Let's Get Your Creative Juices Flowing!!!
In today's face sketching video, we're building on what you learned about toned paper drawing over the last 2 weeks, and putting it ALL together to create a QUICK female face drawing!
We'll use my face drawing guidelines and identify the values we see in our face drawing reference photo. Then I'll show you how to shade your drawing + quick ways for drawing shadows and highlights using china markers, a pencil, blending stump and sharpies on toned paper! BEGINNERS WELCOME!!
Grab your supplies & come practice face drawing with me!
First things first, if you haven't grabbed my FREE Toned Paper Packet/cheatsheets- please do that and get them printed out. It's 5 helpful pages to set you up for toned paper drawing success!
You'll recieve my face drawing guidelines, along with a few reference photos for drawing a sphere (last week's exercise), a reference image for today & a list of my fav supplies if you need some!
Simpy click on this button and I'll send the cheatsheets STRAIGHT over to your inbox!
In Part 1 of this toned paper drawing series, we went over concepts and supplies for drawing on toned paper. Last week in Part 2 - we talked about how to draw and shade a sphere on toned paper, as well as the differencecs to keep in mind when working on toned tan paper or toned grey paper vs white paper.
I'm working on toned grey paper today because I think this is a bit easier for beginners who are getting used to value scale drawing.
Before I start drawing, I scribbled some shading with a variety of pencils and marked which pencil helped me achieve which value on a scrap of toned paper, below. If you're new to toned paper drawing- I suggest you do this too so you have a reference for yourself that you can use while you draw.
As we discussed last week, when you're drawing on toned paper- you're "responsible" for adding in ALL the brightest highlights and darkest shadows. The mid-tones are already represented for you by the tone of the paper.
Once you get your Toned Paper Packet downloaded and printed- grab your reference drawing photo for today (shown above), and we'll get started on your free drawing lesson.
The face I'll be drawing isn't going to be super realistic because I typically prefer a lighter style called whimsical drawing. If you're new to my YouTube drawing channel - my goal is to help you become a better artist by keeping things FUN so nothing feels stressful. That means we don't get too hung up on details.
Make sure you click over to the video to do this face drawing lesson in REAL TIME with me because it makes SUCH a difference!! We're starting out with an oval and sketching in our face drawing guidelines - something I NEVER skip -even after all the hundreds of faces I've drawn!!
If you're somewhat familiar with drawing facecs and feel like you'd enjoy learning more about how to draw facial features more realistically, I have another FREE series you might enjoy (which also comes with free drawing worksheets). Make sure you check that out because it's awesome if you like drawing faces as much as I do!
After you get your face shape and guidelines drawn, it's time to lightly sketch in some squished ovals to serve as placeholders for the eyes, nose and mouth.
If you're just learning how to draw eyes, I LOVE using my circle template to draw the irises on my girls when I'm pressed for time, or not in the mood to draw perfect circles from scratch! If this little cheat helps you too - DO IT, and don't feel bad about it. Just move on and keep your drawing project FUN!
Make sure you click over to the video because I'm showng you exactly how to draw a face step by step, and will keeping things EASY for you if this is your first time drawing a face. The face drawing guidelines will help a TON! Trust me ;)
I also bring back my circle template/ stencil for adding pupils into the eyes. Make sure you pop those right into the center of your irises. I see pupils kinda all over the place, and this little tidbit will help make your faces look more sophisticated- especially if you're just learning how to draw eyes!
Once you've gotten all the facial features in position where they need to go - you can erase all of your guidelines.
Follow me in the video to start observing the values depicted in our reference photo. As you'll see in the FREE Toned Paper Packet I've provided- there are some versions of the reference image with polka dots of gray that I've laid down to help you decide which pencil to grab when shading various parts of her face.
I love using my china markers (also called grease pencils) on toned paper because you can get really opaque coverage with them.
The only thing I don't love about my china markers is they don't blend - so just be aware of that as you head in to attack your shadows. If you haven't used a china marker before - here is another video for you. I demo how to sharpen a china marker in that video and in last week's YouTube drawing tutorial.
For today's face shading, l'm starting with my white china marker to pop in the lightest white highlights first - which are really happening in the left side of her face.
