Let's Get Your Creative Juices Flowing!!!
Using photos of faces for drawing reference WILL make you a better artist. There's no question in my mind! Recently an awesome reference photo was shared in my Facebook group. Seeing this post got me thinking about how GORGEOUS the reference image was, for so many different reasons.
My teacher brain spiraled about all the things I needed to tell you! Hence... the LIVE.
This video is a MUST SEE for you if ...
Here's the post that inspired today's LIVE...
I know, right?!
I'm not watching Yellowstone right now, but clearly I should be ;)
Before we get into how amazing this image is and WHY, you need to download my FREE 4-page cheatsheet packet called the Face Drawing Cheatsheet Bundle. This will help you SO much if you're just learning how to draw a face, or if you want to improve your face drawing skills. The info inside works beautifully whether your'e drawing a man or a woman.
The bundle includes my Face Drawing Guidelines, Shading Guide, my How to Draw Eyelashes Guide, and a Face Base / Face Drawing Template if you feel like you don't want to fuss with drawing proportions and would rather cut something out that can be traced directly into your art journal or sketchbook.
Simply click on the button below and I'll send the packet right over.
After you get your packet downloaded and are ready to practice, you can join me in this live stream video, or feel free to check out this playlist of How to Draw & Shade a Face in 5 Minutes if you feel like this LIVE is a little too advanced for you.
When you're ready, join me back on the live stream because I have some really cool face shading tips to share with you - whether you're drawing faces for beginners, or a more advanced artist!!
Reference photo drawing is super helpful for both whimsical drawing (semi-realistic drawing) and realistic drawing. References make a HUGE impact on your work.
They actually make your job as an artist EASIER because they give your brain a little break (you don't have to think up a zillion details to include in your drawing), and they give you ALL the "answers" your brain needs to observe in order to create something amazing.
To get you started on finding faces for drawing reference, you need to find an image you love! Here is a page right out of my How to Draw & Find Your Style book that talks ALL about reference photo drawing.
While this model is gorgeous, and I totally want to draw her too - if you look closely at all the gray tones in this photo- you'll see they're all basically THE SAME! That means this image really isn't the best choice to use as a face drawing reference.
It's better to choose an image that has ALL the values in the value scale represented from the lightest light, to the darkest dark. Why?
It will make the drawing easier for you to draw, and your drawing will look fantastic because you're using every shade of gray in the value scale.
If you're new to value scale drawing, today's video will help you out. You can also check out this one to learn how to create your own value scale using pencils. This is also an exercise members of the Fun Fab Drawing Club and Mixed Media Society do right from the beginning.
I highly encourage you to create one for yourself!
If you're not sure if a face drawing reference image you've selected will be great for drawing, just print it in black and white with your printer. This is a super easy way to convert a color image to black and white, and it's actually better to draw with anyway! This is especially helpful if you're drawing in graphite, because it's tough to replicate what you see in color using grayscale pencils.
Sometimes, I use reference photos PURELY for the shading information. Today, I'm going to show you how you can even use the face shading information from one photo to create a totally different drawing! It's really kinda magical, and why my face shading guide in this cheatsheet packet is SO VALUABLE! Make sure you grab that download if you haven't yet :)
Then click over to the video to watch how I "steal" the face shading inspiration from Yellowstone dude's photo to guide how I shade the face of a completely different drawing of a woman.
Pretty Cool, right?!!
Thanks for hanging out with me today!!
And in case you're wondering if I did actually draw Jamie from Yellowstone- I totally did, and shared him in our Facebook Group for Awesome Art School ;)
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!
❤️ Did you miss my Gnome Workshop with guest artist Sarah Turner of Tenderfoot Village? CLICK HERE to enroll for $27 at Awesome Art School (if you're in the Mixed Media Society - you got free access to this but NEED a coupon - if you don't see it in your email, please email me!)
❤️Did you miss my Fun Fab Fairies Workshop? NO worries!! You can STILL sign up and enjoy each of these lessons on your own time at your own pace in this stand alone classroom at Awesome Art School! CLICK HERE to REGISTER.
❤️Did you know I've started a FUN new podcast with my Scottish, artsy bestie, Lucy, ALL ABOUT SCOTLAND & the mythical goodness I can't get enough of about this magical place?! YES - we talk about everything including ARE Fairies Real?! (You know I think they are!!)
