leveled with the top of the ears. When the head is tilted up, the browline will be higher then the ears. And when the head is tilted down, the browline will be lower than the ears.
In this case, the head will be looking straight head so the browline will be right in the middle of the circle and leveled with the ears.
Next, let’s locate the hairline. The hairline will be about 2/3 of the way up from the browline. So if we just divide the top portion of the circle into thirds, the hairline will be right here.
Now let’s find the nose. The bottom of the nose will also be about 2/3 of the way down from the browline. So, we can just take the measurement we got for the hairline, bring it down, and mark the bottom of the nose.
Lastly, the chin will also be the same distant down from the nose, once again, we’ll take that same measurement, bring it down from the nose, and mark the bottom of the chin.
Notice how the face is divided into 3 equal parts: from the hairline to the browline, from the browline to the bottom of the nose, and from the bottom of the nose to the bottom of the chin.
This is known as the “Rule of Thirds” and is very effective tool for measuring the proportions of the face. Of course, not every face will conform perfectly to this rule. Some people will have bigger foreheads or shorter chins, but this is a great starting point.
OK, so now let’s trim off the sides of the circle to bring it closer to the shape of a real head.
There’s not really an exact rule for how much to take off here. I like to take off just enough to give the circle and slight oval shape. As you draw more and more heads, you’ll develop a sense for how much to trim off.
And once finished, do a quick check to make sure both sides are symmetrical… and erase the extra lines.
OK, now for another detail…
Here’s top-down view of a head. Notice how the head is slightly thinner in the front than it is in the back. Because of this when looking at the head from the front view we’ll be able to see a bit of the sides.
We can represent this by drawing two thin ellipses on the sides. Unlike normal ellipses, these ones are going to be a bit more pointy at the ends.
Also, notice that the ellipses correspond with the hairline and the bottom of the nose.
To give the sides of the head some dimension, let’s draw in these vertical and horizontal lines. These lines also serves to indicate the tilt of the head. The vertical lines shows that the head is pointing straight up and the horizontal line shows that the head is looking straight ahead.
Now let’s draw in the lower portion of the face. First we’ll roughly estimate the width of the chin. Next, we’ll attach the jaw. The sides of the jaw usually taper in a bit as it moves down. Then connect the lines.
Sometimes I find that it can get a little bit crowded down here. In which case, I’ll deviate from the Rule of Thirds and move the chin line down a tiny bit. But in this case, everything looks fine.
Before going further, let’s erase this guideline here.
There are two rhythm lines that connects the side of the face to the corners of the chin. These lines represents the separation between the front plane of the face and the side planes. And you can probably see this plane change on your own face.
Now, let’s add the neck for some support and our simplified head is complete.
I’ll just go over it one more time and darken and clean up some of the lines.
From here, we can add in the features. I’ll cover exactly how to do this in the future lessons.
For now, your assignment is to practice drawing your own head at least five times until you are comfortable with all the steps and have them memorized. Rewind and pause this video as many times as you need, then try and see if you can draw it all on your own.
It might seem a little complicated at first, but once you’ve done it a few times, you’ll be surprise at how intuitive it is.
Your assignment is to practice drawing this Loomis head until you are comfortable with all the steps and have them memorized. Review and pause this video as many times as you need as you draw along. Then try and see if you can draw it all on your own.
In this lesson, we’ll cover how to use the Loomis method to draw a head from 3/4 view.
The 3/4 is the most quintessential angle in portraiture and the Loomis method really excel that this.
Once again, we’ll start with a circle.
Next, let’s add in the center line as that will really help us to visualize the dimension of the head.
In the last lesson, we saw that when the face is looking straight at us, the center line will be right in the middle.
Since the head is now turned towards the left, the center line will be shifted in that direction. That’s because we are able to see more of the right side of the face and less of the left side.
To find the browline, we have to look at how the head is tilted.
If the head is perfectly leveled, the browline will be in line with the top of the ears. Also it will be right in the middle of the circle.
If the head is tilted up the browline will be above the ears and also slightly up from the middle.
And if the head is tilted down, the browline will be below the ears and slightly down from the middle.
In this case, the head will be leveled and the browline will be in the middle. We’ll examine how to draw the head in various different tilts and angles in a later lesson.
From here, we can use the Rule of Thirds to find the other landmarks. Divide the top portion of the head into 1/3’s. Go 2/3 of the way up from the browline and we have the hairline.
Measure that same distant down from the browline and we’ll find the bottom of the nose.
And lastly, measure that same distant down from the bottom of the nose and we’ll have the bottom of the chin.
Now we can draw the ellipse to represent the side of the head. The height of the ellipse will be the same as the distant from the hairline to the bottom of the nose, so I’ll just mark that out first.
The width of the ellipse will depend on how far the head is turned.
If the head is turned towards us, like in the front view, the ellipse will be rather thin. If the head is turn away from us, like in the side view, the ellipse will appear as a full circle.
The 3/4 view is halfway in between the front view and the side view, so the ellipse will be somewhere in between a full circle and a thin ellipse.
This isn’t an exact science and you’ll have to use the eye to determine if the head looks right. With practice, this process will become intuitive.
Now let’s put in the lines on the side of the head. Then, we’ll draw in the outline of the face. This line will be curved inward slightly.
Now, roughly estimate the width of the chin and attach the jaw.
Then add in the rhythm line that separate the front and side plane of the face. Erase this extra guideline. Add in the neck… and we’re all done.
Your assignment is to draw this head at least 5 times until you become comfortable with it. And in the next lesson, we’ll cover how to draw the head in side view.
Your assignment is to practice drawing this Loomis head until you are comfortable with all the steps and have them memorized. Review and pause this video as many times as you need as you draw along. Then try and see if you can draw it all on your own.
In this lesson, we’ll be drawing the head from the side view.
Just as before, we’ll start with a circle and put in the center line. As the face turns in a certain direction, the center line will shift in that direction. Since the face will be turned to the left, the center line will be all the way to the left. Again, this is because we are able to see only the right side of the face and none of the left side.
The head is not tilted so the browline will be right in middle.
We’ll go 2/3 of the way up from the brow line to find the hairline. And measure the same distance down to find the bottom of the nose… and repeat the process to find the chin.
Next, we’ll draw in the ellipse to denote the side of the head. Except this time, because the side of the head is turned towards us, it will appear as a circle. The height of the circle will correspond to the brow line and the bottom of the nose.
Now, let’s put in the lines of the side of the head. Establish the width of the chin and connect the jaw. Erase this guideline. Put in the rhythm line.
The back of the head will not be quite as round as the circle would suggest. Rather it will end a little closer to the top of the jaw. So, I’ll make that little correction.
Lastly, we’ll draw in the neck. And that’s it!
Now that you are familiar with how to draw the head in the three standard positions of front, 3/4, and side, let’s explore drawing the head in more interesting positions.
The first one we’re going to tackle is the front view, tilted down position. Here’s the reference we’ll be working with.
This position is exactly like the regular front view, except the head will be tilted downward. And as a result, the appearance will be affected by perspective. The browline will be shifted downward to expose more of the top portion of the head and make it appear larger. Whereas the bottom portion of the face (such as the nose, lips, and chin) will receded away from the viewer and therefore appear smaller.
The more the head is tilted down, the stronger this effect becomes. And as you might recall, we can tell the degree of the tilt by looking at the relationship between the browline and the ear.
OK, so now let’s see how all this translate into drawing.
The first step is to draw a circle.
Then put in the center line.
Now, it’s time to find the measurements for the face.
Because the face is now changed by perspective, we won’t be able to reply on the “Rule of Thirds”. Instead, we’ll have to measure things by hand.
For this we’ll need to refer back to the reference. To help us with the measurements, let’s see where that circle that we just drew would fit onto this head.
Well, looking that the curved outline of the head, it’s pretty obvious that the circle would go here. This circle will help us see where the different landmarks will go. I’d normally draw this circle straight onto my reference.
Looking at this circle, we can see that the hair line is about halfway down the circle. The hair is sticking out and covering up the hair line, so I’m assuming the hair line is somewhere up here.
Let’s mark out the hair line on your drawing.
Going back to the reference, I can see that the brow line is roughly 2/3 of the way down from the hair line. So if we divide the distance between the hair line and the circle into thirds, then the brow line will be about here.
Be aware that these are only rough measurements. For practice drawings and sketches like these, that will be enough. Only when I’m doing full, detailed portraits will I try to get really precise measurements.
Ok now let’s find the nose line.
I’ll use the divider to measure the forehead and compare it with the nose area.
We can see that the nose area is slightly shorter. How much shorter? Well, you can do the exact math to figure that out if you’d like, but for now, a rough estimation will be fine. The key thing to remember here is that the nose area is shorter than the forehead.
Now let’s transfer this onto our drawing. We’ll take the distance between the hair and brow line… move it down… and mark the nose line so that it’s a little bit shorter.
We can repeat the same process to find the chin line.
We’ll compare the nose area to the chin area and see that the chin is slightly shorter. So we’ll mark the chin line in on our drawing so that it’s a little shorter than the nose area.
As you can see, the features get progressively smaller as you move down the face. Again, this is because the lower portion of the face is further away from the viewer.
Now let’s draw in the ellipses on the side of the head.
Interestingly enough, the ellipses will not be effected by perspective despite the downward tilt of the head. This is because the top portion of the head more or less remains still and only rotates when the head tilts down.
So the height and width of these ellipses will be the same as the regular front view head. In other words, the height of the ellipses will be about 2/3 the height of the circle.
Now let’s draw in the brow line. Notice how the browline has a slight upward curve to it. This is because the face is slightly rounded and when the head tilts down, we are able to see this curve.
So we’ll draw in that upward curve for the brow line.
As for the lines on the side of the head… rather than being perfectly horizontal and vertical like in the regular front view, the horizontal line will be angled downward… and the vertical line will be slightly angled inward.
The two lines will form sort of an “X”.
Now for the lower portion of the face…
First let’s establish the width of the chin. Since the chin is further away from us, it will appear slightly smaller than in the regular front view.
The jaw lines will angle in a bit… and then connect with the chin.
Notice that this portion of the jaw line is shorter than in the regular front view. And this portion of the jaw line is longer.
To understand why this is, let’s look at the jaw from the side view.
Let’s call this portion of the jaw the “Short Side” and this portion of the jaw the “Long Side”.
When the face is looking forward and we are seeing it from this angle, we are pretty much seeing the entirety of the short side of the jaw. Whereas the long side of the jaw is foreshortened because we are seeing it at an angle. However, when the face is tilted down, the short side will be slightly foreshortened and the long side will appear slightly longer because we are now seeing it head on.
The overall effect of all this is to cause the lower portion of the face to appear more pointy and slender.
Now we can erase this extra guideline here… and draw in the rhythm lines.
Now for the neck. The gesture of the neck is very important in telling the viewer what the head is doing. It provides the context for the drawing, so we have to make sure we get it right.
A good portion of the neck will be covered up by the jaw so it will appear shorter. As a result, the shoulder will also appear closer to the head.
And that’s it, we’re all done.
In this lesson, we’ll learn how to draw the simplified head in front view, tilted up. Here’s the reference we’ll be working with.
When the head tilts upward, the lower portion of the face will be closer to the viewer and therefore appear bigger. On the other hand, the upper portion of the face will be further away from the viewer and therefore appears smaller.
The shape of the jaw will be quite different as well, as you’ll see in a few moments.
Just like before, we’ll start with a circle and put in the center line.
Next we’ll measure out the features. In the previous lesson, we used a divider to do all the measuring. This works very well when you are drawing from a photo reference, but it won’t work if you are drawing from a live model.
For live drawings, we’ll have to measure using the Thumb & Pencil Method.
Here’s how it works…
Hold your pencil in one hand with the thumb pressing against the pencil like so. Then hold up your pencil between you and your subject with your arms fully extended and your elbow locked. The locking of the elbow is important as it ensures that the pencil will always be the same distant from your eyes. This helps to keep your measurements consistent.
Now close one eye and you’re ready to start measuring.
Let’s find the nose line first since it seems to be at the center of the face. Just like before, visualize the circle that we just drew superimposed over the subject.
With this in place, we can check to see where the nose line fall within the circle.
Place the tip of the pencil at the top of the circle and use your thumb to mark the nose line. Now compare this measurement with the area below the nose line.
We can see that the two areas are roughly the same, which means the nose line is half way down the circle. Let’s mark that on our drawing.
Now you can probably take all these measurements by just eyeballing it (and most of the time, I do just eye-ball it). But I wanted to show you the process for taking more precise measurements.
Now for the brow line. I’ll compare the nose area with the forehead… and see that the forehead area is a bit shorter. That tells me that the brow line is slightly above the midway point of the top-half of the circle.
So if this is the midway point, the brow line will be slightly above that.
And we can see that the hair line will be very close to the edge of the circle. No need for measuring there.
Lastly, to find the chin line, I’ll compare the nose area with the mouth area and see that the mouth area is a bit taller. So we’ll just mark that accordingly on our drawing.
Notice that unlike in the regular view, the chin line fits within the circle. Again, this is because the head is foreshortened by perspective.
Now we can draw the ellipse on the side of the head. Just like in the pervious example, the ellipses will be unchanged by perspective and resemble those of the regular front view.
Because the head is tilted up, the brow line will have a downward curve.
And the lines on the side of the head will form a sort of X shape.
Next, establish the width of the chin. In this case, the chin will be closer to the viewer so it will appear slightly larger than in the regular front view.
Before we draw in the jaw, let’s examine what happens to the jaw as the head tilts upward.
From the regular front view, the jaw will appear as the pointy wedge shape that we are used to.
The key thing to note here is that the chin is below the corners of the jaw.
As the head tilts upward, the jaw will become foreshortened and gradually becomes shorter.
At a certain point, the chin will be leveled with the corners of the jaw. When this happens, the jaw will be so foreshortened that it will appear as a straight line.
This effect is easy to understand when looking at the head from the side view. Here we can see that the long side of the jaw is pointing directly at the viewer and is therefore completely foreshortened. This causes the jaw to appear very flat.
If the head continues to tilt, the chin will be above the corners of the jaw and the shape will invert. Now we are able to see a little bit of the long side of the jaw again.
Also, be aware that we are now able to see the underside of the jaw which, previously, has always been hidden. It attaches to the neck along a curve. We’ll have to be sure to include this in the drawing.
OK, back to the drawing.
We can see from the reference that the chin is slightly above the corners of the jaw. So the jaw line will slope down a bit from the chin and then curve upward at the corners.
From this position the jaw will not be quite as angular and consists more of subtle curves. And draw in the rhythm lines.
Next, let’s draw in the under side of the jaw that we talked about earlier. It will curve around the neck a bit and then connect to the corners of the jaw. This area is made up of muscles and skin, so we’ll want to use soft curving lines.
And finally, we’ll draw in the neck. Since the head is tilted up, the neck will appear longer because we are seeing more of it. There are these two muscles called the sternomastoid that stretch from the bottom of the ears to the center of the clavicle (aka the collar bone). And these are the clavicular heads of the sternomastoid. We’ll cover these muscles more in-depth in the anatomy drawing course. For now, just draw along with the video.
And the shoulder will be positioned further down. And add in a hint of the Adam’s apple. And we’re all done!
Now that we know how to draw the head tilted up and down in the front view, let’s examine how to do it in the three-quarter view.
Here’s the reference we’ll be working with.
We’ll start with a circle. Next, we’ll put in the center line. Since the head is in three quarter view, the center line will be shifted towards the direction the head is looking. In it’s case, it’s shifted to the left. Also, since the head is tilted down the center line will also have a tilt to it.
Now let’s find out where the features are going to be.
Draw the circle on the reference. And the thing that jumps out the most to me is the hair line so let’s find that first.
If this mark here is the half way point of the circle, then we can see that the hair line is slightly above that point.
And if this mark here is the half way point between the hair line and the bottom of the circle, then we can see that the brow line is slightly below that point.
Now we can compare the forehead area with the nose area and see that the nose area is slightly smaller. We’ll use that measurement to mark the nose line.
And we’ll compare the nose area with the mouth area and see that the mouth area is slightly smaller still.We’ll use that measurement to mark the chin line.
Now for the ellipse on the side of the head. Compared to the tilted down front view, the ellipse will be a bit more rounded, but other than that, it won’t change much.
Since the head is looking down, the brow line will have an upward curve.
Connect the brow line to the horizontal line on the side of the head to indicate the downward gaze of the head.
And give the vertical line a slight lean to indicate the forward tilt of the head.
Again, the two lines will for an X shape.
Now draw in the side of the face… and establish the width of the chin.
Notice that the portion of the chin that’s on the right side of the center line is longer than the portion that’s on the left side. This is because we are able to see more of the right side of the face.
And in face, this applies for the entire head whereby everything on the right side of the center line is larger than the left side.
Now connect the jaw line. Because of the downward tilt of the head, the short side of the jaw line will end up a little higher on the ellipse.
Erase the guideline… and draw in the rhythm line.
Now for the neck. Since the head will be covering up most of the left side of the neck, we’ll only see the right side. The sternomastoid will be more prominent on the right side to show the turn of the neck.
And the shoulder will be slightly higher on the right side. And we’re all done.
In this lesson, we going to go through how to draw a head in 3/4 view, tilted up. Here is the reference we’ll be working with.
By now, you should be pretty familiar with all the steps so we’ll go over them without diving into too much details.
We’ll start with a circle.
Since the head is looking up, the center line will be tilted accordingly.