When you've finished with the whites- move on to your darkest darks with your black china marker (colored pencils are fine to use for this drawing exercise too).
Now when you take a step back to view your work a little from a distance, I don't want you to freak out if you're new to face drawing!
This girl is in what I lovingly refer to as "the ugly phase." It means she probably looks really unfinished and might have you second guessing if you should toss her into the trash because you feel like she is so ugly.
DON'T DO IT. This is normal!
EVERY face drawing has an ugly phase. Just accept it, know your project is about halfway done and KEEP GOING. Don't let the "ugly phase" win!
Now that I've got a good base of my highlights and darkest shadows down, I'm going to work some graphite pencil in, and start moving some of the graphite around with my blending stump.
Remember, china markers don't blend, but you can ease some of your shading transitions by adding some pencil and a little graphite blending with a blending stump.
I pulled out my sharpies and pentel pocket brush to add some hair and a few details into her face. She's starting to come to life and working her way out of the ugly phase.
See?! I told you! You've just gotta keep going!! She'll snap out of it!
A word of caution about the pentel pocket brush- it doesn't want to work that well over the china marker, but I'm doing it anyway because I LOVE it for drawing eyelashes.
If eyelash drawing is a struggle for you, or you're just not sure how to draw eyelashes - download my cheatsheet with tips on how to draw eyelashes. I also have two videos on eyelash drawing - one on my YouTube drawing channel, and one on my mixed media YouTube channel.
Once eyelashes are popped in, I step back a little to compare my drawing to my drawing reference. I'm not looking for perfection. Remember this is totally for fun and just a quick drawing lesson to help you get started with working on toned paper!
What do you see when you compare the two? Focus on lights and darks. Where can we add more drama to make her pop even more? Zero in on the lightest lights and darkest darks.
Get aggressive! Don't be afraid to dive in and make the black areas blacker. Do a second pass with your china marker, or pull out your pencil and darken what needs to be so you can move the graphite around with a blending stick to ease the shading transitions from light to dark.
Remember, you can vary the amount of pressure you use when you're coloring with china markers. This is another way to soften shading transitions since you can't blend china markers with a blending stump.
See how she's coming even more to life now that I've added additional shading? This extra layering makes ALL the difference.
Once I've finished with my darkest shadows, I pull out my white sharpie to help accentuate the brightest whites. Take a look at this!!
Just adding ONE dot to each pupil for some eye shine takes the whole drawing to another level of fun and makes her look more sophisticated. We could actually call her done at this point! Those two dots did THAT much!
If you follow me, you KNOW I love some dramatic face shading on my girls so I'm not calling her done yet... adding white paint pen is my favorite part and hasn't been done yet!
Because I'm doing a whimsical drawing, I look to my face drawing reference photo for inspiration about where to add my shadows and highlights. However, I absolutely feel comfortable stretching that a step further and adding a few marks where I know highlights naturally occur on the human face.
Watch the video to see that in action when I'm drawing highlights on the chin, cheekbones, eyebrow ridge etc.
A really great trick for helping you understand where to pop in face shading is to pick up a foam head from your local craft store. Then just play with a light source - either a lamp, the flashlight on your phone - whatever! Shine the light directly on the foam head -forcing a variety of shadows and highlights you can follow.
Alternatively, I've got a video taking a closer look at this concept to help you out.
Need that link again for the toned paper packet to get started on this entire tone paper drawing series on YouTube?
Click the button above, and I'll drop my toned paper packet straight to your email. (Includes my face drawing guidelines & today's face drawing reference image!)
Thanks for hanging out with me today!
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I'm super excited to share week 2 of my 12-part portrait drawing series, "Whimsical Women of the World!"
I got so into this series, I've decided it's BOOK WORTHY!!! Even better - I'm inviting YOU to join me in this process!!
Simply draw along with me in any video from the Whimsical Women of the World series, and submit a digital version of your artwork here.
This week we are drawing a woman from India, and I've found another gorgeous art reference photo for us to use!