The podcast is called 1 Scot, 1 Not! Check us out on YouTube and here's our podcast website!
❤️EVEN BETTER - LUCY & I are creating a NEW ART MEMBERSHIP together called The Celtic Collective!! Learn More & add your name to the waitlist here.
❤️Want FREE, immediate access to my Fun Fab Drawing Club and/or Mixed Media Society plus discounts on all my art books, sneak peek at YouTube videos and new book content, behind-the-scenes fun and MORE? Join me over on Patreon today and get HUGE PERKS in return for a small monthly donation.
❤️ CHECK OUT ALL my art books on AMAZON (available in both Kindle and Paperback)
❤️ SIGNED COPIES of my art books on ETSY
❤️ MY FAVORITE ART SUPPLIES on AMAZON
❤️ MY BELOVED FACEBOOK GROUP
❤️ FOLLOW ME ON INSTAGRAM
I LOVE teaching how to draw a whimsical face, and have been enjoying creating the whimsical face drawing tutorials in this series! Today's art reference photo features a three quarter view face AND a tricky new head tilt to give us some practice drawing faces at different angles!
Because her head tilt is so unique- none of my cheatsheets will work to help you draw her from scratch...SO I'm teaching you how to create YOUR OWN FACE DRAWING GUIDELINES!!!
I honestly don't know WHERE this gorgeous model is from, but for the sake of our Whimsical Women of the World portrait drawing series, I'm going to pretend she is from the Ukranie!
We've done two, three quarter portraits already in the Whimsical Women of the World series, and I've shown you two different ways to approach drawing faces from this angle here with an Asian model, and here with a Latina model.
Because today's model has her head tilted, we can't use the face drawing guidelines from either of our previous lessons. That's actually one of the reasons I selected this photo- because it presents us with a new challenge to learn from!
Most artists come up with ways to help themselves accurately replicate what they see in a reference on their own paper. Many will use a light table or some form of grid to at least get them started. If you've seen any of my videos before, you know I really like to draw from scratch as much as I can, because I want to continue developing my drawing skills, building muscle memory, etc.
Today I want to teach you how to come up with YOUR OWN guidelines, so you can truly draw faces at any angle!
When I have to create my own guidelines from scratch - my trick is to lay a sheet of trace paper on top of my reference image to sketch in key angles and note specifically where the facial features features should be located in relation to one another.
As you'll see in the video, I traced the outline of the model's face shape and laid my pencil across her face to help me determine the correct angle of her eyes, nose and mouth. This nose is especially tricky because it's upturned. I found the shape to be very much like a triangle, so sketched that in. Additionally I noted approximately how wide the eyes and lips were, as well as the basic hair shape.
When I finished tracing, I laid a sheet of drawing paper to the side of my trace paper and tried to replicate the guidelines I had created for myself on the trace paper.
If at any point, this one feels too hard- try something simpler! I've got two playlists on my YouTube drawing channel for beginners: how to sketch and shade a simple face, and how to draw profiles - all in graphite! If that feels more like your pace- start there and pop back here when you're ready! We're not going anywhere :)
If you want to do this lesson or ANY of the drawing projects from my Whimsical Women of the World series in REAL TIME - with NO timelapses, you can find these projects in the Whimsical Women of the World Classroom over at AwesomeArtSchool.com. If you're already in my Fun Fab Drawing Club- you'll see the Whimsical Women classroom in your library of club courses!
If you haven't been to AwesomeArtSchool.com before, I highly suggest you check it out!!!
I've got so much FUN stuff for you to explore whether you like to draw, paint, do mixed media art - it's all there, and there really is something for everyone!
Back to today's project! When you feel like your drawing is in good shape and you'd like to start shading, go ahead and erase all of your guidelines.
If you are shading in copic markers (or ANY brand of alcohol markers!), be sure you've removed as much as you can of the graphite from your guidelines because the graphite really has a tendancy to smear and get carried away by these juicy markers.
One of my little workarounds to make sure this doesn't happen when I'm using my light skin tone markers, is to use kind of a pouncing motion to lift some of the graphite from the facial features I've drawn, so there is less of a chance I'll drag it across my page with my marker.