Now for the features. Let’s find the nose line first. Draw the circle on your reference… find the midway point… and we can see the the nose line is slightly above that point.
Next, find the midway point between the nose line and the top of the circle and we can see that the brow line is slightly above that point.
And the hair line will be very close to the top of the circle.
Lastly, we’ll compare the nose area with the mouth area and see that the mouth area is slightly larger. And we’ll use that measurement to mark the chin line.
The ellipse on the side of the head will be the same size and orientation as the 3/4 tilted down head even though the head is looking in the opposite direction.
Next, draw in the downward curving brow line… and the lines on the side of the head.
Now, draw in the side of the face… and establish the width of the chin.
In the reference, the chin is above the corners of the jaw, therefore the shape of the jaw will be inverted.
The jaw line will curve down from the chin and then curve up to connect with the ellipse.
Now we can erase the guideline. Now, draw in the rhythm line. Next, we’ll draw in the underside of the jaw. The shape will roughly resemble the shape of the jaw line, except it’ll be a bit more curvy.
Lastly, we’ll draw in the neck. Since the head is looking up, we’ll be able to see a lot more of the neck.
The clavicle is changed by perspective so the left side of the clavicle will be slightly higher than the right side. Because the head is tilted back, the skin on the back of the neck will be slightly bunched up.
And we’re all done!
Your assignment for this lesson is to review the lesson and handout (see the Course Asset folder) until you are comfortable with all the information. If you can, try to memorize them! But don’t worry if you can’t; once we start applying these proportions in a drawing, you will retain them much better.
Knowing how to construct a simplified head using the Loomis Method is a great start. However, this head is still far from being a complete portrait.
So in the next few lessons, we’re going to learn how to develop this head further to bring it closer to an actual realistic head.
We’ll be adding in simple features as well as the planes of the head to build it into a three-dimensional object.
But in order to do that, we’ll have to become familiar with the basic proportions of the face. So let’s go over that real quick.
Overall Dimensions of the Head
From the front view, the head can fit into a box 3 and 1/2 units tall and 3 units wide. Although the head fit snugly into the box at the top to bottom, there’s actually a little bit of room along the side.
This tells us that the head is a rectangular shape with the height being slightly more than the width.
You might be wondering why the head is 3 and 1/2 units tall. Where did that number come from? Well, it turns out, it’s the result of the “Rule of Thirds”.
As you might recall, the “Rule of Thirds” states that the face can be divided into 3 equals sections. And when we look at this diagram here, we can see that at work.
The first unit of height corresponds with the bottom of the nose. The second unit corresponds with the brow line. And the third unit corresponds with the hair line… with the hair area making up the remaining 1/2 unit.
So as you can see, by constructing the head using the methods laid out in the previous lessons, your head will automatically fall into these proportions.
Now let’s go over the proportions of the facial features.
Proportions of the Eyes
Concerning positioning, the eyes will fall right at the midway point of the height.
To figure out how far apart to space the eyes, we would simply take the width of the head, which is measured from one side to the other (without including the hair) and divide this distant into 5 equal parts.
The section in the middle will represent the distance between the eyes. The two sections on the side of it, will represent the eyes themselves. And the two sections on the out edge will represent the space between the eyes and the side of the face.
OK, that was quite a mouthful! So let me summarize it this way: The eyes are 1 eye-width apart, with 1 eye-width of space on each sides.
Proportions of the Nose
Regarding positioning, the nose will fall right at the center of the face. That’s obvious enough.
And we already know from the “Rule of Thirds” where the bottom of the nose will be so that’s easy as well.
The width of the nose will be equal to 1 eye-width. So when drawing, we would simply take the space between the eyes and bring it down to find the width of the nose.
Proportions of the Lips
Regarding position, the lips will be 1/3 of the way down from the nose. So if we divided the distance between the bottom of the nose and the chin into thirds, the center of the lips will be right there.
The width of the lips will be slightly smaller than the distance between the pupils.
Proportions of the Ears
Front the front view, the ears will sit between the browline and the bottom of the nose.
From the side view, the ears will sit in the lower back quadrant of the head. This is most easily seen in the simplified head. In this diagram, the ear will fit into this quadrant here. This is one reason why it’s so helpful to divide the side of the head into sections when drawing a simplified head.
Side View of the Head
From the side view, the head can also be put into a box. The dimension of this box will be slightly different from the front view.
The height of the box will still be 3 and 1/2 units, as that won’t change even when you look at the head from the side.
However, the width of the head will be slightly larger at 3 and 1/2.
That is to say, the head will be more square-shaped when viewed from the side.
Most of the facial features will be concentrated towards the front, with the eyes, nose, and lips fitting within the first unit of the width.
The corner of the lips will correspond with the pupils. The edge of the lips and chin will be inline with the edge of the forehead.
And finally, the ear will fall in the third unit of width and lies between the brow line and bottom of the nose.
Now, I know this is a lot of information to take it, so I’ve created a cheat sheet with all these information that you can use as a reference. You can download this sheet by going to the address on the screen.
Remember, these proportions represents an average and that most individual faces will vary slightly from these measurements. But knowing them will still be very useful.
For instance, when drawing a person whose face does not match these proportions, you’ll be able to recognize that and pin point the characteristics that make their face unique.
Also, it will help you a great deal when designing your own heads or when trying to diagnose why a particular head drawing doesn’t look that way you would like.
For now, your assignment is to review this lesson until you are comfortable will all the rules of proportions. And ideally, if you can, commit them to memory.
In the next lesson, we’re going to learn how to use these rules to draw a 3D head.
Your assignment is to practice drawing this 3D head until you are comfortable with all the steps and have them memorized. Review and pause this video as many times as you need as you draw along. Then try and see if you can draw it all on your own.
Now that we’re familiar with the rules of proportions for the head, let’s see how we can use that information to draw a 3D head. Drawing these mannequinized heads will help you to better understand the placements and basic construction of the features and also how the head will be affected by perspective when viewed from different angles. So let’s get started!
The first step is to draw a simplified head from the front view using the steps we covered in the previous lessons…
OK, so here’s our starting point. Now, extend the jaw lines upward until they meet the top portion of the head. Then erase the extra side portion. This will bring the drawing even close to the shape of a real head.
Now, let’s find the placements of the features.
We know that they eyes will be 1 eye-width apart, with 1 eye-width of space on each sides. In this drawing, the space on each sides of the eyes has already been marked out for us, so I’ll just divide the brow line into 3 sections.
And this section in the middle will represent the space between the eyes. And these two sections here will represent the eyes themselves.
If everything works out perfectly, all 5 sections should be the same size. But if they are a little off, that’s completely fine. Remember, the rules of proportions are meant to be used as a guide, not as an exact measurement.
OK, we’ll leave it at that for now and begin drawing the nose.
There is a keystone shape called the glabella that sits between the eyebrows and at the top of the nose. Let’s draw in this in. This shape is slightly narrower than the space between the eyes.
Then we’ll go to the nose line and draw another keystone shape to represent the bottom of the nose. This shape will be slightly narrower than the first.
Now connect the two shapes via straight lines. This will represent the bridge of the nose.
To finish out the nose, we’ll draw two small triangles on the side. These will represent the nostrils. And then connect them with the top of the nose bridge.
By the way, as you might recall, the width of the nose is equal to the space between the eyes. So as you are drawing the nose, be sure to calibrate the size so that it will fit within that gap.
Now we can turn our attention to the eyes. For simplicity, we will be drawing eyes and eyebrows as a single unit. So, I’ll reinforce the browline and close out the bottom portion of the eye area.
Next, we’ll fill in the forehead. Draw another large keystone shape that extend from the brow line to the hair line. This will represent the front plane of the forehead. Then connect this keystone shape with the side of the head using slightly sloping lines. Then connect that point to the edge of the face using steeper lines. You’ll want this line to connect with the edge of the face at slightly below the eyes.
Now we’ll just erase these lines here and change them into straight lines. And we’ll do the same for these curves. Erase the curve… and change it to a straight line. I’ll end the line right about there… and connect it to the edge of the face. Do the same for the other side.
OK, now for the lower portion of the face.
The lips will be about 1/3 of the way down from the nose. So, if we divide the space between the bottom of the nose and the chin into thirds, the center of the lips will be right here.
From here, we’ll draw a small V shape and close it out with a smaller V shape. We should end up with a sort of triangle shape like this. This will represent the center of the upper lip.
And we’ll just connect it to the nose like so. This area will represent the philtrum. The philtrum is the grove that sits between the base of the nose and the top of the lips.
To finish out the upper lip, we just have to figure out how wide it’s going to be. The width of the lips will roughly correspond to the center of the eyes. So, if we estimate the the center of the eyes would be at these points. Then the corners of the lips will be about here.
If you think this would make the lips too wide, you can bring the points in a little closer.
Extend the upper lips to these corners. And then finish out the lower portion. The line will curve up in the middle before sloping down to meet the corners.
To draw the lower lips, we’ll first drawing a short horizontal line and then angle it upward until it connects with the corners.
Then we’ll divide up the planes of the lower lip by drawing in these lines.
Now connect the corners of the lips to the corners of the nose. Then connect the corners of the lips to these points here. Then connect these points to the corners of the jaw. These new lines we just made represent yet more plane changes on the face.
Next, we have the chin. Draw two small keystone shapes underneath the lips like so. These will represent the divot that lays between the lower lip and chin.
Now just connect the corners of this shape with the corners of the chin and we got ourselves a three dimensional chin!
Lastly, we’ll draw in the ears. The ears will fit between the brow line and the bottom of the nose. We’ll depict the ears with simple shapes formed with straight lines. And that’s it, we’re all done!
Your assignment is to practice drawing this 3D head until you are comfortable with all the steps and have them memorized. Review and pause this video as many times as you need as you draw along. Then try and see if you can draw it all on your own.
In this lesson, we’ll be drawing a 3D head in three-quarter view. Once again, we’ll start by drawing a simplified head in three-quarter view.
Next, we’ll draw in the keystone glabella shape between the eyes. Here, we have to consider the effect that perspective have on our drawing.
When we are looking at an object from the front view, every part of the object is of an equal distant from our eyes. Therefore, it will appear as normal. However, when the object is turned away from us, as in the three-quarter view, perspective will cause it to change in appearance.
More specifically, the width of the object will appear shorter. This is simply due to the fact that we are no longer able to see the entirety of the object. In drawing, this effect is called foreshortening. The more severely the object is turned away from us, the more foreshortened it will appear.
There’s a few other things going here as well, but I won’t boggle you with too much details. For now, just remember that when something is seen in perspective, it will appear shorter than if you viewed it from the front view.
And if you’d like to learn more about drawing perspective, check out my “Perspective Made Simple” course. OK, back to the drawing…
So if the glabella is a keystone shape when viewed from the front, then in the three-quarter view, it will pretty still hold this shape, except it will be a bit thinner.
Next, we’ll draw in another keystone shape at the nose line to represent the bottom of the nose. Again, this shape will be slightly thinner than it’s front-view counter-part. And also, it will be shift to the left of the glabella.
Then connect the two shapes with straight lines. Now, let’s draw in the triangle that will be the nostril. The left nostril is hidden by the nose, so we will only draw in the right nostril.
Notice that the nostril is wider in this three-quarter view than it is in the front view. This is because the nostril is now turned more towards us and so we can see more of it.
The general rule here is that all the front planes of the head will now be turned away from us in the three-quarter view and therefore appear thinner.
All the side planes (that are on the right side of the head) will now be turned towards us and therefore appear wider.
And all the side planes (that are on the left side of the head) will now be only partially visible or complete hidden altogether.
Keep this in mind as you go through the rest of this drawing.
Now, connect the nostril to the bridge of the nose.
Before continuing, I’ll just erase this center line as we won’t be needing it anymore.
Next, draw in the front plane of the forehead while keeping in mind the effect of perspective. Then connect it to the side of the head like so. And since the side of the head is not visible on the left side, we’ll just leave it about there.
Now connect that point to the top portion of the ear.
Next, erase this curve here and change it to a straight line… and do the same for the other side.
Now, draw in the borders for the eye areas. We’ll leave the bottom edge of the eyes unfinished for now.
Then, erase this curve here and change it to a straight line to finish out the right eye. And finish out the left eye with a slanted line.
Now we’ll draw in the cheek bone. It will angle out slightly from the corner of the eyes like this… and then connect back to the ears.
This is very similar to what we did in the front view, except from that angle, we were not able to see the slightly angling out of the cheek bones and so it just looked like a straight line.
And let’s put in this same cheek bone angle for the left side… and erase the extra line.
Now for the lower portion of the face. To find the placement of the lips, divide the distance from the bottom of the nose to the chin into thirds. Go 1/3 of the way down and mark the center of the lips.
Draw in a small V shape… and close it out. And connect it to the bottom of the nose to form the philtrum.
To finish out the upper lip, we have to figure out how wide the lips should be.
I’ll mark these two points as an estimation of where the pupils would be and then draw slightly angled lines down from these points to find the corners of the lips. The angle of the lines will be roughly equal to the angle of the nose.
Connect the upper lip to these corners and finish out the bottom edge.
Now draw in the lower lips. Remember, because of foreshortening, the left side of the lower lip will be thinner than the right side.
Connect the corner of the lips to the corner of the nose. And since the left corner of the nose is hidden, we’ll just end the line right at the edge.
Then connect the corner of the lips to the cheek bones. And connect the cheek bone to the corner of the jaw.
Now, draw in the divot between the bottom lip and the chin. And then, connect the corners to form the chin.
Now, we’ll draw in the ear in this little quadrant that we marked out.
Let me just darken the lines so you can see it better.
And we’re all done!
Your assignment is to practice drawing this 3D head until you are comfortable with all the steps and have them memorized. Review and pause this video as many times as you need as you draw along. Then try and see if you can draw it all on your own.
In this lesson, we’ll learn how to draw the 3D head in side view. Once again, we’ll start by drawing a simplified head in side view.
Next we would draw in the glabella. However, since the head is turn to the side, the glabella won’t be visible and all we would see is an inward divot below the browline.
Then draw a somewhat longer triangle at the nose line to represent the nostril. Again, since the head is turned away, the front part of the nose won’t be visible.
Connect the nostril to the inward divot to form the nose bridge. Now connect the other end of the nostril to the top of the bridge to complete the nose.
To draw in the eye, we’ll simple darken the brow line and put in a short horizontal line at the corner of the nose. We’ll leave the eye unfinished for now and turn our attention to the forehead.
The front plane of the forehead will be turned away so only a small portion of it will be visible. We’ll represent this with a slanted line up from the brow line to the hair line and then close it out with a short line across.
I’ll make the front portion a slight curve to give the head a rounded look.
Then connect this front plane to the circle on the side of the head. And connect that point to the top portion of the ear area.
Now erase this curve here and change it to a straight line. Then erase this curve here and finish out the eye.
Next draw a short line angling out from the corner of the eye. This will represent the cheek bone. And then connect it to the ear.
Now for the lower portion of the face.
To locate the center of the lips we’ll dividing the area between the nose and chin into thirds and go 1/3 of the way down.
Then we’ll draw in the upper lip with a small triangle shape like so. This will represent the very front of the upper lip. Now connect it to the base of the nose.
Next we’ll need to find out how wide the lips will be. Remember, the corner of the lips correspond with the pupil. So if we estimate the the pupil would be about here, then the corner of this lips will be about here.
Draw a line down to this corner and finish out the lower edge. The lower edge will slope upward and then slope downward to connect with the corner.
Before drawing in the lower lip, I’ll erase this line here to make some room. The lower lip will protrude out a bit and then connect back to the corner with a straight line.
And we’ll draw in this little line here to denote the plane change in the lower lip.
One thing to notice is that the upper lip protrudes out slightly compare to the lower lip.
Now connect the corner of the lips to the corner of the nose.
Then connect the corner of the lips to the cheek bones. And connect the cheek bone to the corner of the jaw.
To finish out the lower portion, we’ll draw in the divot between the lips and the chin, which in the side view will just look like two simple lines angling inward.
Then just connect it to that jaw line to form the chin.
Now, we’ll draw in the ear in this little quadrant that we marked out.
One thing to note though is that the back portion of the head does tend to be a bit bigger than the simplified head would suggest. So I’ll expand that area as well.
Again, we’re just trying to bring the head closer to the proportions of the side-view head.
Now, we can draw in the neck to finish things out. And we’re all done!
Now that you know how to draw the 3D head in the standard angles, we can start exploring the more dynamic positions. In this lesson, we’ll be drawing a 3D head in front view tilted down. We’ll be using the same references as the simplified head lessons.
Start by drawing a simplified head in the front view, tilted down. Extend the jaw lines upward until it meets the edge of the head… and erase the excess portion.
Next, we’ll draw in the glabella. To help me center it on the face, I’ll divide the browline into three equal sections. And I’ll place the glabella within the middle section. Since the head is tilted down, the height of the glabella will be foreshortened, but the width will be unaffected.
Then, we’ll draw the tip of the nose. Again, just like the glabella, the height will be foreshortened, but the width will be mostly the same as the regular front view.
Now connect the two shapes. The nostrils will be a bit interesting. Since the nose is tilted down, the corners of the nostrils will become higher than the tip of the nose. And because they are turned away from us, they will appear quite thin
Next, finish out the nose by connecting the nostril to the top of the nose bridge. Then draw in the front plane of the forehead. Connect it to the side of the head. Now connect those points to the outer edge of the head.
Because the head is tilted down, the contact points will be shifted so that they are above the eyes. This is in contrast to the regular front view where the contact points are below the eyes.