I've found drawing in a series is fun because it gets me out of my comfort zone! I think it's so easy to fall into a habit of drawing the same whimsical types of faces- but if we take a moment to look at all the different human facial features across our ethnicities around the world, it is just gorgeous! Not to mention all the variations of color in our skin tones... it's beautiful to work with as an artist!
I think you'll love our reference photo today as much as I do!
There are a few things I found really unique about this image. I love the lighting on her face. It's rare to find a photo where a highlight goes exactly down the the center bridge of the nose! That calls for some dramatic shading - which I'm a huge fan of, so this photo really called to me.
I also love how huge her eyelids are. They happen to be basically the same shape I love to draw for my Fun, Fab Faces, so I was thrilled to find this in a photo from real life ;)
As I started to draw, I did find this particular face to be a bit tricky because the top of her head actually extends off the page. This makes sketching in her eyeline a bit more difficult. Watch how I do it in the video, and you'll be fine to do it on your own!!
Don't beat yourself up if it doesn't look like mine, if it doesn't look like the reference photo - it's fine! We're working on learning to draw faces that are well proportioned. That is our main goal!!
And, if you already know me, you know I find drawing realistic faces to be super stressful! I prefer to do whimsical drawings so I can just have fun!! I think whenever you add the word "WHIMSICAL" in front of what you're drawing - it gives you some grace if things don't come out exactly right!
As you'll see, I'm drawing with my blackwing pencils again today because I just LOVE how soft and smooth they are. They also have this great, rectangular eraser that makes it SO easy to erase in tiny areas. If you need an excellent eraser for bigger areas of your paper, the vanish eraser if phenomenal!! Links for both of these are in the description box of today's video if you need any new drawing supplies.
I traced a circle for my irises today. Sometimes this is just easier, so if drawing circles stress you out- use a stencil!!
Our model has some simple earrings, but feel free to look around on Pinterest for more intricate jewelry or hairstyles for your drawing. There are so many gorgeous variations you can do for Indian women. I kept it simple because I didn't want to overwhelm anybody with too much detail.
I tried to replicate the model's beautiful bone structure- which is super subtle, but I felt was a really important aspect of capturing her look. Because both the hair and background on my reference photo are so dark, I had to imagine a bit what her hair looks like, so drew in some little bumps to indicate a low bun.
You'll see I pulled my circle template out again to draw the bindi (this is the small dot on her forehead that indicates she's married in Hindu culture). I wanted that circle to be exact, because this is an actual sticker applied to the face and there is depth to it.
I love how this model has other beautiful facial features that are different from what I typically draw. She has very large, dilated pupils (which I used my circle template for again!). Her nose shape is subtly different as well. It dips down dramatically and even has a nose ring! Her lips are parted slightly as well -showing some teeth - which I normally avoid!! She definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone a bit, but I loved it!! It forced me to really study the image.
I believe 50% of being a good artist is having amazing observational skills! Working with the reference photos in this series will help you develop those skills even more!
Skin tone swatching is KEY if you're shading your drawing in color. If you're doing this in colored pencils, copic markers, etc. - swatch them ahead of time so you're not surprised by anything, and know the colors blend into each other seamlessly.
Whenever I'm shading a dark skinned face- I start with my darkest shade first, and work my way through shades until I reach the lightest color. I know it can be scary to START with the darkest shade - especially if you're working dark to light!! Just take your time and continually check in with your reference photo. I'm always asking myself, where are the darkest shadows? Where are the lightest highlights? Then I do my best to replicate this on my own drawing.
Now onto the "ugly phase!!!" LOL...
I believe there is ALWAYS an ugly phase. That's what stage my drawing is in right here...
If I stop working on my drawing right here and come back to it later- it could make me want to cry because she is unfinished- looks like a weird puzzle of colors, nothing is defined, etc. THIS is the ugly phase!! It's guaranteed. We all have it in our work. PUSH THROUGH IT!!!! It happens in every medium, and if you STOP working at this stage because you think your piece is ugly- you're letting the ugly phase win. KEEP GOING.
TRUST ME on this!!!!
You'll notice as I'm working color into the shading of the eyes, there is barely any white left by the time I'm done, because this is what I see in the reference photo. When you're doing a portrait - If you're shading in color, make sure you've got your GRAYS out because nothing is usually stark white, even the teeth! Look for the shadows here to make your coloring realistic by knocking back that white.