If you're new to shading with alcohol markers, I know there are SO many skin tones and SO many brands out there, it can really be overwhelming when you're first getting started, and/or have a limited budget to spend on art supplies.
If you'd like some tips about what skin tone markers go well together, I've recently created a HUGE cheatsheet to help you out!! I say "cheatsheet," but it's really a little book, because this PDF is 12 pages of detailed color swatching!!!
Click the button below and I'll sent that straight to your inbox! You'll find recommendations as to which skin tone markers work well for light, medium, and dark complexions across three different alcohol marker brands (Copic, Ohuhu, and Arteza). It's really quite comprehensive, so even if you're not a total newbie to working with alcohol markers - there are still some gems in here for you that you may not have thought of before!
When I'm coloring with copic markers, I typically shade light to dark, laying down a foundational shade of the lightest skin tone I'll be using to shade the face. Then I slowly work in an additional 2-4 more skin tone markers to help me indicate the range of shadows I see in my reference photo.
Every time I add in another layer of shading in a slightly darker shade, I ONLY shade in the areas where I see shadows on my reference model's face and simply keep darkening smaller sections of the areas I've already shaded. When I have a good four layers of shading down, I will take the lighter skin tones and color the entire face with it - shading in a DIFFERENT direction from my original strokes to try and blend any streaks, color transitions or mistakes.
I feel like this particular step is TRULY MAGICAL!! It takes all my previous layers, re-wets them, and BLENDS them together.
As you'll see in the video, I also use a combination of skin tone famlies. I started out in yellows and beiges, and eventually worked in some pale pink, which adds a layer of sophistication in the complexity of my shading. Don't be afraid to reach for a wide variety of colors, because it's the BLEND of all these tones that really takes your work to the next level!!
When you hit this point of your project, you're about half-way done. Her eyes aren't finished, she hasn't "come alive" yet, and you're in what I lovingly like to call "the ugly phase." Try to be patient and keep working your layers. I promise she WILL come out of it. My biggest advice is DON'T GIVE UP. If you do- the "ugly phase" wins - and you'll never know what your girl could've turned into, SO just KEEP GOING.
Hair can be daunting for a lot of us, but the COOL THING about alcohol markers, is you can really sweep your marker from root to tip fairly quickly to fill the space and create the illusion of volume in no time. I like to use three shades of color in the hair of my girls to break up the space and add depth.
I LOVE outlining my girls, but if you don't - do whatever works for you! This is just an artistic preference for me, and part of my whimsical /illustrative style. I use my fineliner for this job, and look at THAT... she's coming alive, and busting OUT of her ugly phase. LOVE IT!! I told you it would happen!!
Once you're happy with the shading you've done in marker (or whatever art supplies you're using!), it's time to add some colored pencil.
If you need help with this part of the project, you can find it in real time over at AwesomeArtSchool.com in the Whimsical Women of the World classroom. I share tips and techniques like how I hold my pencil, and why, so I get the effects I'm after.
I suggest you don't add MORE alcohol marker layering on top of your colored pencil, because the colored pencil can really have a waxy finish to it, and can fight with your markers.
If you haven't heard, I am writing a book about this series and would love to feature YOUR ARTWORK! Please read the submission requirements and upload your interpretation of this or ANY project from the Whimsical Women series, right here on my website.
I hope you learn as much from this drawing project as I did! Please scroll down for supplies used to create this project, and leave a comment if you have any questions!!
See ya back here next week!!
If you need any new drawing supplies, here are links to all of my favorite supplies that were used in this project! 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!
👉Hammermill Cover Cardstock 100lb 8.5" x 11" (fave to use with markers and best value at 4-8 cents per sheet and 250 sheets!!)
👉This Arteza pencil set is a new find and a GOOD one!!
👉Pentel GraphGear Mechanical Pencil Set (only ones I use)
👉Ohuhu Markers 24 piece skin tone set (Around $1/marker and with the brush nib, the best alternative to Copics in my opinion!)
👉Copic Skin Tone Pack of 6 ($33)
👉Copic B Set (my fave which has the most skin tones) (72 Set for $330)
👉Arteza Everblend Skin Pack of 36 ($36 - insane value!!!)
👉Arteza EverBlend Alcohol Markers (60 Set for $112 - also insane value!!)