This can be seen easily by looking at the reference. These little changes by perspective are subtle but they add to a big difference. That’s why when drawing the head in different angles, it’s very important to study the reference or model to pick up these little shifts in perspective.
Next, erase this curve here. And connect these points to the browline with straight lines. I want to give the lines a slight inward angle, so we’ll actually cut of a tiny portion of the browline.
Then erase the curved browline and change it to straight lines. Notice how the browline is sloping upward slightly.
Now finish out the eyes with the side and bottom edge. Since the eyes are now angled away from the viewer, they should be a little bit smaller than the regular front view.
Also, the lower edge of the eyes will have an upward slope just like the browline.
Next, draw in the short angled line for the cheek bone… and connect it to the edge of the head. And do the same for the other side.
Now for the lower portion of the face. Remember that the lips will be 1/3 of the way down from the nose line. Since the head is tilted down, the top section will be slightly taller than the bottom section. This will cause the location of the lips to shift down a bit.
But, because this difference is so slight, we’ll go ahead and ignore it for not. I just wanted you to know this technical detail in case you wanted to be more precise.
So, we’ll draw in the upper lip. Connect it to the bottom of the nose to form the philtrum.
Now to find the corners of the lips. This is where it gets interesting again. In the regular front view, the corners of the lips sits below the top of the lips.
But in the tilted down view, the corner of the lips will be leveled with the top of the lips. And if the head is tilted down enough, it would even be higher than the top.
This gives the lips a slight upward curve and makes it look like it’s almost smiling. This pattern of upward curves can be seen through out the face… from the lips… to the nose… to the brow line.
The reason for this is very simple. The face is curved. And the features wrap around around the curved face. So when the head is tilted up or down, we are able to see this curve. When the face is tilted up, we see a downward curve. And when the face is tilted down, we see an upward curve.
OK, back to the drawing. The corners of the lips will be leveled with the top. The bottom edge of the upper lip will still slope upward before leveling out and connecting to the corner. It will just be more subtle.
The lower lip will be larger than the upper lip. Not just because it’s naturally larger, but also because in the tilted down view, the lower lip is turned towards us and we are able to see more of it.
Now, connect the corner of the lips to the nostrils. Connect the corners of the lips to the cheek bones. And connect the cheek bones to the corners of the jaw.
Next, draw in the divot below the lips. The lower portion of the divot will be larger than the top portion. Again, this is because the lower portion is turned towards us and we are able to see more of it. And then draw in the chin.
Next, we’ll draw in the ears. The position of the ears will be shifted so they won’t fit between the brow and nose line anymore. To find out the exact positioning, we’ll have to refer to the reference. Here, we can see that the ears are roughly between the hair line and the brow line.
The shape of the ear will differ a bit from the regular front view. Just like the head itself, the ears will be more top-heavy when they are tilted down. This is because the top portion of the ears will be closer to the viewer. So when drawing the ears, I’ll make the top portion slightly larger and then have it taper inward as we go down the ear.
I notice that the top of the head looks a little too tall, so I’ll flatten it a bit. And we’re all done.
If you find that you are having a hard time with this position, one exercise that could help is to print out the photo reference and draw the planes of the head over it.
You’ll just follow all the steps that we laid out in this lesson, except it’ll be a lot easier to just draw over reference photo instead of drawing it freehand.
You can even get photos out of magazines and practice drawing over the difference faces. This is a great way to warm up and become familiar with challenging poses.
One thing to notice is that the hair line will not always match up with references. I’ll include examples of me doing this exercise with the reference materials. Have fun with this exercise!
In this lesson, we’ll be drawing the 3D head in front view, titled up. Start by drawing the simplified head tilted up in front view.
Extend the jaw lines up until they meet the edge. And erase the excess portion. Divide the browline into thirds to help us center the features.
Draw the glabella within the middle section. This glabella will be slightly larger than in the tilted down angle.
When the head is tilted down, the glabella is foreshortened because it is angled away from the viewer. But when the head is tilted up, the glabellla is facing the viewer more head on and therefore appears larger.
This pattern also holds true for the eyes, tip of the nose, upper lip, divot below the lips, and the chin. To see this more clearly, let’s look at the head in the side view.
When the head is tilted down, notice how the glabella, eyes, tip of the nose, upper lip, divot below the lips, and the chin are all angled away from the viewer. But when the head is tilted up, all these same areas are now turned towards the viewer.
OK, back to the drawing. Draw in the tip of the nose. It will be taller than the glabella.
Then connect the two shapes to form the nose bridge. The nose bridge is foreshortened and should appear shorter.
Now let’s draw in the nostrils. The corners of the nostrils will be below the tip of the nose, creating a downward curve to the nose.
This is the opposite pattern we saw in the previous lesson. When the head is tilted down, all the features will have an upward curve. And when the head is tilted up, all the features will have a downward curve. Now complete the nose by connecting the nostril to the top of the nose bridge.
Next, draw in the planes of the forehead. As you can see the top of the head is quite a bit smaller than the regular front view.
Now erase this curve here and change it to a straight line. I want it to angle in a bit so we’ll actually cut of a little bit of the browline. Do the same for the other side.
Then erase the browlines and change them to straight lines. Notice how they have a slight downward slope.
Next, connect these points to the edge of the head. Because of the up tilt of the head, the contact point will be quite a bit below the eyes, at about the nose line.
Now, erase these curves here. And finish out the eyes.
Draw in two short angled lines for the cheek bones. And connect them to the edge of the head.
Now for the lower portion of the face. The lips should be 1/3 of the way down from the nose.
Just like in the previous lesson, perspective will change this a bit. Because of the tilt of the head, the bottom 1/3 will be closer to the viewer and appear larger while the top 1/3 will appear smaller.
This will shift the location of the lips up slightly. But… because the effect is so slight, we can safely ignore it. Just know that technically that’s what’s going on.
We’ll draw in the center of the upper lip. And connect it to the nose to form the philtrum.
The corner of the lips will be quite a bit below the upper lips. This will give the lips that downward curve and make it look almost like it’s frowning.
The bottom edge of the upper lip will slope up very slightly before connecting to the corners.
The lower lip will be leveled with the corners and is pretty much a straight line. Add in the plane changes.
Now connect the corner of the lips to the nose and cheek bones. And connect the cheek bones to the jaw.
Draw in the divot below the lips. Remember, the top side of the divot will be slightly taller than the bottom side.
And connect the corners to form the chin. Now that most of the details are filled in, I can see that the jaw is a bit too narrow, so I’ll widen it a bit.
Now for the ears. Looking at the reference, we can see that the ears sit roughly between the nose line and the chin. From this angle, the bottom portion of the ears will appear larger so I’ll make sure to reflect that in the drawing. And we’re all done!
In this lesson, we’ll be drawing a 3D head in three-quarter view tilted down. This is a slightly dramatic pose and is quite common in comic book drawings.
Here’s the reference we’ll be working with. OK, start by drawing a simplified head in this pose just like we did before. Before we start drawing in the head planes, let’s take a minute to analyze the reference.
The perspective for these types of poses can be tricky. So one thing that helps me to understand it better is to enclose the head in a box.
Here’s what that box would look like. You can draw this box straight over your reference. As you can see each side of the head corresponds to a side of the box.
To analyze the perspective of the face, we would take a look at this side of the box here.
Notice how the horizontal lines of this side is slightly angled downward. This tells us that the lines on the face will also have this same position.
This is easy to spot when you pay attention to the corners of each features.
The left end of the browline is higher than the right end. The left nostril is higher than the right nostril. And the left corner of the lips is higher than the right.
So when drawing in the features, we’ll make sure to capture this slope.
Next, let’s examine what the shapes of the face will look like when viewed in in the 3/4 tilted down angle. The most common and important shape we need to know is the keystone shape of the glabella so let’s analyze that.
To do this, just draw the shape on a piece of paper like so. I included a center line to make thing easier to see. Hold it in front of you at eye level and manipulate it however you want. Then close one eye and look at the shape.
Here’s how the glabella appears when viewed head on. Here what it looks like when it is turned in 3/4 view. And here what happens when it tilted down.
Notice how the top and bottom lines are slanted down to the right. And the lines on the sides are leaning towards the left.
Whenever I’m doing something in perspective and I’m not quite sure what it’s suppose to look like, I’ll use this technique to clear things up.
OK, now we are ready to continue with the drawing. Draw in the glabella. Remember to observe the downward slant of the top and bottom line. And the lean of the lines on the side.
The tip of the nose will be slightly to the left of the glabella. And since it is also a keystone shape, it will follow the same pattern as the glabella.
Connect the two shapes to form the nose bridge. The corner of the nostril will be slightly above the tip of the nose. And the left nostril will not be visible.
Finish out the nose by connecting the nostril to the top of the nose bridge.
Now draw in the front plane of the forehead. This is also a keystone shape so it will follow the same pattern as the glabella and tip of the nose.
Connect the corners to the side of the head. And connect this point to the ear area.
Now erase the browlines and change them to straight lines. Notice how the browline form an upward curve.
Next, erase this line here and change it to a straight line. And do the same thing for the other side. Then, erase this curve here. And finished out the eye.
On the left side, we are able to see a tiny bit of the bridge of the nose. So let’s draw that in. Now we can finish out the left eye.
Next, draw the small angled line for the cheek bone… and connect it to the ear area.
Now for the lower portion of the face. As usual, the lips will be roughly 1/3 of the way down from the nose.
The lips will also follow that downward slanting pattern, so notice how this point of the upper lip is higher than this point.
Then, connect it to the nose. The left corner of the lips will be here… and the right corner will be slight lower.
Connect the upper lip to the corners. And finish out the bottom edge. The line of the lower lip will also have a slant to it. Connect it to the corners. And add in the planes.
Connect the corner of the lips to the corner of the nose. And then connect them to the cheek bones.
And connect the cheek bone to the jaw. Draw in the divot below the lips. And connect them to the chin.
I’ll fill in the left side of the face a bit. Now for the ears. And we’re all done!
In this lesson, we’ll be drawing a 3D head in three quarter view looking up. Here’s the reference we’ll be working with. As usual, we’ll begin by drawing a simplified version of this head.
Now let’s analyze the perspective of the head. Just like before, we’ll enclose the head in a box. Here we can see that the lines of the face also follow the same slanted pattern as the previous example.
Now let’s see how the glabella shape is affected by perspective. Here is the shape from head on view. Here it is in 3/4 view. And here it is in 3/4 view looking up.
As you can see, just like when the head is looking down, the top and bottom line will have that same downward slant. Except this time, the lines on the side will lean towards the right instead of the left.
OK, now we are ready to start drawing. First we’ll draw the glabella while observing the details that we just learned about. Notice how the top and bottom lines are slanted. And the lines on the side are leaning towards the right.
The tip of the nose will be quite a bit to the left of the glabella. And the lines will also follow the same pattern. Connect the two parts to form the nose bridge.
The corner of the nostril will be slightly below the tip of the nose. And also the left corner will be higher than the right. Connect the nostril to the top of the nose bridge.
Now draw in the front plane of the forehead. And connect it to the side of the head. Now connect that point to the ear area.
Erase the browlines and change them to straight lines. Notice the downward curve of the browline.
Next, erase this curve here and change it to a straight line. I want to have the line angle in a bit so I’m going to cut into the browline a little. Do the same thing for the other side.
Now finish out the eyes. Draw in the cheek bones. And connect it to the ear area.
Now for the lower portion of the face. The lips will be roughly 1/3 of the way down from the nose.
Notice how this point of the upper lip is higher than this point. That is a very important detail and you’ll see it through out the lips.
The corners of the lips will be quite a bit below the upper lip. And of course, the left corner will be higher than the right corner.
The lower lip will be slanted and is pretty much a straight line. Now, draw in the divot below the lips… and the chin.
And before we forget, let’s connect the corners to the nostrils and cheek bones. And connect the cheek bone to the jaw.
I’ll close out the side of the face over here. The ear will look pretty much the same as the regular three-quarter view, except it’s just rotated to the right a little. Let’s expand the back of the head a little.
This concludes our section on drawing the 3D head. But before we finish it out, I want to briefly cover the different positions of the side view head.
We won’t go through the step by step process for drawing it because the side view head is pretty simple. In the side view, the head will not be affected by perspective when it is tilted up or down. Can you see why?
That’s right! Regardless of whether the head is looking up or down, all the features will be the same distant from the viewer. So the head will pretty much look the same.
The only change is that the head will be rotated either left or right. And the gesture of the neck will be different.
When the head is tilted up, the front of the neck will be stretched and the back will be pinched. And when the head is tilted down, the front will be pinched and the back will be stretched.
I’ll include these two drawings with the course materials so you can use it as reference.
Observe objects around you and try to identify the 5 Elements of Shading on those objects. This can be harder when there are multiple light sources so try to do this in a room where there’s only one light source.
So in this lessons, you’re going to learn the theories and techniques for how to turn a flat object into a 3 dimensional one.
The secret to making a drawing look realistic is not having some great hand-eye coordination skill. Rather it has more to do with knowing which tone to use and where to place them on your drawing. When your eyes see tones of different values (or darkness) arranged in a particular way, our brain will interpret that as a 3 dimensional object.
And that’s where the 5 Elements of Shading comes in. The 5 Elements of Shading are basically 5 different tones that combines to create the illusion of depth in a drawing.
3) Shadow Edge / Core Shadow
4) Reflected Light
5) Cast Shadow
You can think of them as the tonal building blocks of a drawing. All 5 elements can be seen in this drawing here. Let’s go through each of them.
In this drawing, the light source is coming from the top right. When the light hits the object, it creates a bright spot called the highlight. The highlight is usually depicted with the white of the paper. In other words, we would simply leave the highlight area blank and not put any tone there.
As we move away from the highlight, things will gradually get darker. So next to the highlight will be the halftone.
The half tone is this light gray tone that surrounds the highlight. Since the highlight is actually just the white of the paper, the halftone will be the lightest tone in the drawing.
You can think of it as the transition between the highlight and the shadow edge
After the halftone, we have the shadow edge and it’s this dark tone running along the left side of the sphere. Of all the tones on the sphere, this will be the darkest.
The shadow edge represents the area of the object that is turned away from the light source and therefore not receiving any direct light.
By the way, the shadow edge is also sometime refered to as the core shadow. In the future, you’ll hear me use the term shadow edge and core shadow pretty much interchangeable. Just realize that they are the same thing.
Not all of the shadow edge will be the same value. Most of the time, light from the source will bounce off of surrounding objects and indirectly light part of the shadow edge.
In this example, the light bounces of the table surface and shine into the shadow edge creating a slightly lighter area along the edge. This area is called the reflected light.
Notice how the reflected light is not really visible along the upper portion of the sphere. This is because the light bouncing off the table surface is not able to reach that area.
The size of the reflected light will affect the size of the shadow edge. For example, if the surrounding surface is very shiny, more light will be reflected onto the object. This will cause the reflected light area to be larger. And therefore the shadow edge area will be smaller.
One way to remember it is to divide the object into two areas: the light side and the shadow side. The light side consist of the highlight and halftone and it’s the area that is receiving direct light from the source.
The shadow side consist of the shadow edge and the reflected light and it’s the area that’s not being light by the source or only indirectly.
One important thing to remember is that because the reflected light falls on the shadow side, it will be darker than the halftone.
Many beginning artists mistakenly make the reflected light area the same value or even lighter than the halftone. This is because the reflected light sits next to the dark shadow edge and the contrast cause our eyes to mistakenly think the reflected light is much lighter than it really is.
And lastly, we have the cast shadow. This is the shadow that is casted by the object and it will have the darkest value in your drawing.
The shadow will usually have a soft edge. This is because the surrounding light softly illuminate the edge of the shadow.
Let’s examine how these 5 elements of shading works in an actual portrait drawing.
We’ll start with the forehead. Here we have the highlight area with a little bit of tone sprinkled in. Next to that, we have the half tone. Then the shadow edge. And then some reflected light on the outer edge. And lastly, the cast shadow of the head can be seen on the ear.
If we were to zoom into the individual wrinkles, we can see the same pattern again. Wrinkles are basically just humps of skin on the face. At the peak of the hump, we have the highlight. Next is the halftone. Then the shadow edge. And the cast shadow is not as obvious, but it falls into the crease of the skin.
The reflected light is not visible in this example as there’s not a lot of bouncing light.
The 5 elements of shading are easier to stop on rounded shapes, but we can also see it on more irregular shapes as well.
For example, let’s take a look at this leather strap. Here, the light is coming from the right and we can see the highlight here. Next to that is the halftone. Then we have another highlight area. This is because this area is higher than the halftone area and therefore it catches more light.
After that, we have the shadow edge. This area is turned away from the light source and is not receiving direct light. There’s not much of a reflected light because the shadow edge area is tucked away and there’s no surrounding object reflecting light onto it. And lastly, there’s the cast shadow created by the leather strap.
As you can see, this seemingly complex drawing is actually just a repeating pattern of the 5 elements. The effect of these simple principles of shading can be very powerful and when you master them, you’ll be able to draw anything and make it look realistic.
We’ll go through an exercise and apply these 5 elements in a drawing in a later lesson. For now, one exercise you could do is to look at objects around you and try to identify the 5 elements of shading on those objects.
This can be harder when there are multiple light sources so try to do this in a room where there’s only one light source.
Have fun with this exercise and I’ll see you in the next lesson.
