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HOW to DRAW & SHADE a WHIMSICAL African Face & Head Wrap in Copic Markers (Whimsical Women #11)
Teaching you how to draw a whimsical face is one of my FAVORITE things to do! I'm having SO much fun with the whimsical face drawing tutorials in the Whimsical Women of the World series!
Not only does today's STUNNING model help us study profile drawing, we'll cover how to draw an African head wrap (including how to draw the fabric folds within it), how to draw a closed eye, and how to draw a face looking up!
As always, the whimsical drawing portion of today's video is in real time so you can see exactly how I get it done!!
To get us started off on the right track, I'm doing a mini review of the value scale to help you understand how important this is whenever you're drawing and hoping to take your artwork to the next level.
If you incorporate the lightest light ALLLLLL the way to the darkest dark, and everything inbetween... your art will be so much more sophisticated!!
Real quick, before we go any further: All product links are Affiliate. I may earn a small commission if you choose to order through these links, but by law, there is never any additional cost to the consumer for doing so. I thank you for your support!
I talked about how to shade skin tones in graphite (or black and white variations of the value scale), a lot in my How to Draw & Find Your Style book because it's easiest for beginners to learn about value scale drawing in black and white first.
Graduating from shading in graphite / black and white to color can be tough and trip some artists up, but it's exactly the SAME concept as grayscale- you're just essentially working in browns!
HOT TIP! Be sure to create a value scale of skin tones for yourself that looks something like this before you start shading. I recommend you also write the name of the marker color next to the shade so you know exactly which one to pick up when the time comes!
One of the reasons I have loved doing this Whimsical Women of the World portrait drawing series is because I could push myself to explore all the variations of skin tones represented in countries around the world. If you've watched me before, you know I LOVE dramatic highlights and shadows, which today's reference photo is FULL of!!
If you'd like a copy of my reference photo, hop over to AwesomeArtSchool.com and click into either my YouTube & Cheatsheet Library, or the Whimsical Women of the World classroom to download the reference image from today's lesson, or any lesson from this series!
If you are a member of the Fun Fab Drawing Club over at Awesome Art School, the Whimsical Women of the World classroom has already been made available to you within the club!! If you're not a member of the club, but are interested, please sign up for the waitlist, and you'll receive an email from me when the membership is open for enrollment again in the spring!
Today's portrait drawing tutorial is a profile. Instead of teaching you my "Fun Fab" approach for side profile drawing- I'm showing you a little more advanced method from my book. It's a bit more realistic.
If you start watching today's tutorial and begin feeling like this is a little too advanced for you- don't worry!! The drawing projects in the Whimsical Women series ARE more advanced. But I work hard to break them down for you to keep things simple, so when you do feel ready, you can dive right in!!!
If this looks fun for you but feels a little out of reach at the moment, I've got an awesome 6-part video profile drawing series on YouTube that teaches you my Fun Fab method for drawing whimsical profiles (it's more directed at beginners)!! If you'd rather start with a front facing face (most do!!) - here is the 5-part series for absolute beginners!
Profiles can feel extremely tricky to draw because of all the angle variations that make us who we are as individuals.
For example, in the photo above - I've highlighted the angle of the nose to the chin to show you just how much this changes from face to face. Some faces have a pronounced angle here, some have a more subtle one, and others have barely any angle presentat all - as in the case of today's beautiful model.
I find using a sheet of trace paper helps me to understand the spatial relationships on a face before I draw it. You might find this to be a helpful trick as well! It's kinda like a practice round to warm up my hand.
If you're not sure how to draw a closed eye, how to draw open lips, or how to draw fabric folds on a headscarf /african head wrap- be sure to click over and actually watch the portrait drawing tutorial so you can follow me in real time.
For drawing fabric folds on our model's head scarf, I try to break the overall head scarf down into chunks / shapes that I can clearly see, then replicate on my paper.
Since I'm doing a whimsical drawing, instead of a realistic drawing, I'm able to give myself a little grace here if things aren't perfect. Doesn't THAT feel good?! No need for perfection when you pull out your "whimsy" card!!
When everything is sketched in, go ahead and start erasing all your guidelines. My favorite eraser is the vanish eraser - which you can pick up for about $2 at Jerry's Artarama, or on Amazon for a bit more.
If you're not using alcohol markers to color in your drawing like I am, just be sure you have a nice gradation of skin tone shades swatched out before you begin so you know what to reach for when you're ready to start incorporating each shade! We want the WHOLE value scale represented in your work, because this adds dimension and sophistication!!