❤️ Want FREE, immediate access to my Fun Fab Drawing Club and/or Mixed Media Society plus discounts on all my art books, sneak peek at YouTube videos and new book content, behind-the-scenes fun and MORE? Join me over on Patreon today and get HUGE PERKS in return for a small monthly donation.
❤️ CHECK OUT ALL my art books on AMAZON (available in both Kindle and Paperback)
❤️ SIGNED COPIES of my art books on ETSY
❤️ MY FAVORITE ART SUPPLIES on AMAZON
❤️ MY BELOVED FACEBOOK GROUP
❤️ FOLLOW ME ON INSTAGRAM
❤️ FOLLOW ME ON FACEBOOK
Today I want to show you how to draw a whimsical MALE face just to mix things up a bit with the whimsical face drawing tutorials in this series- especially because I often get requests to draw guys, and I'm a boy mom of 3- so here ya go!!
In today's face drawing lesson, I'll also cover how to draw Asian eyes (forward facing), and have an awesome new Skin Tone Marker cheatsheet just waiting FOR YOU if you didn't grab that last week!
To draw this cutie, we start with an oval like always, then we're gonna MAN-ify the facial features!
In general, keep in mind that men have more STRAIGHT lines when it comes to drawing.
When you're ready to darken the face shape for this dude, start by straightening the lines on the sides of his face (like shown above).
Then, as you work your way down toward a chin area, you can imagine we're attaching a triangle to the bottom of his face - just cutting off the pointy part and leaving a straight line. It's probably easier to see this in action, so check out the tutorial over on my YouTube drawing channel.
The next main difference when drawing male faces (even whimsically), is to change the width of the neck. The male neck is MUCH wider than a female's.
Now it's time to sketch in our face drawing guidelines!
I find this fact kind of amazing ... the face drawing guidelines for drawing men and women are identical! Crazy, right? No matter WHAT our ethnicity or gender are - we all start out with the same basical human face shape, and our faces naturally follow the same basic face drawing guidelines to make us look proportionally correct!
If you're not sure what I'm talking about, you HAVE to download my FREE Face Drawing Guidelines Cheatsheet to help you out! I printed and laminated mine because drawing proportions of the face are SO important. It's a reference I've ALWAYS got on my art table. Click the button below and I'll send it straight to your email ;)
Back to our drawing!!
The biggest difference when you're drawing asian eyes vs. any other ethnicity, is often the absense of a dramatic upper eyelid. That's it! Pretty simple adjustment, right? Watch the video to see how this looks in real time, step by step.
Male hair, like hair for women -also has volume that extends above and outside the face shape oval we've drawn in, so make sure you block in the general shape you see for hair. This will make it much easier later when it's time to shade.
If you're drawing along with me (and I HOPE you are, because you'll learn SO much MORE by doing this than just watching me!!), I think you'll find that drawing eyes on a male face is actually QUITE easier, because there is no makeup to worry about!
If you'd like a copy of this reference, or any reference from this series, I've popped them into TWO convenient locations for you over at Awesome Art School! The stand alone, Whimsical Women of the World classroom - where everything (even the color shading part of each lesson) is in real time, step by step has references, as well as my YouTube Cheatsheet & Video Library.
If you're a member of the Fun Fab Drawing Club or Mixed Media Society- you've already been given free access to the Whimsical Women of the World classroom.
As you'll see in today's whimsical portrait drawing tutorial, when you get to the lips, you have to be careful about not letting them get girly. Watch the shapes carefully here. Even if your model has very full lips, you don't want to draw the lines in super dark, because the more you define them and darken these lines, the girlier your dude will start to look!
If you get to a point in this drawing (or ANY drawing!), and you feel like something looks a little off and needs to move - don't be too precious about what you've already drawn in. Go ahead and erase whatever is bugging you and draw it again!
You drew it once, you can TOTALLY draw it again. And that adjustement might make your drawing look SO much better! I drew this guy's left eye THREE times before I was happy. Then when I pulled my markers out, I drew BOTH of them over again - I think TWICE!! Don't worry about it. Just do what feels right to YOU.
The lighting effect is the main reason I selected this particular image for today's free drawing lesson. I think you're gonna enjoy it when you're ready to shade because it's unique.
You'll see the nose bridge is actually in SHADOW today (instead of highlighted as it typically is), because there are TWO light sources for this particular photo. One on either side of his face!