Look through various art works and see if you can spot examples of each edge type. Then try to do it with the objects around your house. Be aware that in real life, lost edges will be rare, so you’ll mostly want to focus on the other 3 types.
I mentioned the term “soft edge” in the previous lesson. This is actually a very important concept in drawing so let’s explore it further. A soft edge would be this area here and it is basically a diffused line. As the sphere recedes away from the light, the gradual shift in tone from light to dark creates this soft edge.
Soft edges are great for showing contours so you’ll almost always see them on rounded objects. For example, in this drawing, the soft edge is telling our eyes that the sphere is round and it’s curving away.
In contrast the the soft edge, we have the hard edge. A hard edge occurs when to objects of differing tones touches or overlaps creating the appearance of a line. Here, the sphere (which is a lighter tone) overlaps with the cast shadow (which is a darker tone) and the contrast between these two objects creates a hard edge.
It’s important to note that a hard edge is NOT a line. It only give the appearance that there is a line.
If you look carefully, you’ll notice that the “line” is just an illusion created by the two contrasting tones.
A lot of beginners make the mistake of depicting a hard edge by putting in a hard line. Now instead of having two tones, there are three tones: the light and the dark tone and the line itself. This will cause the drawing to be less realistic because in real life, there are no hard lines.
Take a few minutes to confirm this for yourself. Look around and notice how all the objects you see don’t have any hard lines outlining them. Rather, they stand out by way of contrast with the background or other objects.
That’s why if you want to make your drawings as realistic as possible, it’s important to avoid using hard lines as much as you can. Usually, the biggest reason why a drawing doesn’t look very good or realistic is because it is full of hard lines.
By simply replacing these hard lines with hard and soft edge, you’ll be able to improve it dramatically.
With that said, sometimes it’s not possible to avoid hard lines in your drawing.
For example, in this drawing, there are some hard lines around these horns. In real life, those lines would not be there because there would be a contrasting background to make the horns stand out.
For the drawing, if we wanted to avoid using hard lines, we could put in a background to make the horns stand out. But that could be very time consuming. So a quicker alternative would be to use a LIGHT line to separate the horns from the background but try to make them as subtle as possible.
This is a case of understanding a rule, and knowing when you can break it.
In realistic drawing, hard lines should generally be avoid, but this does mean that hard lines are bad. In fact, many artists use hard lines as a stylistic tool. In comic book or manga art, hard lines are very common and they work within that genre. It’s all about the style that you want to work in.
Now let’s see how these concepts plays out in a real drawing…
We can see the hard edges very clearly when looking at the mouth. Here, the teeth are overlapping with the face and this creates many hard edges.
Up in the nose area, there are a lot of soft edges. This is because there are many smooth curving surfaces there. There’s a soft edge on each of these wrinkles. The gradual shift from light to dark tone give these wrinkles a 3 dimensional appearance.
In the crease to these wrinkles are these darker tones. They’re a little too defined to be considered soft edges, but they’re not quite hard edges either. When a tone is somewhere between a hard edge and a soft edge, we call that a firm edge.
Here’s another example to show the difference between the three types. In the nostril, there’s a hard edge where the outside of the nostril overlaps with the inside.
At the tip of the nose there’s a soft edge because the shape is round.
And the laugh line here would be considered a firm edge because it’s in between a hard and soft edge.
Just to drive the point home, here’s another example. The places where the cup is overlapping the table cloth are hard edges. Most of the tone on the cup and the table cloth are soft edges.
The reflection of the handle on the cup and also the shadow would be consider a firm edges.
Coming back to this orc drawing, there’s another type of edge I’d like to mention and that’s the “lost edge”.
We can see these lost edges around the beard area. Lost edges happen when an edge disappears into the background. In this example, I didn’t want to beard to stand out too much and distract from the face, so I shaded the background to have a similar value as the beard and made the two blend together.
There are enough distinct edges there so that you can still tell that there’s a beard, but it is very subtle.
So lost edges can be used to de-emphasize an area of a drawing, but it can also be used to create a vignette. A vignette is when you let a drawing gradually fade out to create a soft border. This drawing here would be an example because the bottom portion gradually disappear without a define border. This way of ending a drawing is much more pleasing to the eyes than to have it end abruptly or go all the way to the edge of the paper.
So in this vignette, we can see many lost edges. For example, this leather strap here is a lost edge because it starts out well defined and then gradually fades away.
To sum it up, there are four types of edges: hard edges, soft edges, firm edges, and lost edges. Look through this drawing (or other art works) and see if you can spot more examples of each edge type.
Then try to do it with the objects around your house. Be aware that in real life, lost edges will be rare, so you’ll mostly want to focus on the other 3 types.
Have fun with this exercise and I’ll see you in the next lesson!
We’ve covered a lot of information so far and it might be a lot to take in. So I’ve taken all the theories we’ve learned and distilled them into a set of practical guidelines called the Rules of Realism.
Let’s go through each of them.
1) To show contour, use soft edges
Portraits are full of round, curving objects. To depict them accurately, we would use soft edges. The key here is to create a gradual shift in value. When ever the eyes see a smooth gradation from light to dark tone on an object, it will automatically interpret that as the object being round and 3 dimensional.
By taking advantage of this effect, we can create very realistic drawings without much effort. In this example, I used repeating patterns of soft edges to create these waves in the table cloth. The light is coming from the right, so these soft edges starts out with a light tone and then gradually get darker as they move to the left. This pattern repeated again and again creates the appearance of the table cloth.
Also, notice that there are almost no hard lines here because there are no hard edges and nothing is overlapping.
2) To show overlap, use hard edges
On the other hand, when you want to show two objects overlapping, depict them with hard edges. Remember, though, that hard edges are not hard lines. Instead of putting in an actual lines, just use the contrast between the two tones to suggest it.
There are no hard lines in real life, so if you want to make your drawing as realistic as possible, try to avoid hard lines.
Of course, this may not always be possible. You might be in a situation where the best option is to use a hard line, in which case make it as subtle as you can. Or you might want to use hard lines intentionally as part of your drawing style.
3) To increase or decrease value, use contrast
When looking at an area of tone, how dark or light we think it is, is very much affected by the surrounding area.
This tone might look quite dark when seen by itself, but when viewed next to an even darker tone, it will look light in comparison.
To see how powerful this effect can be, let’s take a look at this optical illusion. This illusion was created by MIT professor Edward Adelson to show how our eyes can play tricks on us.
Take a look at square A and B. Which square would you say is darker? If you’re like most people, you would probably pick square A. I mean, it’s pretty obvious, right?
But what if I told you that these two squares are exactly the same value? Well, they are! The two squares are identical!
To prove this, I’ll cover up everything else in the picture so you can just compare the 2 squares by themselves.
Pretty incredible, huh?
Let’s see that again. Here’s the full picture. And here’s the squares by themselves.
So how is this possible? Well, there’s a number of things going on here, but a big factor is local contrast.
Square A is surrounded by light tones and therefore appear much darker. While square B is surrounded by dark tones and therefore appears much lighter.
This contrasting effect tricks our eyes into thinking that the 2 squares are of different values.
So how can we apply this principle in our drawing?
Let’s say you’re drawing a sphere and you want to put in a reflected light area. One thing you could do is use an eraser to lighten that area. But this is difficult and could result in some uneven patches.
A better method is to darken the areas around it. You could darken the shadow edge and that would bring out the reflected light a bit. Then you could also darken the cast shadow and that will highlight it even more.
And the cool thing about this method is you can control the level of contrast by controlling how dark you make the shadow edge and cast shadow.
Now let’s imagine that you are drawing an eye and you want to make the highlight in the eye stand out even more.
In this case, the highlight is already the white of the paper, so you can’t even erase it to make it lighter. Once again, we can darken the surrounding area and make the highlight appear brighter by comparison. By using the power of contrast, we can increase the range of value we have at our disposal.
4) To increase depth, increase contrast
A big benefit of increasing the contrast in your drawing is that it will give it more depth.
In a drawing, the difference between the lightest tone and the darkest tone is called the range of value.
If the lightest tone in a drawing is only a little brighter than the darkest tone, we would say the drawing has a narrow range of value.
If the lightest tone in a drawing is much brighter than the darkest tone, we would say the drawing has a wide range of value.
When a drawing has a wide range of value, our eyes will see it as being much more 3 dimensional. One of the most common mistakes I see with beginners is that they are afraid to go dark with their shading.
Even though all the tones are placed properly, the drawing looks a bit muted. I think this stems from the artist being afraid of messing up a drawing they’ve worked so hard on by shading it to dark. But the truth is, by darkening the shadows and increasing the contrast, you’ll have a much more realistic and interesting drawing.
And even if you do make a mistake and ruin the drawing, it’s not a big deal. That’s all part of the learning process.
Well, there you have it. The 4 Rules of Realism. Keep these rules in mind when shading your next masterpiece and you’ll be happy with the result.
Practice drawing and shading this sphere. Use the drawing I’ve included as a reference if you need it. Be patient and really get these concepts down and in the next section, we’ll dive into the really fun stuff and start drawing the features!
Now that we’ve covered the theories behind shading, let’s go through a drawing exercise to put them into practice. In this lesson, we’re going to be drawing a 3D sphere.
The sphere is actually a very important shape in portrait drawing. Looking at this face, we can see many sphere-like structures such as the forehead, nose, cheek bones, and chin. So by knowing to to shade the sphere, you’ll be well on your way to being able to shade the face as well.
Here’s what the finished sphere will look like. You might find it helpful to print it out and use it as a reference as you’re drawing along.
OK, let’s get started. The first step is to use a round template to draw a perfect circle. We don’t want the outline of the circle to show up in the final drawing so try to make it as light as you can. Just enough for you to see it. For the sake of the video, I’ll make my circle a little darker than I otherwise would.
Then use a rule and draw a horizontal line across the circle. This will represent the table surface the sphere is sitting on. I’ll place this line towards the bottom of the circle.
Now we can start the shading. Let’s imagine that the light source is coming from the right and it will hit the sphere at this point. This means that there’s going to be a highlight area there. So let’s lightly mark it out.
This will be the brightest spot in the drawing which we will leave as the white of the paper. As we move away from this spot, the tone will gradually gets darker and darker. So, our goal now is to create the smooth gradation.
Before we start putting in the tone, I’ll take the kneaded eraser and lighten the outline of the circle a bit. If you drew the circle very lightly, you’ll probably don’t need this step.
Now, I’ll use an H pencil and lightly put in a base layer of tone along the outer edge of the circle. The H pencil will make it a lot easier to put in a light tone.
When created a smooth gradation, I like to work from light to dark. You have a lot more control that way. It’s much easier to make something gradually darker by layering on more tone than it is to make something gradually lighter.
How dark a pencil to use is up to you. You’ll probably start out with harder pencils and then gradually switch to softer ones. As you’re shading, you’ll find ourself switching back and forth between pencils a lot.
I’ll stop the shading just outside the highlight area. When shading near the edge, I try to match the value of the line in order to hide the hard line. Also, be very careful not to shade outside the sphere. We want to maintain the perfect circle shape as much as possible.
By the way, I’m only keeping the drawing still for the sake of the video. As you go around the sphere, you will probably find it much easier to rotate the drawing to match your hand angle. In fact, I would highly recommend you do so.
Next, I’ll go back and add in a second layer of tone along the edge to create more of a gradation. Already, we can see some dimension developing. Now we can blend this out to make it even smoother. Let’s take a minute to discuss how to use the blending tools.
We basically have 2 blending tools: the blending stump and the tortillion. For the most part, they are interchangeable so it really doesn’t matter which one you use. But, the blending stump tends to be a little bigger so it’s better for use on large areas. And the tortillion tends to be a little smaller so it’s better for blending smaller areas.
Hold and control the blender as you would a pencil. When blending, use only a light amount of pressure. Using too much pressure can grind the graphite into the paper causing it become un-blendable and difficult to erase. Also, you’ll be more prone to making uneven spots. So just be patient, use a light amount of pressure, and go over the same area multiple times if you have to.
Another tip is to move the blender in just one direction. Looking at my hand here, it might look like I’m just moving the blender back and forth on the paper. But actually, all the strokes are going in just one direction.
You can see it more clearly from the side. I apply a strokes… then lift up the blender and bring it back… and then apply the stroke again.
The reason we want to do this is that it will help us create smoother tones. When you just go back and forth with the blender, this can create uneven start and stop marks. But by keeping your strokes in just one direction, you can minimize this.
Another thing that will help to create smother tone is to lift up your blender at the end of the stroke. Think of your blender like an airplane taking off on a runway. At the beginning of the stroke, it is running on the ground. And towards the end of the stroke, it’s gradually lifting off.
This will cause your stroke to be darker in the beginning and lighter towards the end. Which, incidentally, creates a nice, smooth gradation and that’s exactly what we want.
By the way, this technique of lifting the blender up towards the end of the stroke is called “the tapered stroke” and we’ll cover it more in depth in the eye drawing section.
So, to sum it up, when blending use light pressure, keep your strokes in a single direction, and lift up the blender towards the end of the stroke.
OK, back to the drawing. I’m using a blending stump to gently blending out the tone. As I get closer to the highlight area, I’m simply using the graphite that is already on the blender to create the halftone area.
Before we go any further, I’ll take the kneaded eraser and take out the lines I made to mark the highlight area.
So, we’ve established the shadow edge, the halftone, and the highlight area. Now, we want to put in the reflected light.
We know that the reflected light area will be slightly lighter than the shadow edge. And how can be make something lighter (without using an eraser)? Well, if you remember the 3rd Rule of Realism, we can darken the shadow edge to make the reflected light appear lighter.
So I’m going to go over the shadow edge one more time, except this time, I’ll leave the reflected light area un-shaded.
As far as my pencil strokes are concern, I keep them in line with the contour of the circle but also vary up the direction a little as I’m moving around the circle. This helps to create a soft transition between the shadow edge and reflected light. If you simply shade along the shadow edge with curved strokes, you’ll create too hard of an edge.
Now that the shadow edge is a bit darker, we can go into the halftone area and darken that as well.
Now let’s give it another round of blending. Don’t worry if the reflected light area is not very noticeable right now. We are going to add the cast shadow next and that will really brings it out.
We’ll start by drawing in the outline of the cast shadow. Since the light source is coming from the right, the cast shadow will be shifted to the left.
Then, I’ll use a 2B pencil to fill in the cast shadow. Try to create as clean of an edge as possible along the outside of the sphere.
When I get to the edge of the cast shadow, I’ll use strokes that goes against the outline. This will help to soften the edge of the shadow. Remember, shadows will rarely have really hard edges. Rather the edges will be more diffused.
Now I’ll put a light tone in the surrounding area to represent the table surface. We can even let the tone gradually fade out to create a vignette.
And soften up the edge of the cast shadow some more. I won’t use the blender on the cast shadow or table surface so they can retain some texture, but you’re welcome it blend it if you want to.
Next, I’ll take a very well sharpened 3B pencil and really pump up the value for the cast shadow, especially along the edge of the sphere.
As you can see, the contrast of the cast shadow is helping us to see the reflected light a little better. Now let’s take a 2B pencil and darken the shadow edge some more.
As the shadow edge gets darker, we have to darken the halftone as well to keep up with it.
And as those two tones get darker, the reflected light might start to look too bright, so you might have to add a little more value to it in order to keep it more subtle.
During this process, you might find little uneven dark spots in your drawing like this one here. In which case, simply shape the kneaded eraser into a round point and gently tap it on the spot to lighten it.
As you can probably see, the process is pretty simple. We create a smooth gradation from dark to light to establish the different elements of shading. Use the blender to smooth out the tone. And then we simply go over and darken everything to create more contrast. The more contrast you add, the more three dimensional your drawing will look.
You can continue with this process for hours, refining your drawing little by little. But I think you’ve got the point so far, so I’m going to call this drawing done!
Now that you understand the basics of realistic shading, we can get into drawing the different features. And what better way to start off this section then with the proverbial “window to the soul” itself – the eyes.
In order to draw the eyes convincingly, we have to first know a little about it’s anatomy. I know you’re probably itching to start drawing the eyes already, but trust me, this part is important. 80% of making a drawing look convincing is just including all the correct anatomical parts. So we’ll go through a quick run down of all the parts and then cover them in more details.
Overview of the Eye
Starting with the bone structure we have the eye sockets. They are these cavities in the skull that houses and protect the eye balls. Sometimes the eye sockets can be prominent enough that we can see it’s structure through the skin.
Between the eye sockets and above the nose sits a smooth area of bone called the glabella. As you have seen from the previous lessons, the glabella is a very useful landmark to help place the eyes and nose.
Right above the eye socket is this bony protrusion called the brow ridge. We can see it much more clearly from the side. The purpose of the brow ridge is to stick out and protect the eyes.
In this photo, we can see how the eye ball is neatly tucked under brow ridge, creating this distinct inward angle.
The eyebrows sit along the brow ridge.
Inside the eye sockets, we have the actual eye balls. The eye ball is covered up by an upper and lower eye lid.
The inner corner of the eye is marked by this bean-shaped opening. This is usually where tears would well up in the eye when a person is crying. Within the corner is also this pink, fleshy area called the caruncle.
Then we have to white of the eye (which is technically called the sclera). At the center of all this whiteness is the iris. That’s the color portion of the eye that tells us whether someone has blue, green, or brown eyes.
And at the center of the iris is the pupil. That’s this black dot here and it’s the area that expand or contract to let in more or less light. Now let’s dive a little deeper into each part.