When I'm done with my markers, I layer in colored pencil to help ease the transitions between shades. Sometimes I like seeing the marker lines, and sometimes I don't. If I don't want that look showing up - I take my colored pencil and shade in the opposite direction to try and wipe out those lines.
So if my marker lines were horizontal, I do vertical lines for my colored pencil.
I know a lot of people get discouraged if they outline a face FIRST, and then shade with copics. It can be easy to run into your outlines and end up having the outline bleed. You'll notice today I outlined LAST with my microliner to prevent the bleed from happening. You might want to try the same if you're working with alcohol markers!
When it was time to add in eyelashes, I used my pentel pocket brush, or my "secret weapon!" If you struggle with drawing eyelashes, make sure to check out the recent video from my Mixed Media channel, I give you ALL my secrets for how to draw eyelashes !!
I added twinkle in the eyes with my white paint pen. I typically do a different look with those, but love how this one turned out and will totally do it again! See what happens when you step outside your comfort zone?!
For the nose ring, I just used my pencil because the reference photo showed it as being shiny metal.
I added white colored pencil on top of the markers wherever I noticed highlights occurring in my reference photo. To punch those highlights up a bit more - I used my white gel pen or bright white posca pen. This adds more drama and dimension for me!
If you're nervous to add in highlights -start with your white colored pencil to make sure you like where the highlight is going. The colored pencil is soft, and creates a gentle first layer.
Remember, acrylic paint pen markers are awesome to add on top of anything. So if you're using watercolor or another medium- feel free to STILL use the posca on top of your work for additional highlights drama!
I was excited to discover the eyelashes in this photo have "undersided" highlights, and they look SO cool!! Those marks aren't me just being "creative," that's me reading the reference and adding the detail I see in the photo to my drawing. If you feel like you want or need the reference photo for this drawing project, or the entire series - just go to AwesomeArtSchool.com. You can get all 12 of the reference photos (+ all my cheatsheets!!!!) in the YouTube Library Collection.
Remember to enter a photo of your beautiful drawing when you're done by clicking on this link to GET PUBLISHED!
Come join me in the studio for the 40 minute tutorial! See ya there!!!
This is part two of my 3/4 face drawing series on my Drawing Channel over on YouTube! If you missed the first episode, go ahead and start here so you can draw this girlie along with me!
Today we're doing some EASY pencil shading techniques to add drama to our three quarter portrait face drawing! I used the same photo reference as I did to sketch my drawing. Even though this is a whimsical face, I feel it makes a HUGE difference in my work if I use a reference photo to tell me where I should add in shadows, and how dark they should be.
One of the fun things about drawing in a whimsical style, is I can mix and match reference photos for my work and use them in different ways. For example, I really LOVE the dramatic shadows and highlights in this image (below). If I'm shading a face in pencil, I feel like it's super helpful to use a black and white shading reference like this one...
In my How to Draw and Find Your Style book, I talk in depth about how to take advantage of the value scale when you are shading. because it adds so much more depth and dimension to your drawings and sketches. The more tones you incorporate into your drawing from the value scale like bright white highlights, and dark black shadows, the more sophisticated your work will be.
In today's shading tutorial I'm using one of my Blackwing pencils (TOTALLY unnecessary, but I SO LOVE THEM!!!). This one is equivalent to about a 4B, but you can absolutely use a simple #2 school pencil, so don't stress about your supplies! I start applying graphite by looking at my reference photo for the darkest areas first. When I'm shading, I often use the side of my pencil to begin. My initial layer of shading is very light and almost scribbly.
After I have a light layer of shading down, I use my blending stump to "moosh" the graphite around. In this particular reference photo, the model is very light skinned, so I actually use the cleaner side of my blending stump to work my shading in and around the face. If I lay down too much, I simply pick a bit of that graphite back up with my eraser and moosh some more! For the darkest areas, I use the super dirty side of my blending stump.
When you're starting out with drawing and shading, I think it's SOOOOO much easier to practice in a whimsical drawing style. It just takes the pressure off and keeps things light and fun! And if you're having fun...you'll practice more, and if you practice... your skills will only grow and improve!!