Check out the video to see how I show this to you in action. It's super interesting, and if you've been drawing any of the projects from my Whimsical Women series, it's honestly the opposite from what we normally see in terms of light source.
I've been using alcohol markers to do all the shading for my Whimsical Women of the World face drawing projects, but PLEASE use whatever art supply YOU LOVE best!!
If you are using alcohol markers too - please don't worry if you don't have copic markers. I know they are SO expensive, and I've been collecting them over a long period of time. I totally love the Ohuhu brand as well and they are way cheaper. Arteza also has some good markers for even less. If you're new to shading with alcohol markers, or need some tips on which skin tone markers go nicely together for a variety of ethnicities, I recently created a FREE 12-Page cheatsheet ALL about this to help ya out!!
I organized it by color family for skin tones that are light, medium, or dark, and have marker swatches from each brand (Copic, Ohuhu, Arteza) that will work well. This should REALLY save you some swatching and trial/error time!
Click the button below and I'll send it straight to your inbox.
This was actually the first time I used my Skin Tone Marker Guide to help me shade a face in this series and I was thrilled with how easy it made things go! Usually I am swatching like a mad woman off to the side and fly by the seat of my pants, but this really organized my thoughts and totally saved me some time. I really hope it does the same for YOU!
Before we continue, super quick announcement: All prouct 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!
If you're interested in how to draw a male face, and are new to me and my channel, you'll find a few here and there, but I know my audience is most interested in drawing female faces, so that is primarily what you'll see.
I do, however, have a book dedicated to drawing guys in a whimsical style called How to Draw Fun Fab Fellas that I created for my own boys when they were younger. It's available on Amazon if you're interested! It covers how to draw a male face from all the main angles- forward facing, profile and 3/4 view.
Full transparency here - I'm not in love with the way this project turned out - just being totally honest.
I think the model is SUPER CUTE, but sometimes this just happens, and you've got to be honest with yourself.
I want to make sure you know how I feel about my own work, so you can own your feelings, and not obsess over them for too long if something you were excited to do, didn't turn out how you'd envisioned.
It's ok, and happens to ALL of us! Art is supposed to be FUN. If something doesn't go as planned, change what you can. If the project is done- move on and do something else! It's as SIMPLE as that.
I've got 3 more whimsical face drawing projects coming up for you in this series, including a more mature woman with wrinkles and an up-turned face, so keep your eyes peeled for those!!
I hope you have fun with this project if you choose to draw along with me!!
See ya back here next Monday for more!!
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!!!
Students often ask me how to draw a smile with teeth on a whimsical face!
This totally cracks me up because drawing and shading teeth is actually super detailed! BUT, I aim to please, and love breaking things down so drawing feels EASY, so let's do this!
Grab a sheet of card stock or a paper you love using for copic marker drawings, a pencil, and let's get ready for another Whimsical Women of the World drawing project!!
As you can see in the art reference photo for today's portrait drawing tutorial, the model also has her head tilted at an angle, creating some interesting smile lines and skin folds in her face and neck.
I did that on purpose! These are two other things people have been requesting in my Facebook group quite a bit - if we could work on drawing faces at different angles and how to draw wrinkles.
Needless to say... week 8 of my Whimsical Women of the World series is JAM PACKED with learning opportunities!!
It's not for the faint of heart though... and really not for beginners, so if you've landed here and want something easier- I've got you!!
To start at the beginning of the series, CLICK HERE.
If you're a total beginner and want to learn how to draw a whimsical face that's SUPER EASY, click here.
Everybody else - especially if you are one of the lovely FB peeps who requested all these crazy things....
I love you, but YOU better be drawing WITH ME! You're not gonna learn a thing just by watching 😘
Go get your pencil and let's draw. CLICK HERE to start today's drawing tutorial!
We are beginning this lesson just like we have for ALL of the Whimsical Women of the World drawing projects in my series! Sketch your face shape in, followed by your whimsical face drawing guidelines.
Not sure what I'm talking about? It sounds like you need to download my FREE Face Drawing Guidelines 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. I've always got this drawing reference on my art table.
Click the button below, and I'll send a copy straight to your email!
If this angle of the model's head is driving you nuts, one of the easiest ways to get started with how to draw a face at an angle, like this one, is to actually tilt your paper sideways so it's sitting at the same angle as your art reference photo - just like if you were reading a map! Easy fix, right?!