The eyeball is a sphere and the eye lids wraps around this sphere. The shape of the eyeball can be seen in the lower lid. Here the eyeball pushes on the lower lid, creating a slight bulge.
This little detail is very crucial in giving the eyes dimension. Note, however, that this bulge under the eye is different from the “bags” under the eye. So just be careful not to age your subject prematurely by include bags that aren’t really there.
The upper and lower eye lids have a definite thickness to them. In this diagram, we can clearly see the planes of the top and bottom eye lids. And we can see that same thing in this photo.
Earlier we mentioned the brow ridge sticks out to protect the eyeballs. We can see the same pattern with the eye lids as well. The upper lid extends forward more than the lower lid. Apparently, evolution was really concern about protecting our eyes from falling objects.
The shape of the upper and lower lids will usually follow this pattern. The upper lid can be broken up into three line segments with one being mostly horizontal and the other two sloping downward.
The lower lid can be broken up into 2 line segments with one being horizontal and the other one sloping up.
A common mistake is to draw almond shape eyes. That’s where the upper and lower lids follow the same curved shape. Notice how the top and bottom lids peak and bottom out at the same points. In actuality, the top lid will peak at this point while the lower lid will bottom out at this point. That’s why gives the eye it’s distintive shape.
Also, there’s an oval shape opening in the inner corner of the eye.
Every eyes are different of course, but this pattern will give you something to work off when analyzing the shape of someone’s eye.
Another interesting feature of the eye is the appearance of a crease in the upper eye lid. Most non-Asians will have a very pronounced crease in the upper eye lid. And the shape of this crease will follow the same pattern as the upper lid.
However, for many Asians like myself this crease will not be visible or only partially visible. It’s not that the crease does not exist, it’s just that there’s an extra bit of skin in the upper lid that covers up the crease. This bit of skin is called the epicanthic fold.
For some people, this extra skin will cover up the entire crease and even a little of the eye lashes. In which case, they eye will appear smaller and the shape of the upper lid will be altered, giving it a more curved appearance
For others, only the inner corner of the upper lid will be covered… or not at all.
Eyeball, Iris, and Pupil
The eye ball is a sphere shape but this fact is easy to overlook because most of the eye ball is covered up by the eye lids. Despite this, whenever see shade the eyeball, it is important to keep it’s spherical shape in mind.
For example, a common mistake is to leave the white of the eye white. Even though that’s what it’s called, we don’t want to make it that color. By adding in a smooth gradation, we are able to show to spherical shape of the eyeball.
Another factor that will cause the white of the eye to be less than white is this pink, fleshy area in the corner called the caruncle. Some of the caruncle’s pink color will encroach into the white of the eye, causing the inner corner of the eye to be a little darker in shading.
The caruncle will also have its own shape. I like to think of it as a tiny egg shape (although in some eyes, it’s shape can be a bit irregular). When shading, we would use soft edges to show its rounded form.
The iris will often have a dark ring along the edge called the limbal ring. Artistically speaking, this ring helps separate the color of the iris from the white of the eye making the eye appear more striking.
Biologically, we are also program to respond to it. Studies have shown that eyes will prominent limbal rings are consider more attractive.
One reason could be that it is an indicator of youth. Limbal rings are more prominent when we are young and gradually fade as we age.
They are also more clearly seen in light color eyes like blue or green. So if you wanted to make your subject’s eyes appear younger, more attractive, or blue, one way to achieve that is to add in a dark and distinct limbal ring.
The rest of the iris is this very intricate pattern that seems to radiate from the pupil like rays from the sun. This is very evident for blue or green eyes but can be seen in brown eyes as well.
And those are pretty much all the relevant parts of the eye that you need to know about. In the next lesson, we’ll put all this knowledge into practice and draw a realistic eye step-by-step.
Draw this eye using the reference and practice sheet provided. This is a long drawing, so be patient!
Now that you’re familiar with the parts and structure of the eye, let’s go through how to draw one step-by-step. Here’s the reference we’ll be working with.
Before we start drawing, it’s helpful to analyze the reference so we can understand it better. Visualize the shape of the eye in simplified form. Observe the angles of the lines and their relations to each other.
For example, pay attention to the inner and outer corner of the eye. Notice how the outer corner is slightly lower than the inner corner, creating a slight angle.
Next, identify the highest point of the upper lid and the lowest point of the lower lid and notice the relationship between those two points.
If it helps, you can even draw these lines over your reference to make them easier to identify. These angle relationships will really help you to draw the lay in accurately.
Next, you can repeat the same process for the fold in upper lid… and the eyebrow. Notice the angles of the lines. Become sensitive to all the little changes in length and direction.
You can also observe the relationship between different objects. For example, you can notice the relationship between the eyebrow and the corners of the eye. Or the distance between the eyebrow and the fold in the upper lid. Or the width of the eye (measured from corner to corner) as compare to the height of the eye. The more of these details you can observe the better.
Again, you can print out an extra copy of the reference and draw all these lines over it.
In drawing, this process of simplifying the subject into basic shapes is called the “Block-In”. It helps us to establish the proportions of all the parts and the angular relationships between them.
Now let’s see how we can use this block in to help us draw the eye.
First, let’s mark the location of the inner corner of the eye. Then mark the location of the outer corner. This will give us the width of the eye and determine the proportion for the rest of the drawing.
For simplicity sake, I recommend making the width of your drawing the same as that of the reference. This will make subsequent measurements a lot easier. To do this, you would simply take the divider, measure the width of the eye on the reference, and transfer it over to the drawing.
Of course, you can also make your drawing any size you’d like. If you do, just make sure to keep everything else proportional. For example, if you wanted to double the width of the eye, then make sure you also double the size for everything else.
With that being said, I’d recommend not making your drawing too big as that could make the shading more difficult.
Notice, how this point is positioned lower than this point, in order to match the same angle as the reference. Then, we’ll mark the high-point of the upper lid. And the low-point of the lower lid. Again, be sure to observe the angular relationship between them.
I recommend you try to place these points with just your eyes first and then use the divider to check to see how accurate you were. This is a great way to train your eyes to judge distance and angles because you are getting immediate feedback from the divider telling you what you need to fix. And of course, if you find that you were off, make the necessary correction.
Now use these points as a guide to block in the shape of the eye. Even though these points are very helpful, it’s important to constantly glance back at the reference to make sure the your lines are accurate. Now do the same thing for the fold in the upper lid and eyebrow, iris, and pupil.
Even though the block in lines that we visualize are very linear, when drawing it’s over OK to add some curves to you lines. Just don’t get caught in all the little details just yet. We’ll cover that in the next stage. Right now, just focus on capturing the broad gesture of the subject like all those big details that we pointed out earlier.
Once you’re done, verify it with the divider
You could check the distance between two points, such as: the fold in the eye lid and the eye, the fold in the lid and the eyebrow, the diameter of the iris, the distance between the iris and the corner of the eyes, the diameter of the pupil, it’s distance from the edge of the iris, and so on.
And if you find inaccuracies, fix them. For example, I notice that the shape of the eye brows is a little off, so I’ll re-shape it. Also, through measuring, I notice that this end of the fold in the eye lid is a little too short, so I’ll extend it. Much better!
Each one of these measurements and adjustments will contribute to the overall accuracy of your drawing and you can be as detail as you want to be. At first, this might seem a little tedious, but it’s actually training your eyes to see more accurately. And eventually, you’ll be able to draw very accurately without much measurements at all.
Now that we’re done with the block in, we can go over the drawing again refine the line work. The block-in helped us establish the overall proportions and angles. This time around, we’ll pay more attention to the subtle curves of the lines and the finer details.
To keep things clean, erase the block-in lines before redrawing it. This time, I’ll be adding more curves to the lines. And I’ll add in the little opening at the inner corner of the eye. And repeat this process for the rest of the eye.
This is the stage where you want to obsess about the details. Needlessly to say, you could be constantly comparing you drawing with the reference to make sure that it is accurate.
Having the block-in lines to guide us makes this process a lot easier. We don’t have to worry as much about the overall proportions and details and can really focus on the little things.
At this stage, we can also add in all the details like the planes of the upper and lower lid. The plane of the upper lid will only be partially visible. And the plane of the lower lid will start tapering in as it approaches the inner corner of the eye.
And also the caruncle in the inner corner. This area is divided into two sections. We’ll leave the eyelashes out for now.
Once you’re done look over your drawing and try to see if there’s anything that needs fixing. I notice the shape of the iris is a little off, so I’ll fix that. It’s a very subtle detail but it makes a big difference. When drawing eyes, the incorrect placement of the iris can drastically alter the emotion and gaze of the subject.
And also, I’ll move the pupil down a tiny bit. Take your time and make as many corrections as you need. Remember, the lay in is the most important part of a drawing so we really want to get this right.
By the way, if you are having trouble drawing this, you could try drawing it with the grid method the first time around and then come back and draw it again free-hand.
OK, now for the shading. I like to start with the iris and pupil as I find that to be the easiest. First, mark out the highlight areas. Try not to make the highlight to neat. It will be much more natural if the highlight has a more irregular shape.
Also, in the reference, this highlight is further away from the pupil. But in the drawing, I’ll put the highlight right in there with the pupil. This will cause the highlight to stand out a lot more.
True, we’re not being 100% accurate to the reference, but that’s okay. One of the best thing about art is reinterpreting reality to match your vision. To quote Jeff Watts, “You want to draw what you know, what you see, and what you wish you saw.”
Once you have the highlight marked out, use a 2B pencil to fill in the pupil. Next, go around the iris and put in the limbal ring.
To create the texture of the iris, draw little lines that radiate from the limbal ring towards the pupil. Try to vary up the length of these lines and make them sort of random.
I’ll go over it one more time to fill in some of the gaps and also soften the transition between the limbal ring and the base of the lines.
Now repeat the same process, except this time, you’ll be drawing from the pupil. Since the eye we’re drawing is brown, we’ll take a tortillion and blend some tone into the white space in the middle.
Try to keep the pressure light as we don’t want to blend out all that texture we just created. If this eye was green or blue, then we would want to minimize the blending and keep the area in the middle a lot lighter.
Now, we’ll take a very well sharpened 2B pencil and draw in the reflections that the upper eye lashes cast onto the eye. Don’t worry too much about making these reflections match the reference exactly. Just do the best you can.
Also, it’s easy to over do this, so I’ll just add in 4 or 5 lashes and leave it at that. I’ll put in some small dark edges around the high light to make it stand out more. Again, this is not necessarily in the reference. We’re just taking some artistic license.
And let’s add some lashes and dark edges to the other highlight as well. If you find that some of the dark edges and lines stand out too much, you can soften it with the tortillion.
Then, I’ll go over the iris one more time and darken the edge and add in some dark lines here and there to give it more texture.
Next, let’s give the white of the eye some tone. Remember, the eyeball is a sphere shape. The highest point of the sphere is at the pupil. This will be the area that receives the most light because it sticks out the most. And as we move away from this point, things will gradually gets darker, until we get to the corners, which will be the darkest. Most eyes you draw will follow this pattern. But it’s also important to look at the lighting of the reference. In this case, the light is coming from the right, so the left side of the eyeball will be slightly darker than the right. Just keep that in mind when you’re shading.
Start by putting a bit of tone in the two corners of the eye. You’ll want to keep it very light at first so when shading, hold the pencil loosely at the end like so. This will help you keep a light pressure. When you are shading, use the side of the lead and just let the weight of the pencil apply the pressure.
Then take the tortillion and blend out the tone. Notice how I’m blending in a single direction from the dark area to the light area. This allows me to pull the graphite from the dark areas into the light area and create a smooth gradation.
Now that we have some dimension to the eyeball, let’s focus on the caruncle. The structure of the caruncle is basically two rounded forms sitting next to each others. At the peak of each form is a highlight and as we move away from that highlight, things gradually gets darker.
So, we’ll just put some tone in the darkest areas… blend it out… add more tone to the dark areas for more contrast… and pick out the highlight with the kneaded eraser.
Next, let’s shade the eye lids. The lids are three dimensional layers that covers that eyeball. So naturally, each of the lids will cast a tiny shadow onto the eyeball at the point of contact. Let’s put in that shadow. The shadow will be more prominent for the upper lid because most of the time the light source will be above the eyes shinning down onto it.
Whenever two objects overlaps each other, there will always be a tiny shadow along the point of contact. This is one of my favorite ways to add dimension, because it’s so easy yet so effective. I’m always asking myself, “Where are there overlaps in the drawing?” so I can add a shadow there.
Then just take the tortillion and soften the shadow and edge of the lids. Go ahead and let the graphite go outside the line and onto the skin. This will actually help us create the smooth gradation and show the three dimensionality of the lids.
See how the blending automatically creates a dark area along the lids that gradually gets lighter as it moves away? And how this cause the lids (especially the upper lid) to appear 3 dimensional That’s the magic of blending.
Now we’ll pretty much repeat the same process for the crease in the eyelid. You can think of the crease as skin overlapping skin. So again, there would be a tiny shadow along the crease.
We’ll put in some dark tone along the crease. And then blend it out… letting the graphite get spread above and below the crease. Repeat the process as many times as needed to increase the contrast.
Next, we’ll work on the lower lid. See this slight bulge in the lower lid created by the eyeball? It creates a subtle dark crease here that gets lighter as we move upward. So let’s create the gradation.
Remember how I said you should only blend in a single direction and lift up your tortillion at the end of each stroke? Well, in darker areas where you’re doing a lot of blending and uneven spots are harder to notice, it’s OK to go back and forth with your tortillion without lifting it up. This will make blending go a lot faster and easier.
But, when you get to the lighter areas, be sure to revert back to blending in a single direct to minimize uneven spots.
There’s a slight indentation between the eye and the nose bridge here. It’s a bit hard to see because of the lighting. But I really like to depict this indentation because it’s great for adding more dimension to the drawing.
So I’ll lightly mark out it’s shape with the pencil. And then blend it out to create a soft edge. Here I’m using the tortillion almost as a pencil – dragging the graphite into areas that I want to shade. Repeat the process as needed.
Now for the eyebrows. Before we start drawing, let’s take a quick look at the growth pattern of the hairs of the eyebrow. The eyebrow will start out rather light at the inner corner and then gradually gets thicker as it moves to the other end.
The hair will start out point up or diagonally and then gradually shift to being more horizontal. And finally they will start to curve downward and tapers into a point as it reaches the end.
Along the top of the eyebrow, there are hairs that points diagonally downward. Towards the end, these hair converge with the hair at the bottom and forms the pointy end of the eyebrow.
Study this reference for a while and try to spot these patterns for yourself. Almost all eyebrows will follow this pattern so once you are familiar with it, you’ll have a much easier time drawing them.
OK, we’re almost ready to start drawing… there’s just one more thing. In order to capture the hair-like quality of the eyebrow, we need to learn a technique called “The Tapered Stroke”.
Here is what a normal line looks like. Notice how it has the same thickness through out and there are hard start and stop marks. Now here is what a tapered stroke looks like. Notice how the two ends are tapered and the thickness of the line goes from thin to thick and then back to thin again.
So what is the benefit to drawing your lines like this? Well, the taper stroke is great for drawing hair. See how the hairs on the eyebrow are tapered at both ends? The eyebrow is basically just a bunch of tapered stroke!
Also, you can use the taper stroke to draw the hair on the head as well as shade muscles of the body. We’ll cover this more in depth in the hair drawing section.
So, how do you create the taper stroke? First, hold your pencil loosely at about the middle of the pencil. This will give you more fluidity in your stroke. It’s important that you don’t chock down on your pencil like this.
Concerning the execution of the stroke, the tip of your pencil will move in a upward arc. Think of it as an airplane softly landing and taking off.
The pencil gradually makes contact with the paper (that’s the airplane landing), it runs along the paper for a bit, then it gradually lifts up (that’s the airplane taking off).
So you’ll want to keep your pressure light in the beginning, increase it in the middle, and decrease it towards the end. Just practice making this stroke a bunch of times until you get the hang of it. You might find it easier to draw the stroke following the natural range of motion of your wrist.
Also, you might find that the beginning of the stroke is more difficult to make tapered than the end. This is normal. As with airplanes, the landings are always harder than the take-offs.
Once you’re comfortable with that, you can practice going the other way. This might be a little more awkward. Once you get the hang of it, you can challenge yourself by trying to make all the lines the same length.
OK, back to the drawing. Before we start filling in the eyebrows, let’s erase this outline as we won’t want it to show up in the final drawing. Start by using an HB pencil to lightly map out the direction of the hair. Just put in a few tapered strokes here and there to match the pattern of hair growth that we just went over.
The hairs along the edge of the eyebrow tends to be tapered and soft, so take extra care when working in this area to make sure your tapered strokes are really smooth.
Drawing the eyebrow like this can be a bit tricky and I always get a little nervous before doing it because I’m worried about messing up the drawing. So if you’re like me, you might want to do a few practice run before trying it on your drawing. I’ve created a little practice sheet that’s basically the finished drawing but with the eyebrow and lashes taken out. You can use it to test out this technique and see how it looks. Use it as an opportunity to push the boundaries and try different things. The best way to learn is to experiment!
So, that gives us a general idea of what the eyebrow will look like. Now softly bend this out. This is an example of an area where you do not want to go back and forth with the tortillion. Instead, you want to blend in a single direction and with the pattern of the hair. The purpose of this is just to fill in the white space inside and around the eyebrow.
Now come back in and add another layer of hair. This time, instead of focusing on the pattern and direction of the hair, try to match the thickness and darkness of the eyebrow. For example, the eyebrow is thickest and darkest in the middle, so I’ll try to match that pattern.