You have two choices when you're shading- either shading from light to dark or from dark to light. I've chosen to shade light to dark today- hitting the highlighted areas of her nose and chin first.
As you'll see in my work, and in your own (if you're using copic markers or another brand of alcohol markers), these can be very streaky. To reduce the streaks, it helps to lay your color down quickly so the shades blend into one another a bit when the ink is wet.
You can also choose one color to shade over transitional lines to attempt to soften these lines, or add colored pencil shading over the top of your marker layers. When you're blending copic markers, you can also try shading one solid color in strokes running the opposite direction from how you originally laid down color. I often use the lightest or a medium skin tone marker when doing this to my face drawings.
Be sure to watch the tutorial because I demo this today and in many of the videos from this series.
When I selected marker shades for the headscarf, I used the exact same strategy as I did for choosing skin tone markers to work with for this project. You want to choose 3-5 shades that transition nicely and can blend into one another to represent various stages of the value scale from lightest to darkest.
If you're intimidated by the head wrap or not sure how to draw folds in fabric- this really is easier than it looks! I find it to be similar to drawing hair. Follow me, and I'll break it down for you.
The farther I get into my project, the more layers I continue to build up on her face to eliminate some of the streakiness in my transitions. But I also discover, the model in my reference image really is much darker than I have portrayed, and I need to continue darkening the shadows and blending skin tones to do a better job replicating what I see.
Be sure to take your time here. Start slowly, and gradually build up those values. Honestly, the more layers you have, the more realistsic the skin will look- because we're all made up of many colors!! So just keep working and blending until you feel like you're at a good place and happy with what you've got.
I used my pentel pocket brush for my outlining - including the detail work on her eyelashes, just as I have used it in the previous lessons. I actually had to recently change the ink cartridge on this pen and sadly, it hasn't been working the same for me as it used to!!
As I was working the finishing touches on today's drawing, I decided to add just a bit more shading in and around the ear, because something about it was just bothering me! I ended up adding some black and it made all the difference in the world!! Now there is really some deep, gorgeous contrast!
If there is anything I've learned during this series it's you can't have too many layers!! This amazing Hammermill paper I work on can seriously take a beating with my alcohol markers and I love it!!! The paper you work on is EQUALLY important as any other art supply you invest in.
I hope you enjoyed this portrait drawing lesson in copics!!! I learned a ton, and hope you did too!!!
HOW to DRAW & SHADE a WHIMSICAL 3/4 View Latina Face in Copic Markers (Whimsical Women #10)
Teaching how to draw a whimsical face is one of my FAVORITE things to share on YouTube, and I'm having SO much fun with the whimsical face drawing tutorials in this series!
Today's reference image features a three quarter view - one of the trickiest to draw! As always, the whimsical drawing portion of today's video is in real time so you can see exactly how I get it done!!
HOT TIP! Because the color version of my reference image is highly saturated, the lighting can make it tricky to see where my shading should go naturally. Whenever you have difficulties with images like this, and color is throwing you off - I HIGHLY recommend you simply print yourself a black and white copy of the image so you can clearly see what is in shadow and where the highlights are.
As a matter of fact, this is the WHOLE REASON I printed my book How to Draw and Find Your Style in black and white instead of color! It's so much easier on artists to replicate the values they see on paper, when working in grayscale - especially when they are just learning to draw faces. Once you master this skill- moving over to color is SO much easier!! Trust me!!
Before we go any further, super quick announcement: All links are Affiliate. I may earn a small commission if you choose to order through these links, but by law there is never any additional cost to the consuner for doing so. I thank you for your support!
People ask me all the time about how to draw faces from different angles. The three quarter view is definitely one of the hardest to conquer! If you were watched episode 4 in this series, our Asian reference was also a three quarter face drawing prompt, and we used my 3/4 Face Drawing Guidelines Cheatsheet (click the link below to download yours for FREE if you haven't grabbed this yet).
Today, I'm using my other favorite method for drawing a 3/4 face. It's slightly different, and from my How to Draw and Find Your Style book. I sketch a rough triangle at the bottom of a circle and add some curved lines across the face to help me position facial features.
Make sure you click over to see me do this in the video because watching it in motion REALLY helps!!
In case you feel like you need them, the art reference photos for this whimsical face drawing tutorial, and ALL of the Whimsical Women of the World tutorials can be found in my YouTube & Cheatsheet Library over at Awesome Art School, as well as in my new Whimsical Women of the World classroom over at Awesome Art School.