After your paper is tilted, go ahead and sketch in your face drawing guidelines.
While I sketch in my main guidelines, I also rough in what I'm seeing in my art reference photo for the shape of the model's hair, and how it extends up and OVER the head, and does or doesn't touch the sides of the face and ears.
If you've been drawing with me lately, you know we are definitely straying from my whimsical face drawing guidelines today with the huge smile on this model! Be sure to draw along with me so I can walk you through drawing facial features for this girl. I'm not gonna lie - she's a little tricky!
If you feel like you want a copy of my art reference photo for this drawing project, or any of the whimsical women in this series, head on over to Awesome Art School and join my YouTube Collection and Cheatsheet Library.
When you're ready to move on to sketching in her nose and eyes - these facial features are also quite different as a result of the model's smile. There are a lot of laugh lines around both her mouth and her eyes, so watch carefully as you're getting those roughed in.
When you're drawing expressions like the one in today's art reference photo, you really have to pay attention to all the extra wrinkles, skin folds, and angles because these are what create the expression you're trying to replicate, so all these lines have to be in your drawing.
Things get especially busy on the right hand side of her face with the folds in her neck - so this is another area to really watch me carefully on. Again, the entire drawing portion of this video is in real time so you can draw along with me, just like all of the videos in this series.
I don't time lapse the project until it's time to shade because I know a lot of us are shading with a wide variety of art supplies.
Before we continue, 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!
When you are ready to start drawing the teeth in for this lovely model's smile, make sure you have a really great eraser by your side.
If you need a new drawing eraser, I LOVE mine. It's called the Vanish Eraser. It, ever so lightly, removes my graphite from the page without ripping it. I also love it because sometimes I don't want to erase an entire line of graphite- I just want to pick up some of the graphite because of how I'm shading. This eraser is A-MAZ-ING at that! You can get one for about $2 in person at Jerry's Artarama.
When you're drawing teeth, or anything detailed and small, it can also be helpful to also have a teeny eraser. I often use the eraser on the end of my blackwing pencils if I'm drawing with those (they have a refillable erasers!). I also love the tombow mono eraser. It's the bomb at getting into teeny corners, or removing bits of shading to create highlights in pencil drawings.
It's also helpful to use a pencil with a very thin lead if you want to draw a smiling mouth with teeth. I love using mechanical pencils for stuff like this. My favorite is the Pentel Graph Gear Mechanical Pencil Set. For this project I'm using a 0.3 lead because these teeth lines need to be really light.
Before we start drawing teeth in on this girl's smile, it's important to sketch in her gum line so we get the proportions correct, and know exactly where her teeth need to go. When you're ready, just go one by one, tooth by tooth- drawing what ya see until you're done. This part of today's tutorial takes about twenty minutes.
When everything's penciled in, and your drawing guidelines are erased, it's time for the FUN PART!! Coloring!!
I've been doing all of the #WhimsicalWomen in this series in my alcohol markers, but please feel free to use whatever art supply YOU love best! I've seen a ton of gorgeous girls flying around in my Facebook group in watercolor, colored pencil, straight up grayscale pencil - so use whatever supplies you have and love best!
Regardless of what art supply you are using, be sure you swatch your colors so you have a game plan before diving in. I don't know how many times I have reached for a marker based on the cap, only to find it was totally NOT what I expected when I started to shade.
Like I typically do with a lighter skinned art reference photo, I shaded from light to dark with my alcohol markers. As you can see in the above photo, I began by covering the entire face in my lightest skin tone marker. Little by little I took the shading one step darker wherever I saw shadows in my reference.
As you can see in the photo below, the teeth are the white of my paper. In reality, that's not how we look - even if we have SUPER white teeth! Some of our teeth are behind others, or positioned further back in the mouth, so there are shadows all over the place. Before I begin shading her teeth, I work on the gums with some very light pinky/peach tones.
Little by little, I added very pale shades of ivory, and even gray to replicate the shadows I am seeing in my art reference photo. I used a teeny, black copic multiliner to indicate the darkest areas of her smile, behind the teeth.