The hairs aren’t all evenly distributed along the eyebrow. Some of them are grouped into little pointy clusters. To depict this, I’ll go over the same area multiple times with the same stroke to make it stand out more from the rest.
You might think that drawing the eyebrow like this is very tedious. And it can be. But don’t worry, you won’t always be drawing it in this much details. Depending on how larger you portrait is, you might just suggest the eyebrow with a few strokes. But by knowing the little details like how the hair grow, you’ll be able to draw better eyebrows at all levels.
Now, I’ll just add a light layer of tone to cover up any white spots on the skin.
Remember, the only white of the paper that is allow to show through is at the highlight. All other areas must be darker. Any unintended white spots will detract from the drawing.
Next, we’ll just go back over the drawing and add in more contrast. Now, just to re-iterate, the pattern that we are trying to re-enforce is that of a dark shadow in cracks and creases. And the tone will gradually lightens as it moves away from the shadow.
Let’s start with the eye area. Darken the lines and re-enforce the shadow cast by the upper eye lid. You can really see how increasing the contrast makes the drawing looks a lot sharper and more in focus.
This is my favorite part of the shading process. All the hard work of laying in the different tones and creating dimension is done. Now all that’s left to do is gradually pump up the contrast and watch the drawing start to really come together.
For the crease in the upper lid, just darken the crease and then blend it out. The goal is to have the tone lightens as it moves away from the crease. Sorry if I’m sounding like a broken record. But realistic shading really is that simple. It’s just the same pattern of dark tone getting lighter repeated over and over again.
Here I really want to emphasize that dark-to-light gradation for the area above the fold of the lid. For the area below the eye, the process is the same. Darken the wrinkle… and then blend it out, using the tortillion to drag the graphite into the lighter areas.
I’ll also add some very light wrinkles to the skin to add some texture. And be want to wrinkles to be more subtle, so let’s blend them out.
And if they are too strong, then just gently lighten them with the kneaded eraser.
Re-enforce the indentation between the eye and nose. And just keep repeating this whole process as many times as it takes to get the drawing to the level that you want. Remember the more contrast you have, the more three dimensional your drawing will look.
Now that we are mostly done with all the blending, we can add in the eyelashes. Again, let’s take a quick detour and examine how eyelashes are structured.
Lashes tends to grow out from the lids in a curved shape. The upper lashes are always much longer and more numerous than the lower ones.
As a whole, they point outward from the lid… but there are also little variations among the individual lashes.
Another useful pattern to observe is that the lashes tends to group together. Also, they tend to be longest at the middle and get slightly shorter towards the ends.
When seen from the front, the lashes will appear a little differently. At the middle, the lashes are pointing towards the viewer. This causes them to appear foreshortened and they will look like a slight curve pointing upward. Some lashes will even appear just as a straight line.
As we move away from this point towards the ends, we are able to see more and more of the individual lashes and they will appear longer. Once we get to the ends, the lashes will look much longer and curved.
It’s important when drawing to capture that gradual shift in the direction of the lashes. Don’t just draw all your lashes going in a single direction like this. Again, you can try drawing these lashes on the practice sheet first to build some confident.
Now, let’s draw in the lashes. Be sure to use a very well sharpen pencil so you can get really clean lines. Also, make sure to lift up your pencil at the end of each lashes to give it that tapered end.
Try to vary up the length, direction, and position of each lashes just little bit to make them look more random. Some lashes will dip lower into the eye area. Some lashes will be short and point upward, and so on…
Also, have the lashes over lap each others as that will look more natural. It very helpful to took at the reference as you are drawing this. You don’t have to copy the reference exactly. Just try to capture the general pattern.
Like the eyebrow, some of the lashes will group together, so every once in a while, I will draw 2 or 3 lashes very close together going in the same direction.
The lashes will start the thin out and disappear as it nears the inner corner of the eye. The lower lashes will be much more sparse than the top. Again, notice how most of the appears in clusters.
Now for one last round of adding contrast where I will use a 2B pencil and darken everything from the iris and pupil… to the eyebrow. We’re not doing anything special here – just repeating all the steps that we previously laid out.
At this point, we have such a smooth foundation of tone that there’s not really a need for more blending. We can just use the pencil to layer on more graphite in the areas that we want to make darker.
This allows use to increase the contrast more quickly because the graphite is not being blending away by the tortillion. Be careful when darkening the eyebrow to not shade over it too much and lose the texture of the hair.
Lastly, we’ll take the kneaded erase, shape it into a small tip, and use it to pick out highlights. We’ll start with the caruncle. Then we’ll put in some highlights in the white of the eye. There one here next to the highlight in the iris.
Next, there are few bight spots along the lower lids. These are highlights created by the moisture in the eye and they will help the eye to look wet and shiny. The highlight even cuts into the iris a little bit.
And next let’s put in some light spots in the skin. There’s an area of skin between the eye and the nose that always seems to catch more light and appear brighter. I’ll use the erase to lighten that area a bit.
Lastly, I’ll just lightly lift out this dark mark in the drawing. And that’s it, we’re all done! Go ahead and try this exercise for yourself and I’ll see you in the next lesson!
Draw the simplified nose in the front and 3/4 view using the attached drawing as a reference. It will help you become familiar with the nose planes and in the next lesson, we’ll see how you can apply these knowledge to an actual nose drawing.
In this lesson, we’re going to go over the parts and structure of the nose.
At the surface level, the nose can be broken into these parts: the bridge, the tip, the nostril (which refers to these two openings in the nose), and the wings of the nostril.
Pealing back the skin, we can examine the anatomy more closely. Here we have the nasal bone. Attached to it is a piece of cartilage called the lateral cartilage. These two pieces forms the bridge of the nose.
How the lateral cartilage attaches to the nasal bone can have a big impact on the look of the nose. In most people, the connecting is pretty seemless, causing the nose bridge to appear straight.
But when there’s a big change in angle from the nasal bone to the lateral cartilage, this will create the appearance of a “hook nose”. The degree to which this happens will vary from person to person and it’s a useful observation to make when drawing.
Also, the shape of the bridge will tend to be wider at the middle where the nasal bone connects to the lateral cartilage.This pattern is really noticable on the nose of the statue David for instance.
The nose bridge attaches to the skull via a bone called the maxilla. The maxilla forms the side of the nose and creates a gradual slope down towards the face.
And of course, you already know that the top of the nose bridge connects to the browridge via the glabella.
By the way, you can confirm the anatomy on your own nose. Touch the top of the bridge and notice how hard it is. This is the nasal bone area. Then touch the lower part of the bridge and nose how much softer it is. This is the lateral cartilage. The maxilla lies to the side. And the glabella is between the eyebrows.
The tip of the nose is made up of two pieces of cartilage known collectively as the greater alar cartilage. In caucasian noses, the separation between these two cartilage can sometimes be very prominent. In Asian or African-American noses, the separation will often not be visible at all.
At the bottom, the greater alar cartilage will hook up and connect to the skull via the septum. The septum is a flat piece of cartilage the separates the left and right side of the nose.
Most of the septum is inside the nose and not visible, but you can see a little bit of it at the bottom of the nose. And you can even feel the cartilage if you poke your nose like this. When people get that little nose piercing, it’s the septum that’s being pierced.
Anyway… the kep thing to remember here is that the tip of the nose curls up before it attached to the skull, which is a detail we need to capture when drawing the nose in 3/4 or side view.
And lastly we have the wings of the nostril. These wings are made out of fatty tissues and also curl in a little before connecting to the head.
The size and shape of the wings will vary with ethnicity. Caucasians tends to have smaller wings. And Asians and African-Americans tends to have larger and more rounded wings.
The Simplified Nose
You already know about this version of the simplified nose. Nose let’s incorporate all these anatomical knowledge we just learned to created a more detailed version.
This portion here represents the glabella. This portion represents the nasal bone. And attached to it is the lateral cartilage. Notice how the nasal bone and lateral cartilage has some thickness to them as indicated by these side planes. The maxilla is represented by these planes on the side.
The tip of the nose can be broken up into the front plane, side planes, and bottom planes. The same goes for the wings of the nostril: there’s the front plane, side plane, and bottom plane. The bottom plane is important for showing the thickness of the wings. And lastly we have the septum as represented by this portion of the bottom planes.
Try drawing these two diagrams as an exercise. It will help you become familiar with the nose planes and in the next lesson, we’ll see how you can apply these knowledge to an actual nose drawing.
Practice drawing this nose using the reference provided. You can just drawing the lay-in freehand or if you find it challenging, you can go through the process laid out in the video.
In this lesson, we’ll go through a step-by-step exercise for drawing the nose. Here’s the reference we’ll be working with.
The nose has very few hard edges and involves a lot of subtle tone changes, so I’ve made the reference black and white to make it easier to see all the different values. Also, I’ve included lighter versions of the reference so you can see more clearly into the details of the shadow areas.
OK, on to the drawing. As usual, we’ll start with the lay-in. You can just start sketching in the nose freehand. But if you have a hard time doing that, here’s a simply process to baby-step your way to an accurate lay-in.
First, simplify the nose into a basic shape. The simplified nose that you learned in the 3D head lessons will work well here. Print out an extra copy of the reference and draw these lines over it. Start by establishing the glabella.
Then find the line at the tip of the nose that divides the top and bottom plane. You can tell there’s a plane change because the value goes from light to dark very quickly. Complete the shape to encase the bottom plane of the nose. Draw in the bridge of the nose. And encase the bottom planes of the nostrils. The nose is in a very slight 3/4 view so we will be able to see a little more of the right nostril.
Normally, I would draw these lines very lightly over my reference. That allows me to still see the small details of the reference while helping me to visualize the structure of the nose.
Now draw this simplified nose onto the draw paper. Again, for simplicity sake, let’s make the dimension of our drawing the same as the reference.
Use the divider to measure the height on the reference and transfer it to the drawing paper. I’ll estimate the height and width of the glabella. Draw in the tip of the nose. I’ll measure the width of the nose and transfer it over. The right wing of the nostril will be a bit larger.
Once finished, we can check the accurate see of our drawing with the divider. We’ll check the height of the glabella. And the height of the tip. Everything looks good!
OK, now we have a basic scaffolding to work off of. This will help us with the overall proportions and placements.
Next, to help us visualize the underlining anatomy, print out another copy of the reference and draw these lines over it.
Again, we’ll start with the glabella. This portion here will represent the nasal bone. This portion would be the lateral cartilage.
Notice how there’s a slight bulge where the nasal bone meets the lateral cartilage. These two rounded shapes represents the greater alar cartilage. Outline the nostrils and wings. And lastly we have the maxilla on the side of the bridge.
You don’t have to do this every time you sketch in a nose. And most of these lines won’t show up in the final drawing. But whenever I’m having a hard time with the lay in, this little exercise really helps me to understand and draw the nose better.
Now we are ready to sketch in the nose. Before I start drawing, I’ll lighten the guidelines so things don’t get too confusing.
You can look at the previous 2 diagrams as well as a clean copy of the reference as you are drawing. Each picture is like a different topographical map giving you different information about the nose.
There’s a little bulge in the bridge of the nose. The tip of the nose is rounded and shaped almost like a large water drop. The nostrils will fit into the two triangles on the side.
I like to draw in the slight indentations created by the eye sockets. The create a nice frame for the nose. And we can even add in a hint of the laugh lines.
Once finished, erase whatever’s left of the guidelines. Do one last inspection to make sure everything is accurate and make any necessary adjustments.
Now for the shading. The nose has a lot of subtle gradations, so to help you understand the shading better here’s an exercise you can try. Get another clean copy of the reference and draw these planes of the nose over it.
With this overlay, we can make perfect sense of all the tone changes on the nose. For example, notice how the tip of the nose changes from light to dark when we change from the front to bottom planes.
Also, notice how the bottom plane of the wings of the nostril is noticeably darker than the front plane. Study this diagram for a bit and see if you can better understand the shape of the nose from it.
The nostril is obviously in shadow so let’s shade that in first. Notice though, that it’s not just a dark hole though out. The top portion of the nostril is quite dark, but towards the bottom it gets a bit lighter.
Now we’ll put in some general tone to define the shape of the nose. Think of the bridge as a cylinder shape and the tip of the nose as a sphere shape. The highest points of each shape will catch the most light and be the highlight. And as we move away from the highlight, things will gradually get darker.
The light source is coming from the right so the left side of the bridge will be in a bit of shadow. This is important for showing the height of the bridge. Right now, I’m just keeping the shading light so I’m using an HB pencil.
There’s a shadow around the edge of the tip, especially along the under side. And the wings will more or less follow the same pattern. Add in the cast shadow created by the nose itself.
A trick that you might find helpful is to squint your eyes a little when looking at the reference. This will blur out some of the details and allow you to see the overall pattern of the shadows better.
I’ll add a bit of tone to the right side of the bridge, but not too much. We want this side to be significantly lighter than the left side.
Now blend it out with the tortillion. I’m taking this opportunity to drag the graphite into the white areas to create the contour of the nose. It’s similar to how sculptors would put clay onto their structures in order to sculpt it. We are adding graphite onto the drawing and then sculpting it with the tortillion.
Notice how the bridge of the nose tapers in a little at the bottom because of the lateral cartilage.
OK, we can start to see some dimension now.
The shadows and edges are a bit lighter now after the blending so we’ll come back in and define the edges and darken the shadows some more.
The cast shadow will be darkest near the nose and lighter towards the edge.
Even within the shadow area, there are portions (like these here) that are darker than others, so let’s reinforce those areas.
By the way, if you are having trouble see all the subtle details of the reference with a print out, try viewing it through you computer screen where you’ll get a much higher definition image. And let’s add more tone to the top portion.
For the bridge, I’ll add a little more tone along the maxilla area and eye socket.
And blend it out. So I’ll blend the dark area for a bit and then move it into the white area to transfer the graphite.With every round of blending, we are dragging more graphite into the white area and making it darker. This will naturally create a smooth gradation from light to dark.
I notice that this shadow is a bit too high up and its causing the tip to look a bit misshapen. So I’ll take the kneaded eraser and gently tap on it to trim it down. Much better!
The drawing is mostly done. At this point, it’s just a matter of refining it and adding contrast.
I’ll take a 2B pencil and go over the bridge to increase contrast. The more contrast we have, the higher the bridge will look.
As I’m shading, I’m varying the pressure on the pencil. When I’m in the dark area, I apply more pressure. When I’m in the light area, I apply less pressure. We don’t want to just rely on the tortillion to create the smooth gradation.
Now we’ll do that same thing to the tip and wings, with one small difference. This time, we’ll pay close attention to the reflected light. Notice how there’s a subtle reflected light along the bottom edge of the tip and wings. When shading, we will shade around this area. We’ll darken the nostril and cast shadow which will cause reflected light to stand out even more.
I’ll take the HB pencil and very lightly go over the entire drawing to fill in any white spots. We’ll be putting in the highlights soon and this will allow them to be as bright as possible.
One last round of adding contrast. And blend it out. The left side of the tip is in shadow so we want it to be much darker than the right side. And blend it out.
Next take the kneaded eraser and pick out some highlight along the bridge and tip of the nose. Just lightly tap the eraser on the areas you want to make lighter. This will help create a soft transition between the high light and the shaded area.
And that’s it, we’re all done!
In this lesson, we’re going to examine the structure and form of the lips. The first thing we have to understand about the lips is that it curves and wraps around the face.
This fact is easy to understand when we look at the skull. Notice how the teeth, which has a big impact on the structure of the lips, curves along the skull. And from the side view, the teeth also curves and protrudes out.
This curved structure of the lips become very relevent when we’re drawing them from different angles. When tilted down, the corners of the lips will appear higher up and the lips will look almost like it’s smiling. When tilted up, the corners of the lips will appear lower and the lips will look almost like it’s frowning.
The lips can be broken down into 5 rounded forms. There’s a heart shape protrusion at the center of the upper lip called the tubercle, follow by 2 oval-like forms on the side. And for the lower lips, there are 2 slightly larger and rounder oval forms. These forms are like soft paddings and they create the subtle contour of the lips. Notice the smooth gradations in tone created by these forms.
From an angle, we can really see how these rounded forms creates the shape of the lips.
At the two corner of the lips are two bean shape nodes. The mouth area has many different muscles which converge at these nodes to control the lips. These nodes are most prominent when the person is smiling slightly. However, when relaxed, they can be very subtle and depending on the lighting or angle, they may not be visible at all. But in drawings, they can be a nice little detail to add to the realism of your lips.
The nodes pinches in at the corner of the lips creating a shadow area there and a lighter tone along the outer edge.
Now let’s see how these forms affects how we draw the lips. First off, the heart-shaped form in the center creates an upward curve at the top and bottom of the upper lip. At the top, the lines curves down before leveling out and connecting to the corners. At the bottom, the lines will go straight across, then slopes down slightly, and then levels out again to connect to the corner.
The lower lip will have a slight downward curve at the middle before rounding up to connect to the upper lip. Notice how the lines fades out as it approaches the corners and doesn’t actually makes contact. This helps to show that the lower lip becomes flatter and more flushed against the face as it nears the corners. The lower lip will be slightly narrower than the upper lip and fits under it.
You can think of the lips as the letter M and W. The upper lip resembles the letter M. And the lower lip resembles the letter W.
The nodes at the corners are mostly tonal so we would depict them as a little shadow.