Once you have the face shape sketched in, take some time to really study the angle of your reference image. Sometimes I actually draw right on top of my printouts (shown below), because it helps me understand the angles on the model's face.
This can sometimes make me feel a little more comfortable when I put my pencil to paper and try to replicate what I see. Don't worry if you get into your sketch and feel things need to move around or be adjusted - just make alterations as needed. That's what erasers are for!!
I LOVE the eyes on this model. They are SO huge and are going to look awesome when they are all colored in!
When I'm ready to move on to the hair, I sketch in the main shapes that I see, in sections. When you're drawing hair, it extends UP and OVER the the oval of your face shape drawing because it has so much volume. Hair also has TONS to do with directionality - so look to your reference to copy what direction it's flowing from. Be sure to watch the video so you can see how this is done.
Remember to always take a step back from your drawing to pause and really look at it from a distance to reassess the spatial relationships in your drawing vs the art reference photo. It makes a huge difference!
When you're ready to begin shading with your alcohol markers, erase all of your face drawing guidelines and extraneous marks. I often "pounce" the graphite a bit with my vanish eraser as well, to life some of it off the page without fully erasing my lines because I don't want my lightest copic markers to smear the graphite, or pick that up as I'm dragging them across the page.
If you're new to coloring with copic markers, you need to move fairly quickly with them as you lay your color down because they can definitely get streaky. You only have a small window of time while the alcohol is wet, and the pigment from the color is suspended in the alcohol. This is the time when it's easiest to blend shades from multiple markers.
I love drawing hair with the copic markers brush tip because I feel like I can almost paint with it! A cheaper copic marker alternative that I've recently discovered and enjoy working with are my Ohuhu markers. They also have a brush nib, which makes them very easy to work with in a painterly way.
I use the chisel nib on my copics when I want to cover large areas on my paper, and find this can get the job done a little bit faster than the brush nib.
Another thing I LOVE about using my copic markers, is I feel like I can really achieve a lot of personality and variety with them - just by switching nibs or changing the amount of pressure I use when I press the marker to paper.
As you alreayd know if you've been watching this series - copic markers and colored pencils work amazingly together!! Colored pencils are awesome for adding detail, easing transitions between colors, and they create a pretty texture.
As you'll see in today's face drawing tutorial, adding colored pencil on top of the coat (or blanket- or whatever she's wearing!!) helped to create the look of cloth that I couldn't achieve by using copics alone.
SUPER HOT TIP! The ingredients in your art supplies matter greatly. If you're experiencing smearing/bleeding where you've added some black outlines - make sure you're using a WATER BASED black marker/fineliner here, because the alcohol and water IGNORE one another!
There is currently a 40% off coupon running - so be sure to check that out if you are interested in purchasing or gifting the Whimsical Women of the World classroom for the holidays!! Each lesson is about 90 minutes long, contains all the drawing reference photos, and the lessons are in real time (even the shading parts)!
I hope you have fun with this lesson! See ya back here next week!!
HOW to DRAW & SHADE a WHIMSICAL UK Face with Short Curly Hair in Copic Markers (Whimsical Women #9)
How to draw a whimsical face is one of my FAVORITE things to teach, and I'm having an absolute blast with the whimsical face drawing tutorials in this series! Since I don't know where the GORGEOUS model in today's art reference photo is from - I've decided to call her "UK Cool chic" because of her funky, pink hair!
We begin this whimsical drawing like we have each one in the Whimsical Women of the World portrait drawing series - by sketching in our guidelines!
The bone structure is super important on this girl because her hair isn't covering anything up! Speaking of hairstyle - I have no idea yet how I'm gonna pull this one off, but I'll get there... just gonna have to think on that a bit!!
Then it's time to sketch in our whimsical face drawing guidelines. If you're not sure what I'm talking about, I'm guessing you might need my cheatsheet to help you out! I printed and laminated this because drawing proportions of the face are SO important. They also really are the same no matter what ethnicity you are drawing. We all start out with a human oval for the face, so this is a reference I've ALWAYS got on my art table. Click the button below and I'll send it straight to your email.
The model for today's whimsical face drawing tutorial has got SUCH COOL EYES!! And her eye makeup is really awesome. There is some kind of hot pink going on in the wet line under her eyes that I already CAN'T WAIT to get in there with my markers and add!!