To shade her hair, I used the same hair drawing technique from last week's episode for my Sweet Scandinavian. Simply drag your marker from root to tip for some of the strands. Wherever you'd like to indicate highlights, drag your marker from the root to a half-way point. Taper your pressure here, and leave some white space. Then pick your marker up and drag your marker up from the tip of that imaginary hair strand to the half-way point. Taper your pressure again, and deliberately leave some white space. This looks SO cool when you get additional layers of color added!!
Definitely check out the video to see how this technique is done!
As with the other lovely ladies in this copic marker drawings series, I added a layer of colored pencil on top to indicate texture, and to help soften the transition lines between marker shades as needed.
I used my favorite pentel pocket brush for the eyelashes, and to do a little doodling throughout. I grabbed my white sharpie (a white posca pen works beautifully too here) to add in some highlights wherever I see them in my art reference photo. There's always some gorgeous eyeshine, a little sparkle on the lips, and I totally added some highlights to the teeth in the middle, front - where they were gleaming most in the model's smile!
I hope you enjoyed today's tutorial and learned a TON!!! I know I sure did (even though I whined!! LOL!!)
NOW YOU KNOW why I tend to always draw my whimsical faces with a closed lip smile!! Haha!! Because I just wanna have fun... and I actually also really love doing drawing projects and mixed media projects that don't take a long time to complete ;)
Stay with me till the end of the video because I give you a sneak peek at my baby girl, Maggie dog!!
Thanks for watching!!
Have so much fun with this lesson! I can't wait to see your work!!
How to Draw and Shade a Whimsical African American Face with Dreadlocks in Copics (#WhimsicalWomen 5)
Let's kick this week off with another fun FREE art lesson!!
In today's video, I'm going to teach you how to draw dreadlocks on a whimsical African American face, using copic markers and colored pencil. If drawing dreads or copic marker blending have been tricky for you in the past, today's face drawing tutorial is for YOU!
As you can see, today's beauty has lots of exciting challenges in store for our face drawing practice from how to draw dreads to shading with a variety of skin tone markers. If you're not sure how to blend copic markers - you're in luck, because I demo 3 different ideas to help you conquer the streaks that are SUPER common with copics / alcohol markers!
If you've struggled with how to draw curly hair, or if you're feeling intimidated by drawing dreads, don't worry- I was too at first, but it didn't take me long to come up with an EASY drawing / shading technique I liked.
I can't wait to show it to you!!
Ok!! Go grab some art supplies and meet me back here for the tutorial.
Before we continue, 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!
I'm working on hammermill cover cardstock because I've found it to be the best value at 4-8 cents per sheet when I get a box of 250 sheets on Amazon. The paper is perfect for working with alcohol markers!
To get this project going, I'm sketching in my whimsical face drawing guidelines, just like I always do. Remember to NEVER skip this part because it makes such a difference when you're trying to get drawing proportions of the face right!
While I sketch in some placeholders for the facial features, I also block in the main shapes I'm seeing in my art reference photo for this model's hair. Hair is a HUGE part of our lesson today ;)
The model in our reference photo today has gorgeous, HUGE eyes. If you're just learning how to draw faces, and struggle with getting your eyes to match - especially after you've got one you like and then don't know how to draw the other eye... I've got you!!
Here's my trick: If you "build" your eyes up at the same time while you're drawing, this can really help to make them even. I start with the tear duct lines and for whatever reason pencil that in on the right side, then do the same on the left. Then I go back to the right to draw in another line and do the same to the left side, until I've got two eyes staring back at me ready for more detail!
Not bad right? They're not a perfect match, but they're close enough for me because I'm just having fun, keeping things light and into teaching you how to draw and shade a WHIMSICAL face!
Once you've got your features all sketched in, go ahead and start erasing all of the guidelines. If you need a new eraser, or have been looking for one that does a super job but doesn't kill your paper, I LOVE my vanish eraser.
I have NO SHAME in using a circle template to draw in the irises and pupils, and neither should you!! Make something a little easier on yourself. We're just having fun :)
Isn't she looking pretty already?!
I LOVE her cat eye makeup and feel like it just needs to be penciled in asap!
I usually do this near the end, but I just can't wait :)
Once all your guidelines are erased, it's time to swatch your skin tone colors and start shading.