Keep in mind that this shape represents idealistic lips. In reality, lips will come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. They can be thin… or thick… pointy… or flat. But by knowing the pattern of idealized lips, you can better make sense of the different lips types at you’ll see.
Between the upper lip and nose is the philtrum. The philtrum is a concave groove in the skin. When drawing, we would depict it with mostly tone. The simple rule to remember when shading the philtrum is that the shadow will be on the same side as the light source.
In this example, the light source is on the right, so the shadow is on the right side of the philtrum. This is because the philtrum is a concave shape, so the light is able to hit the left side of the philtrum, leaving the right side in shadow.
From the side, we can see that the upper lip protrudes out more than the lower one creating this inward angle. The upper lip also protrudes out further than the chin creating this less pronounced inward angle.
Also notice this inward arch at the philtrum and this arch below the lower lip.
From the front view, if the light source is coming from above (which is usually the case), the shading of the lips will exhibit this alternating light-dark pattern where the planes of the lips, nose, and chin that are facing downward will be in shadow.
Try examining your own lips and see if they match the details that we pointed out here and in the next lesson, we’ll see how these concepts plays out in a drawing.
Drawing these lips yourself using the reference provided.
In this lesson, we’ll be drawing a pair of lips step by step.
To help me keep the lay in proportional, I’ll first measure the width of the lips from corner to corner and transfer it over to the drawing paper.
Then I’ll do the same for the height. If you’re drawing from a live model or don’t have a divider, you can eyeball these measurements. But it’s important to establish some kind of parameter so you have something to work of off.
Now we can start drawing the lay-in. There’s an upward curve at the center of the upper lip. And it gently slopes down to the corner.
The bottom lip will be a lot more rounded. In this instance, the bottom lip won’t have that downward curve in the middle so instead of looking like a “W”, it will look more like a “U”.
We can use the divider to mark out where the top edge of the bottom lip will be. Notice how the 2 rounded forms of the bottom lip creates these subtle bumps.
We can do the same to find the bottom edge of the upper lip. And draw in the teeth. Only the two front teeth are clearly visible so we’ll just draw those two and ignore the rest.
Before we begin shading, I’ll add some texture to the upper lip. Lips will have many subtle cracks and creases in them. We don’t have to copy them all, but it’s good to add in a few just to give the drawing some texture.
OK, I’ll start the shading by using an HB pencil to fill in the dark opening of the mouth.
The light is coming from above, so there will be a shadow under the bottom lip. This shadow is really great for showing the thickness of the bottom lip and how it protrudes out from the face. Whenever I’m drawing lips, I always try to emphasize this shadow.
This shadow will be darker at the center and gradually lightens as it get closer to the corners. The reason for this is that the lip is sticking out the most at the center, therefore it casts a larger shadow there.
The shadow will also be darkest near the lip and gradually lightens as it moves away. Again, because the light is coming from above, the bottom side of the top lip will be in quite a bit of shadow.
I’m moving the pencil up and down (as oppose to side to side) to give the shadow a soft fuzzy edge.
And put in a shadow for the bottom lip as well. For both the upper and lower lip, the goal will be to create a smooth gradation that is darkest at the bottom and gradually gets lighter towards the top.
Here I’m moving the pencil up and down to soften up the edge of the shadow. And I’ll eraser the markings we made earlier.
To bridge the gap between the dark and light area even more, I’ll put in these vertical strokes going from the dark area into the light area. I’ll lift up my pencil towards the end of the stroke to lighten it and that should give me a nice gradation. Also, notice that as I’m moving along the lip, I’m slightly changing the direction of the strokes to match the contour of the lip. It’s a small detail, but it helps give the lip more dimension.
And then darken the bottom portion a little more. Now we’ll do that same thing for the upper lips. And darken the bottom portion.
The bean-shaped nodes at the corners of the lips are not very visible in this reference so we won’t depict them.
Then blend it out with the tortillion. Be sure to blend in a single direction from dark to light. With the lips, we really want to keep the shading as smooth as possible and minimize uneven spots.
Now we can come back in and add some contrast. Use a 2B pencil and darken the shadow under the lower lip. And darken the shadow edge on the lower lip.
Notice the thin gap between the shadow edge and the bottom of the lip. This will serve as the reflected light.
Next, darken the opening of the mouth and reinforce the cracks in the upper lip. The shading will tends to be darkest here where there’s a lot of overlapping parts.
Of course, we can just leave the teeth as pure white. The teeth are sitting inside the mouth and so they are going to be in shadow. Put a light layer of tone over the front teeth.
There is a shadow cast by the upper lip onto the teeth. This shadow really help to show that the lip is overlapping the teeth.
Next, let’s darken the under side of the upper lip for more contrast. And let’s add a little more tone to the lower lip. Here, I’m placing the tone in this curved shape to emphasize the two rounded forms of the lower lip.
As the drawing becomes darker, I can afford to blend more quickly and not be worried about uneven spots as much because they will be less noticeable.
Now blend it out. Use the blending process as a chance to sculpt the tone and shape it as you wish. It’s a good idea to place a blank paper under your hand so you don’t smear the graphite on the drawing.
As the back portion of the bottom lip recedes back into the mouth, the tone will gradually gets darker. So I’ll put in a little bit of shading along the top edge and blend it out. This will really help to show the rounded shape of the lip.
Then, shade the kneaded eraser into a flat edge like so. And use it to lift out some highlights. These highlights will be in a sort of fan-like pattern to match the contour of the lips. You might have to re-shape your eraser once or twice to clean it up as it because dirty with graphite.
And if the highlights stand out a little too much, we can tone them down with the tortillion.
Next, we’ll go over the drawing one more time to add more contrast. Darken the shadow under the lower lip. Darken the shadow edge of the lower lip.
Do the same for the upper lip. Add a little more tone onto the teeth. And darken the opening in the mouth. There’s a thin shadow on the lower lip that is cast by the upper lip.
This bottom right corner of the lip is a bit too dark, so I’ll gently tap on it with the kneaded eraser to lighten it.
And lastly we’ll clean up the surrounding area and edges… and we’re all done!
In this lesson, we’ll go through the structure and anatomy of the ear. The ear might seem like a complicated mess, but I promise, once you’ve learned all the parts that makes up the ear, drawing it will be a piece of cake.
Basic Structure and Placement
The ear is shaped like a funnel. This funnel shape is angled forward to allow the ear to detect sounds coming from the front. This is why we are able to see so much of the ear from the front view.
The ear is also more top heavy, so from the front, we will see a slight inward angle.
From the side, the height of the ear is about twice as tall as the width. And rather than hanging vertically straight on the head, the ear will be tilted back slightly on the head (almost like a crooked picture frame).
As far as placement is concern, the ear is place in the lower back quadrant of the simplified head. And it will fit between the eyebrow and bottom of the nose.
But as you already seen from the 3D head lessons, where the ears appear relative to the other features will also depends on the tilt of the head. When the head is tilted up, the ears will appear lower. And when the head is tilted down, the ears will appear higher up.
For most people, the hardest part about drawing the ear is making sense of all this crazy details on the inside, so let’s go through them one-by-one.
Anatomy of the Ear
First, we have the helix, which is this thick outer rim of the ear. It spans from this point to this point.
Within the helix sits the antihelix which is this Y-shaped bump. The Y has two branches. The first branch is larger and less defined. The second branch is smaller and more defined.
Both the helix and antihelix attaches to the lobule (or ear lobe). When we get our ear pierced, its usually the ear lobe that is pierced. A big characteristic of the ear lobe is how attached it is to the face. In one extreme, the ear lobe will be clearly separated from the face and dangle freely. In which case, the ear lobe can be labeled as “free”.
In the other extreme, the ear lobe will be completely attached to the face and there doesn’t seem to be much of an ear lobe at all. In this case, the ear lobe can be labeled as “attached”.
Most ear lobes will be somewhere in between these two extremes.
Next we have the concha which makes up this recessed portion of the ear. The concha is bowl-shaped and it attaches to the helix at this point. You can really feel the bowl shape of the concha by touching your ear like this.
We can see the concha much more clearly from that back. The concha is mainly responsible for the funnel shape of the ear.
To go back to the funnel analogy, the concha is like the body of the funnel. The helix is like the opening rim of the funnel. The ear lobe is like the tab on the funnel. And the antihelix, is like… well a weird Y-shaped dent in the funnel. Sorry, not everything has a perfect analogy
In front of the concha, we have the tragus. The tragus is this small protrusion that partly hides the opening to the ear canal.
And across from the tragus is this other protrusion called the antitragus. Lastly, separating the tragus and antitragus is this little opening called the intertragic notch. You can remember is as the tragic separation between these 2 star-crossed lovers that is the tragus and antitragus.
Alright, that was a lot of anatomy information to take in, so to help you remember, just think “Why thumbs down?” or… Y thumbs down? Here’s what I mean…
The helix resembles the hook of a question mark and the ear lobe is the dot. The antihelix resembles a “Y”. And as observed by artist Mark Crilley, the concha, tragus, antitragus, and intertragic notch resembles a thumbs down.
More specifically, it looks like a hand wearing a mitten giving a thumbs down.
See the resemblance? See if you can spot the thumbs down mitten on this ear. How ’bout this one? You might have to stare at the ear for a while to see it and this pattern won’t necessarily be there for every ears, but its a great way to make sense of all this complex details.
So the next time you’re struggling with drawing an ear, just think “Y thumbs down?”
Go ahead and examine your own ear to help you become familiar with all the parts and names and in the next lesson, we’ll put all that information to work!
Draw this ear using the reference provided.
In this lesson, we’ll go through how to draw an ear step-by-step. Here’s the reference we’ll be working with.
We’ll begin with the lay-in. As mentioned earlier, the ear won’t be perfectly vertical, so we’ll first establish the tilt of the ear.
Next, we’ll use the divider to establish the height and width of the ear. Of course, you can just eyeball these measurements if you’d like. With these guidelines in place, we can sketch in the details.
Here we have the helix. Then the little protrusion that is the tragus. And the other protrusion that is the antitragus. The antitragus will continue upward and connects to the Y-shaped antihelix. Once you’re familiar will all the parts of the ear, it actually becomes quite easy to draw and make sense of all the details.
I feel like the top of the ear is a bit small, so I’m going to expand it a bit. And now just erase the guidelines.
OK, time for the shading.
Let’s start with the easiest part and fill in the dark cast shadow near the tragus. The light source is coming from the left and there’s a shadow casted by the tragus onto the ear. We can see the edge of the shadow here. And continue filling in the shadow. I’m using an HB pencil and keeping the tone relatively light.
There’s another shadow casted by the helix onto the upper ear. Let’s outline that shadow. This shadow is actually quite useful. Not only does it adds more dimension to the drawing (as all shadows do), but it also helps to show the contour of the antihelix. Notice how the shadow curves and change with the shape of the antihelix. When drawing, we can exaggerate these changes a bit to give the drawing more impact.
Even within the shadow area, there should still be a gradation. The tone should be darkest near the helix and tragus and gradually lightens as it moves away. So I’ll darken the lines there to remind myself to keep this gradation in mind.
Next, let’s put in some of the more subtle core shadows. There’s a core shadow at the bottom of the antihelix. There’s also one for the antitragus. And there’s a long core shadow running along the helix and ear lobe. At the top of the ear, that core shadow will switch from being on the outside to being on the inside.
Next I’ll roughly map out some of the shadows and highlights to the left of the ear. I’ll also put a background around the ear. The ear is not by itself a very attractive object, so this will help make the drawing more interesting.
There’s a little light area in the background near the ear lobe. Let’s mark out this area and fill in the rest. When designing the background, we can be more creative. In this case, I’m taking inspiration from the reference, but if I decide later that this doesn’t look as good, I can always change it.
And let’s add in just a hint of the jaw line.
Also, notice how I’m not very concern with making the shading super smooth. For a background, I think a sketch stylized texture will actually look better than a really smooth one. However, I’m still trying to have the tone gradually fade out to create a vignette.
OK, the drawing is starting to take shape. Now let’s go back with a 2B pencil and darken the cast and core shadows for more contrast.
Notice that we have a second, weaker light source in the drawing coming from the right. This light source is lighting up the edge of the helix. We can treat this just like a reflected light. So when darkening the core shadow, I’ll just darken the left side of the shadow and leave the edge lighter.
Next, lightly blend out the tone. At this point, the goal is to just make things a little more smooth and also to put a light layer of graphite onto the white areas.
Then, darken the background some more. As I’m shading the background, I’m trying to have the tone gradually fade out to create a vignette. Notice how the darker background cause the ear to stand out more.
Now we’ll focus on putting in the half tones to show the subtle contours of the ear. Let’s start with the anti-helix. We know that the highlight will be in the middle, so we’ll put the half tone in between the highlight and core shadow.
Then use the tortillion to create a smooth transition. And repeat the process to add more contrast. Let’s do the same for the low part of the ear. Here, the highlights will be in these areas.
And I’ll go around the drawing with the tortillion and smooth out other areas where there’s a transition between core shadow and highlight. Next, we’ll do one more round of adding contrast.
For this I’ll use an even darker 3B pencil. We’ll reinforce this cast shadow to make it nice and sharp. Cast shadows are great. They always make a drawing so much more interesting. And we also want to darken the recesses of the ear to accentuate the Y shape of the antihelix.
Here, I’ll darken the background which will help bring out the reflected light along the helix. And now, I’ll darken the core shadow on the helix… and notice how the reflected light just pops right out. Also, when darkening the core shadow, I consciously try go give it some variations, giving it some darker spots here and there.
Now, use the kneaded eraser to lift out the highlights. Every time I put in a highlight, I’ll step back and evaluate how it looks and figure out where I want to put the next one.
I want to tone down the highlights to the left of the ear, so I’ll use a HB pencil and lightly put in some cross-hatching. Cross-hatching is a shading technique where you put multiple layers parallel lines on top of each others.
And I’ll just add some quick hatching to the ear lobe… do a little refining… and we’re all done!
Practice the drawing exercise in the video and in the next lesson, we’ll see how this simple process can create a realistic head of hair.
Hair can be one of the most tricky things to draw. There are so many different types of hair and so much details to deal with. The whole thing can really make you want to pull your hair out. But once you understand the basic principles of drawing hair, it can be quite manageable and with time, even easy.
One common mistakes is to try to draw the individual strands of hair. In fact, I think this is how most beginners approach drawing hair, myself included. The big aha-moment for me came when I started thinking about the hair as a solid form.
Instead of seeing the individual strands, try to see the hair as a single shape. This shape has edges and contour. And it is governed by the same rules of lights and shadows as any other objects. It has highlights, half-tone, core shadow, cast shadow, and even reflected light (although it’s a lot harder to see).
Incidentally, the shape of the hair is very much affected by the shape of the head. Here we can see the round contour of the head being reflected in the hair in the form of this band of highlight.
Once we’ve depict the form of the hair, we can add in the texture to make it look like realistic hair. Let’s go through a quick exercise to see how this works.
We’ll draw a simple lock of hair. The first step is to give this lock of hair some dimension. Let’s imagine that the hair is sticking out at the middle and therefore catches more light there. So that’s where the highlight will be and the rest will be half-tone.
Just with this simple shading, we can start to see a little dimension. Next we’ll smooth out the transition between the half-tone and highlight by add in some pencil strokes. These strokes will begin in the half-tone area and gradually tapers out as it goes into the highlight.
You can probably see now how the taper stroke is so useful for drawing hair. These strokes will also serve to give the hair some texture so try to mix up the length and value of the lines.
Once finished, gently blend out the tone with the tortillion. Be sure to blend with the direction of the hair.
Now come back in with the pencil to give the hair more texture. This time, I’m focusing on giving the hair some dark strains here and there. It’s these variation in tones that makes the hair look more interesting and three-dimensional.
To add yet another layer of texture, we can shape the kneaded eraser into a shape edge and use it to lift out thin highlights.
Then do some more texturing.
You might find that the tortillion can be too blunt an instrument for blending hair. So if you want a more delicate blending tool, you can use a paint brush instead.
Lastly, we can use the kneaded eraser to add in random wisps of hair to make it look more natural. And we can come back in with a pencil to reinforce or accentuate those strands of hair.
Here, I’m simply darkening the areas around the highlight to make it stand out more. Just be careful not to over darken it as it could look unnatural.
As you can see, this simple process can create pretty realistic hair in a reasonably short amount of time.
Go ahead and practice this little exercise and in the next lesson, we’ll see how this simple process can create a realistic head of hair.
Draw this hair using the reference provided. This is a long drawing, so be patient.
In this lesson, we’ll be drawing a full head of hair step by step. Here’s the reference we’ll be working with.
We’ll start by drawing the lay-in. I’ll mark how tall I want the face to be and sketch in the outline. When drawing hair there’s a lot of details to take in and it can be difficult to decide which line to put down.
Luckily, in this case, the hair is pretty orderly and it’s easy to make out the contour of the hair. But if you are drawing a more chaotic head of hair, just try to putdown the lines or shapes that stand out most to you.
The key thing to remember is that you don’t have to copy the hair exactly as you see it. With the eyes, nose, and lips we have to be as faithful to the reference as we can to retain the likeness. But with the hair, we have a lot more flexibility to make it look how we want without affecting the likeness.
So even though drawing hair can be a bit tedious, the good news is you can relax more and… well, let your hair down.
Now that the lay-in is complete, the next step is to give some basic dimension to the hair. And we’re going to do that by separating the hair into three tones: shadows, half-tones, and highlights.