When my first layer of shading is done, I go back for a second layer of shading to really punch up my details that could have been lost while "mooshing" my graphite around with my blending stump. This is where the drama starts to come in!! Sometimes it can also help you to look at a reference photo with squinted eyes. It may sound funny, but doing this can often help you see darks and lights a bit more.
The objective of shading for me is to use the WHOLE value scale. So you'll see me use a black colored pencil for the darkest darks - found in the crease of her lips and in her pupils. Additionally, for my brightest white highlights, I will typically carve out some of the graphite I already put down with an eraser.
I hope you have fun with this face shading practice!! Please stay tuned for next week's video. I'll be shading another 3/4 portrait using copic markers.
Have a great week!!!!
I used to STRUGGLE with my profile face drawings because they ALL LOOKED LIKE ALIENS ...
OR...had FISH LIPS!!!
If you're ready to toss your sketchbook because you don't know how to draw a face that looks "right" as a side view drawing... You're in the right place!
HELP IS HERE!!!
As you may know, I'm a mixed media artist, but I REALLY value the skill of drawing because it makes my mixed media foregrounds look SO much more interesting and beautiful if they are based on accurate drawing proportions of the face.
It wasn't until I wrote my second book, How to Draw MORE Fun, Fab Faces, that I really held myself accountable to finally figure out how to draw 3/4 portraits and profiles in a CLEAR, step by step way!
In today's drawing tutorial I'm pulling out ALL MY TIPS for face drawing, and I'm gonna walk you through profile drawing STEP BY STEP so it's easy for you to replicate on your own at home!
ALL you need to do this project right along with me is a piece of paper and a pencil - ANY pencil with an eraser will do!
When you're working on a profile sketch, there are little tweaks you can make to help your faces look more realistic. Even if you're doing a a stylized whimsical drawing (like mine!), paying attention to angles of the face and the placement of facial features will give your drawing greater sophistication.
Download a copy of my FREE Profile Face Drawing Guidelines here.
After you grab your guidelines, let's get started. Don't worry- this is an EASY drawing for beginners!!!
The first step is to simply draw a circle. Don't stress over it - just grab something near you that has a circular shape and trace around it. DONE!
Before we sketch in your guidelines, there is something I need to show you.
The angle from nose to chin varies a TON from face to face in real life. The pix below are from my book, How to Draw and Find Your Style. Look at that pink arrow focusing on the angle from nose to chin. See how it differs from the photo on the left? They are COMPLETELY different!
SUPER INTERESTING right?!! This is an example of one of the little nuances that trip us up as artists when we try to draw profiles! The angles are seriously tricky!!!! But we're NOT gonna let them get the better of us.
How do we draw this in an easy way without having issues? CLICK HERE and I'll demonstrate for you step by step.
When you sketch in these simple guidelines, it will help you focus on drawing proportions of the face- which is just a fancy way of saying YOUR girls won't look like aliens the way mine did ;)
One of the biggest rules to remember about profiles is the lips should NEVER stick out beyond the nose. See how that first set of double circles (above) looks just under my rough nose sketch? Those will soon become lips ... see below!
The more you work on your face drawing practice - the more these guidelines will become second nature to you.
You’ll know how to draw facial proportions for your side view face sketches correctly & will have drawings in your sketchbook you can be SUPER PROUD OF!! I PROMISE!!!
EVEN BETTER - it doesn't have to be hard anymore when you're armed with my Profile Face Guidelines Cheatsheet.
I HOPE you have FUN with this video and find the guidelines helpful. Make sure you're drawing right along with me because that is how you will learn best- with practice!!!
STAY TUNED for next week's video, because I'm gonna teach you HOW TO SHADE today's profile (see below!).
And YES, of course I gave her elf ears / fairy ears because I LOVE (and DO BELIEVE in) fairies!!!
See ya over on YouTube!!!
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What Fans Are Saying
Karen, you are absolutely fabulous! You make me feel like I can draw anything. I have recently retired and finally have the time to do some of the art that I have loved since I was in school. I am really at the beginning of my art journey and I hope to learn as much as I can. Thank you for all you do.