Faces are kind of like vases, you know? If you draw one side, it's really hard to finish that and then hop over to the other side and get them to match! Am I right?!
Over time, I've really learned to build both sides up at the same time - especially when it comes to the EYES. This way they are much more likely to end up symmetrical than if I completed the whole right half of a face, and then tried to replicate it symmetrically on the left! It just doesn't work that way for me, so this is my trick.
I see some lines under our model's eyes, so I'm just drawing them in. I always draw what I see. This is how you capture someone's likeness. And honestly, what makes lines on peoples' faces such a big deal anyway?! It just adds to their beauty!
Be sure to watch the video because the drawing portion is all in REAL TIME so you don't have to keep pausing the video to keep up with me ;) Just copy what I do, and draw right along with me.
The eyebrows on this woman are just gorgeous - super sculpted and glamorous!!
I'm loving her gorgeous full lips too, and can't wait to start adding some color!
Before we go any further, super quick announcement: All product links are Affiliate. I may earn a small commission if you choose to order through these links, but by law there is never any additional cost to the consumer for doing so. I thank you for your support!
Students ALWAYS ask me about my eraser, and I'm in love with it. It does such an amazing job lifting the graphite off my page without ripping the paper. It's called the Vanish Eraser. You can grab them on Amazon. If you live near a Jerry's Artarama, they're only like $2 if you can get over there in person!
Let's wrap her up and erase all those guidelines.
The first step with whatever art supplies you choose for coloring, is to lay down a foundational color. I either work light to dark, or dark to light with my copics - either way is totally fine. Be sure to pause the video as you're going along to catch where the shading is getting put in.
I love the way the light is hitting our model's face today. It's one of my absolute favorite shading patterns to replicate - in any medium! It's super symmetrical. Whatever you do on the right side- just replicate on the left.
This is also one of the EASIEST lighting patterns to shade onto a face! So even if you're a beginner- YOU CAN DO THIS!
If you've seen my videos in the past, you know we all hit a point about half way into a project when the face we're working on is in what I LOVINGLY refer to as ....the ugly phase.
When you're shading with copic markers (or any brand of alcohol markers), you tend to hang out in "the ugly phase" for quite a while because there is a lot of layering to get the shading right, etc. You've gotta just embrace it! Acknowledge the ugly phase when you arrive, and KEEP GOING.
Typically whenever I've hit the ugly phase, I help my girl start working her way out of it by sweeping a light to medium shaded skin tone marker over the the entire face. The alcohol in that marker RE-WETS all the previous alcohol marker layers and it helps to blend them all together. COOL TRICK, right?!
As you're laying down darker shades of color throughout the coloring process, don't freak out if they feel like they're too dark. Alcohol markers go down kinda like watercolors and appear much darker when they first hit the page. They dry much lighter - so don't worry!!
While I'm adding some pink around her eyes, I decide to just go for it with her hair- even though I still have no idea how to do it! I study my reference and just start adding color.
For me- I really feel like when you're shading in color, you really need at least three colors to produce a 3-dimensional look - a light, medium and dark. I select my three colors and go for it with some "kindergarten" squiggles!
If you've been watching the Whimsical Women of the World series, you'll know I've been using colored pencils to add some shading on top of my markers to add texture, fix my mistakes, or help blend the transitions between marker shades.
In this video, I really relied on my colored pencils to help me achieve the look I'm seeing in the reference image in terms of makeup. For continuity among the other Whimsical Women in this series AND because I'm obsessed - I turn to my pentel pocket brush for detailing in the eyelashes, eyebrows, hair, and outlining throughout.
I finish the project with while highlights in posca pens - which I totally love, because they add SO much more dimension and sophistication to my pieces with pops of light in the eyes, lips, nose, and wherever I see sparkles throughout the features in my art reference photo.
I hope you DO NOT HOLD BACK when you're doing your own highlights in your own projects! I know this can be scary for some of my students, but they pack the biggest punch and can make such a difference in your work.
My wishes for you ... be DARING with your shadows and BRAVE with your highlights!
And above all, HAVE FUN!! Enjoy today's Whimsical Women of the World face drawing tutorial!
Thanks for joining me! See ya back here next week!
Founder of Awesome Art School. Mixed Media Artist. Author of 18 Instructional Art Books!
"Karen is flipping hilarious and she's very real...I like the way she teaches in a way that really gives you confidence, whether you're a beginner or advanced there's always something new to learn!"
- Elizabeth W.
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