Let’s start with the shadows. I’ll take an HB pencil and map out all the darkest areas in the reference. Obviously, we’ll start with the cast shadow on the face and neck. Next, we’ll do the cast shadows on the hair.
OK, so those were the easy ones. The rest of the shadow areas will be a little more ambiguous and how you design their shapes will be up to you.
For example, with this shadow here, instead of trying to match the reference exactly, I’m using it as an inspiration while designing the shadow in a way that I think will look attractive. I try to give the shadow some variations, some jagged edges and uneven borders and so forth.
Try designing your own shape. And don’t stress about it too much, we’ll be breaking up these shapes when we get to the texturing phases. By the way, I’m using a blank piece of paper to rest my hand on so I don’t smudge the drawing.
Before moving on to the next step, I’ll take a darker 3B pencil and darken these shadow areas some more. We’ll be adding in the half-tone next and I want there to be some contrast between the two.
Next, I’ll go back to the HB pencil and map out the half-tone areas and shade them: in. i These are the areas that lies between the shadows and highlights. As we are filling in the half-tone, any areas that we leave blank will of course be the highlight.
Again, with the half-tone, you’ll have to do some interpreting and design. You’ll have to look at the reference and simplify the ambiguous half-tones into concrete shapes. Just go with your instinct and have fun. You have a lot of leeway here so it’s hard to go wrong.
Now that we have the shadows, half-tones, and highlights put in, the hair is starting to look three-dimensional. The only things missing are the texture of the hair and the transition between the 3 tones could be smoother. So that’s why are are going to put in next.
Make sure your pencil is well sharpened and put in short tapered strokes along the edge of the highlight areas. You’ll want the strokes to start in the shadows or half-tones and gradually tapers out as it enters the highlight.
These strokes will act as a bridge between the highlights and the shadows or half-tone, creating a smooth gradation.
Also, they will add some subtle texture to the hair.
Try to vary up the length and darkness of these strokes a little. The point is to not have them become too repetitive and boring. Every once in a while press down a little harder with your pencil. Or make a stroke a little longer or shorter than usual.
And just repeat this process for all the highlight areas.
Then we’ll blend’ everything out with the tortillion. It’s important to be gentle and blend with the direction of the hair. Go ahead and blend into the highlight areas. We are going to re-establish the highlights in a later stage.
Be patient with your blending and try to avoid uneven spots.
The blending has brought the tones closer to each other in value, so I’ll go back in and darken the shadows for more contrast. I’ll also take this opportunity to add more texture and variations to the shadows.
Every once in a while, I’ll press down harder with the pencil and put in a sharp line. Then I’ll linger over that line for a bit with a bunch of lighter strokes to tone it down. This helps to make the hair more interesting and also gives it more dimension.
For this, you’ll want to use a pencil that is hard enough to make clean, sharp lines but also soft enough to provide a dark value. An H or HB pencil would work well here.
As you’re doing this, step and inspect the drawing every now and then. This will help you to see if what you just did looks good and where to add more value or texture.
As you can probably tell by now, drawing hair requires a lot of patient. With all this detail works, it might be tempting to rush your strokes and be a little sloppy, but you should avoid doing that. One sloppy stroke might not make a big difference, but many sloppy strokes will add up and downgrade the quality of your drawing.
Just take your time and be patient. Taking frequent breaks is a very good idea as it can help you stay fresh and prevent sloppiness.
Next, take the kneaded eraser and shape it into a sharp wedge like so. Then use it to lift out these thin highlights in the highlight areas.
This might be a little awkward so be patient. You’ll have to re-shape the eraser to clean it with every few strokes. Also, make sure the curve and direction of the highlights matches the curve and direction of the hair.
One tool that could make your life a lot easier is an eraser pen. Any eraser pen will work here as long as the eraser is hard enough. Take a razor and cut off the tip of the eraser to create a sharp edge. Then use that sharp edge to lift out highlights in your hair.
The eraser pen is great for creating really thin highlights and you’ll have a lot more control with it. On the other hand, the kneaded eraser is better of creating medium and large highlights. I like to use both depending on my needs.
Repeat this process for all the highlight areas.
The thin highlights we just put in added another layer of texture to the hair. Now we’ll go in with an H or HB pencil and smooth out the transition between the highlights and the shadows and halftone. This step is very similar to what we did earlier.
As I’m doing this, I’m also thinking about adding texture to the hair and increasing the contrast for the drawing. So every now and then, I’ll press down harder with the pencil to create a darker strain or group of strains. This goes for the shadow areas as well. I want to create some variations in tone in the darker areas.
As I’m doing this, I’m referring back to the reference every once in while, but not much. I’m mostly going off my own judgement about what I think will look good. And in some places, I’m actually differing from the reference. For example, in the reference, this group of hair is in highlight along the edge, but in the drawing, I’ve made the edge quite a bit darker. I felt that this would help show the contour of the hair better so I made the change.
This process of refining the hair can take as long as you want it to, depending on how realistic you want your hair to look. There are artists who can render the hair for hours. Personally, I don’t enjoy rendering the hair that much, so my philosophy is to make the hair adequately realistic and leave it at that. There’s even an argument that you don’t want to make the hair too realistic as it could distract away from the face.
These are decisions you’ll have to make for yourself and it all depends on your temperament and the style you want to work in.
Now, if you do want to take your hair further and make it as realistic as possible, the process is pretty simple. Just repeat the steps that we’ve done so far. Blend out the hair with the tortillion. Then lift out the highlights with the eraser. And come back in with the pencil to add more texture and contrast. And repeat that cycle as many times as needed.
With each cycle, you’re basically adding on another layer of texture. And in time, this will give you drawing more depth and subtle complexity. But in this example, I’ll only be going through the cycle only once. And that’s it, we’re all done!
We’ve did a lot in this lesson so let’s go through a quick recap of all the steps. First, we drew the lay-in. Then we filled in a shadows… followed by the half-tones and highlights. This helps to established the form of the hair. Next we used tapered strokes to smooth out the transitions between the highlights and the rest of the tones. Blend everything out. Go back with the pencil to add contrast and texture.
Use the kneaded eraser and eraser pen to lift out the highlights. Do one more round of texturing and adding small details. And lastly we use a softer pencil to add one more round of contrast.
Draw this lay-in using the reference provided. Remember to thoroughly check it for mistakes before moving on to the rendering phase.
OK, so now let’s apply what we’ve learned so far to draw a complete portrait.
Here’s the reference photo we’ll be working with. I’ve also included two additional high-contrast versions of the reference photo that you can use to see the shadows more clearly if you need it.
I’ll use the Loomis method to establish a rough scaffolding for the head. Start with a circle and add the center line. Even though there’s slight twist in the model’s neck, we’re still going to just approach this portrait as a standard 3/4 view head.
Next, I’ll find the hair and brow line. Here’s I’m just doing my best to estimate where these measurements would be. You gotta start somewhere, right?
And these measurements are not set in stone. Chances are we’re going to have to adjust them further down the road. But for now, they will help give us something to work with.
Since the head is not distorted by perspective, we can copy this same distance to find the nose and chin line. I’ll lightly draw in the ellipse to separate the front plane of the face from the side plane.
And now, I’ll roughly block in the features. I’m not too concern with the likeness just yet. I’m mostly just trying to get the proportions and placement right. We can worry about refining the details later.
Here, to find the point where the ear connects with the jaw, I’m using a technique called “Triangulation”. I’m estimating the angle from the bottom of the nose to the bottom of the ear. And then I’ll estimate the angle from the corner of the eyebrow to that same point. These two angles will give me the location of the ear.
Notice how these three points forms a triangle, hence the name “Triangulation”. This is an extremely useful measuring technique and I use it all the time in my drawings. Whenever you want to find a landmark in a drawing, measure it against one or several other points that you’ve already found. The more points you use, the more accurate your placement will be.
As the saying goes, “Measure thrice and your drawing will be nice!”
Now, we can place the rest of the features. The further you go in a drawing, the easier it becomes since you have more and more reference points to help guide you.
Well, that’s assuming that you were accurate in your initial measurements. That’s why it’s very important to be diligent about checking and re-checking your drawing for mistakes as you draw, especially in the early stages as the rest of the drawing will be based on that.
When doing the lay-in it’s good to jump around the drawing a lot and develop it as a whole. Don’t just focus on one area for a long time. Instead, draw the hair for a bit, then draw the neck for a bit, and so on. This will help you to spot proportional mistakes and keep your drawing more coherent.
When I’m recording these drawing demos, I try to be a lot more orderly in my approach to make it easier to follow. But when I’m just drawing for myself, I will actually jump around a lot more than I do in the video.
I usually like to draw in the eyes last. It’s the most important feature and I like to have all the other landmarks to measure off of to help me draw it more accurately.
A big problem that a lot of art students have is getting the two eyes to match up. Here, you’ll see me moving my hand back and forth between the eyes many times. I’m drawing an imaginary curve that goes from one eye to the other. This helps me to establish a connection between the eyes and tie them together.
You can also use straight lines and angles, look at the distance between the tear ducts, and so on. The point is, don’t just draw one eye in isolation. Pay closer attention to the relationship between them.
It’s important to place the iris in the eye as accurately as we can because any deviations can really affect the gaze and emotion of the portrait. To help with this, pay close attention to the white space on either sides of the iris and match them as closely as possible.
In this case, the subject is looking slightly towards the right, so there will be more white space on the left side of the iris.
Now we can come back in and refine the shape of the features, adding more details. This is where I start worrying about the likeness. I will check and re-check my drawing against the reference and try to capture all the subtle curves and angles as accurately as I can.
The key to capturing the likeness in a portrait is really just patient and attention to details. The more tim to take to carefully obverse your drawing and correct mistakes, the more like the subject it will look.
It’s a good idea to take short breaks every once in a while, step away from your drawing, and see if you can spot any mistakes. I will also take longer breaks every hour or so. This allows my eyes to reset and usually when I come back to the drawing, I will see things that I want to fix.
As you can see, I’m being really fussy and adjusting and moving things around until I feel like I have it just right. There’s a time to be loose and gestural and there’s a time to be fussy and detail oriented. This is one of those times.
Almost every little details contribute to the likeness of a person and the more of those details you have right, the better the likeness will be. Also, fixing mistakes on will be a lot easier than once you’ve progress further in the drawing.
OK, so that’s it for the lay-in phase of the drawing. Before we move on to the rendering phase, carefully examine your drawing to see if there’s anything you want to fix. I might help to take a break and do something else to let your eyes reset and then come back and examine it again with fresh eyes.
Once you are happy with your lay-in, I’ll see you in the next lesson.
Finish out the rendering for this portrait. Keep in mind things like line-weight variation, contrast, darkening the edge of the shadow, and adding hatching and calligraphy. These things will give your drawing more depth and interest.
Once you’re happy with your lay-in, we can move on to the rendering phase.
The first objective here is to get a three dimensional read for the drawing and we’re going to do that by separating the light areas from the shadows. Simply look at the reference and simplify all the tones into either light or shadow. We’ll deal with the half tone and really dark shadows later.
One trick that might help is to squint your eyes to blur out the small details of the reference. This will allow you to better focus on the big picture of distinguishing the lights from the shadows.
Thinking about the location of the light source will also help. We know that light source is coming from the left so the light areas will generally be on the left and the shadows on the right.
This process is a bit of an art in itself. Sometimes a shadow might be very ambiguous and you’re not sure if it should be in the light group or shadow group. In which case, just make a decision one way or another. There’s really no right or wrong answer. Overtime, as you gain more experience, you’ll develop a sense for how to design these lights and shadows in a way that looks attractive. Until then, the best way to learn is to experiment.
The lighting in this reference is good, but not great. There’s a decent amount of contrast between the light and the shadow, but we actually want more. The more contrast there is between the light and shadow, the more dramatic and exciting the drawing will be. When selecting references, you’ll want to look for this.
But, this will be a great opportunity to show to we can take a so-so reference and exaggerate the lighting to make it look a lot more exciting. You’ll see what I mean later.
Now let’s do the same thing to the hair. The top part of the hair is hit by the light and the bottom portion will be in shadow. And of course, the division will be broken up by random lines of shadows.
By the way, I’m using a B or 2B pencil for this initial shading. Later, when we are ready to start adding contrast, I’ll switch to a much darker pencil.
Now I’ll comeback and darken some of the darker shadow areas. This will help give the drawing a little bit more dimension.
Now let’s zoom in and focus on the eyes. The eyebrows will not be the same tone all the way through. There are areas of the eyebrows that will be darker than others. Here the middle portion is the darker because it has the most hair overlapping in that area. This is a critical detail to making the eyebrow more realistic.
Next, we’ll shade in the iris and pupil. The rest of the eye requires more precision so I’ll switch to my trusty Mars lead holder. It can sharpen to a very fine tip and it stays sharp for quite a while. If you don’t have one of these, you can just use a regular well-sharpen pencil.
Once we have the dark tone laid in, we can use a tortillion to blend it out and create the subtle contour of the eyeballs. Remember the gradation will be darkest towards the corners and lightens as it moves towards the iris.
And let’s not forget about the contour around the eyes as well. Now do the same for the other eye.
Next, blend out the nose. Notice how this blending process is helping use to create a half tone and also smooth out the transition between the light and the shadow.
Now we’ll add some of the darker shadows in the ear. Even though the ear can look a bit weird with all its irregular contours, it can also be a great opportunity to show dimension. There are a lot of dark creases and hard shadows in the ear and if we take advantage of them properly, they can add a lot of interest to the drawing.
Next, darken the shadows for the mouth area. Remember, the concave shape of the philtrum will actually cause the shadow to fall on the left and the light to be on the right.
Notice the downward slanting cast shadows created by the nose, upper lip, lower lip, and chin. It’s important that we capture these cast shadows.
Next let’s put in little short strokes to represent the facial hair. Don’t over do this as it can look a weird. We most just want to add some texture around the mouth. Now, blend it out with a tortillion to soften the texture.
Now, I’ll darken the shadows on the hair and sharpen up some of the edges. To keep from smudging the drawing, I’ll take a piece of scratch paper and rest my hand on it.
Try to mix up the shapes to keep them from looking too uniformed. Blend it out. And add some texture with a sharp pencil. And for even more texture, use a kneaded eraser to lift out some highlights.
The hair will be casting a little bit of a shadow onto the forehead. And we also want to soften up the transition between the hair and forehead.
I’ll add a dark background on the left side of the face where the light is hitting to create a nice contrast. This will make the portrait pop out of the page more. And let’s darken the shadow areas some more.
OK, so now I’m going to take my well sharpened Mars lead holder and just come back in and sharpen up all the lines and edges. As we are shading and blending, things can start to get soft and blurry, and by re-affirming these lines, the drawing is going to look a lot better and we can better judge what we need to do next.
As I’m re-affirming these lines, I’m being careful not to make things too even or uniformed. I try to vary up the lines weight to keep things interesting. I’ll make certain parts darker, certain parts lighter. Line weight variation is a big key to creating a beautiful drawing.
Let’s continue to darken the shadow to give the drawing more contrast and make it look more dramatic. To further accentuate the contrast, I’m going to darken the edge of the shadows along the separation between the light and the dark.
Where there is a strong cast shadow, like under the nose, lips, and chin, I’ll make the edge harder. Where there is a more diffused shadow, like at the cheek bone, nose, and side of the head, I’ll make the edge softer and more subtle.
And remember, the light weight variation principle applies to the shadows as well. Don’t just darken the edge all the way through. Instead, make some areas darker and some lighter.
Now, I’ll come back over the whole drawing with a 7B pencil and really pump up the contrast.
As I’m darkening this background, I’ll let the tone spill into this portion of the hair. This will help make that area of hair blend in with the background and create a lost edge. Lost edges look really great because they create a lot of depth and interest in your drawing. It’s similar to the principle of line weight variation where we want to create as much variation in our drawing as we can.
Backgrounds and dark shadow areas are great opportunities for creating lost edges, so always keep that in mind as you are shading them.
Now I’ll come in with the kneaded eraser and pick out the highlights. Do one last round of adding contrast with the 7B pencil. Lastly, I’ll use a really sharp lead holder and add in hatching lines to the drawing.
I like to use simple lines that are slanted at a 45 degree, but I’ll also vary up the angles of the lines depending on the contour of the area.
These hatching lines will not only serve to soften the transition between the light and the shadow, but they will also add a nice stylized texture to the drawing. It give the viewer something to feast their eyes on when looking at the drawing closely. And from a far, it will give the drawing a nice subtle texture as well.
This process is called adding caligraphy to the drawing. This is a whole art form in itself and there are many, many ways of doing. And to be honest, I’m still somewhat of a novice in this area. There are master artists out there who has some amazing ways to stylizing their drawings with different lines and flourishes.
The best way to learn how to do this well is to master studies of art works that you like and just copy what the artist did to see how they go their drawing to look the way it does. You can find lots of good drawings to study from with a quick google search or browsing through art books.
By the way, notice how in the areas like the nose and lips, I try to avoid hard lines and instead show dimension by using soft and firm edges. But in areas like the outline of the face or the ear, I intentionally break this rule and use really dark hard lines. This is because I think it makes things pop more and it’s just part of how I want to stylize the drawing.
You can think of drawing a portrait as consisting of three stages: first we draw the lay-in as accurately as we can, then we render that lay-in as realistically as we can, and finally, we stylize the drawing in various ways to make it more than just a realistic copy. We want to draw attention to the fact that it’s a drawing and add our own creativity and signature to it.
And that’s it for our final portrait drawing. Thank you so much for joining me for this course and I hope you enjoyed it!