I know you may feel tempted to skip this step, but don't! It's super important and will save you! I don't know how many times I've reached for a marker or paint tube based on the cap / packaging - only to find out it looks COMPLETELY different on paper! So do yourself a favor and take the time to make yourself a little cheatsheet of the colors you have on hand for whatever supply you're using! Mine totally isn't fancy and was super quick to do, as you can see in the bottom left.
I'm purposefully NOT calling out the exact names for the marker shades I'm using because I have a MILLION alcohol markers and I don't expect you to and want you to just create with what you have. Don't get caught up in matching your colors to mine. Just work on the PROCESS I'm teaching you ;)
Today we're really focusing on the LAYERING PROCESS with our alcohol markers. More layers help to blend your streaks. I know it can feel like this takes quite a while, but just be patient and your shading will totally come together!
I started with my lightest skin tone today and used that almost everywhere, then slowly started building up my layers going through a variety of colors to catch the medium and eventually darkest of darks that I was seeing in my art reference photo.
Now!! If you have been following this series at all- you know I've been specifically calling out "the ugly phase" every single time it kicks in for me because you HAVE to know how common this is!!
If you look at the pic above- my girl IS IN IT big time!!
The ugly phase starts to kick in when you are about HALF way done. And while it can feel frustrating because she looks SO unfinished and it may feel like you're never gonna pull it all together, you have to be patient. KEEP GOING.
If you give up on your art when you hit this phase, the ugly phase will "win." Just IGNORE it and keep chuggin' full steam ahead!!
If blending your marker streaks is bugging you at this point in your project - remember you can totally use colored pencils on top at the end to help you out. This is going to get better as well - just keep layering. Watch the video and do what I do. Pause as much as you like!
Not sure how to blend copic markers?
When it's time to blend, I choose to work with one shade lighter than the lightest color I've used. Using this lighter marker, I'll lay down both a horizontal and vertical layer to "erase" the streaky marks in the transitional areas. If it's still not blending the way I want it to, I'll take the lightest shade marker I used, or go a shade up to a medium color to cover the entire face, both horizontally and vertically.
For this particular project, I decided to try something new and incorporated one of my favorite products I love for my mixed media portraits when I'm blending the shading and skin tones- my faber castell gelatos!
Even thought these are considered a "craft" product, I LOVE what they do in terms of blending. They're SUPER buttery and honestly did the job quicker and better than my colored pencils for larger face areas. They're super simple to blend with your finger and leave a smooth effect. Check out the upper right corner of the pic below...
You'll notice I also worked some light gray (alcohol marker) into the whites of my girl's eyes, and used a pale peach colored pencil on top of her eyelids to drop in some highlights.
Looking good!!! Remember to always take a step back to hold your drawing from a distance. Your eye will typically see something you want to adjust, and you'll probably also be more than a little amazed at what YOU have just accomplished!!
I feel like my girl's left eyebrow needs a little love, so I quick take care of that, then move on to some white highlights - like the eyeshine (which I think TOTALLY makes my girls "come alive!"). I also add a few taps to her lips and the white highlight down the center of her nose.
Now it's time for HAIR, but I have no idea how to draw dreadlocks!! LOL.
Not a problem! We've got this!!
I decided to get my pencil back out to sketch in the shapes I'm seeing in my reference photo. While I was sketching, I decided to try diving in with my marker using a circular movement, and I ended up LOVING the effect!
It gave me just what I was hoping for. Be sure you watch the video to see how this goes!
To give the appearance of texture, I experimenting with using a lighter colored pencil and did squiggly circles on top.
This is what it looks like up close...
When I pull the camera back, I kinda love the effect and feel like this technique for drawing dreads really helps to indicate the texture I see in the model's hair from my reference photo. Not bad, right?!
If you're not sure how to draw dreads, be sure to watch the video because I'm really happy with the simple technique I made up. I switched up my markers a bit as well and incorporated some black to indicate depth, as you can see below...
I can't wait to see how you do with this week's project!!
Please share your work with us in the Facebook Group or over on Instagram and use the tag #whimsicalwomen!
Remember I'd LOVE to include your interpretation of this project, or any of girls from my Whimsical Women of the World portraits in my upcoming book! Simply head over to GET PUBLISHED, read the submission requirements (they're easy, promise!!), and submit your artwork.
Thanks for hanging out with me! I hope you enjoyed this project as much as I did!!
"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.
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.