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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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 & SHADE a WHIMSICAL Middle Eastern Face with Hijab in Copic Markers (Whimsical Women #6)
I love teaching how to draw a whimsical face, and am having an absolute blast with the portrait drawing tutorials in my Whimsical Women of the World series!
Today's art reference photo is of a GORGEOUS Middle Eastern woman wearing a hijab.
My reference photo for this project didn't have any information attached to her, so unfortunately, I don't know the model's actual ethnicity. I'm guessing she is from somewhere in the Middle East, or at least has roots there.
I called a friend of mine who has helped Syrian refugees for years to see if she could provide a little insight.
She thought possibly Syrian or Turkish? At the moment, that is our best guess.
If YOU have any opinions to share here, I need your help on this one! I'm super curious and would love to identify her background.
I'd also love for YOU to draw along with me, so grab a sheet of cardstock or whatever your favorite paper is for doing alcohol marker art / copic marker art, and let's sketch in our face drawing guidelines.
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 this for myself because drawing proportions of the face are so important. They also really are the same no matter what ethnicity you are drawing. 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 ;)
Ok back to our gorgeous girl for THIS week!!
She has stunning cheekbones so I really study my art reference photo to try and capture them!
As I sketch in the placeholders for drawing facial features later - I also rough in the shapes I'm seeing close to her face that are formed by her headscarf.
Slowly, I begin to darken the facial features as I gain a bit more confidence in their placement.
If you're struggling with this - make sure you click over to the video so I can demonstrate for you step by step!!
If the idea of how to draw a hijab, how to draw a headscarf, or how to draw fabric folds stresses you out, I HEAR YOU!!
I was totally intimidated at first, but like anything - you just gotta dive in.
Honestly, it ended up being a LOT like drawing hair! Drawing a hijab may EVEN be easier!!
Now let's get our copic markers out to start shading!!
Remember, if you don't have copics, any alcohol markers will do!
I know copics are super expensive, so I'm constantly looking for alternatives for my students to try. Over the weekend I posted in my Facebook Group about the skin tone pack from Ohuhu. These are actually SUPER juicy and totally worth a try at around $1/marker.
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!
If you're in the market for new skin tone markers, or just love trying new art supplies, click here to grab some on Amazon. I totally think the 24 pack is sufficient for ANY face drawing project you have in mind!!
If you're new to me - you'll soon find out I'm a HUGE FAN of using WHATEVER you have on hand for any and all art projects! For me - art is just about creating and having fun!! You can do both with ANYTHING you already have.
As a teacher, students are always asking me my advice on art supplies, so I'm constantly testing things out. This way you don't have to buy all the things! I'll tell ya what's worth trying whenever I find something good. That way, I can help you save a little of your money so you can spend it on the supplies YOU LOVE!!
There are two ways to shade a face with copic markers. Either start with the lightest shade and work dark, or start dark and work light. I find it's a bit less scary to start light and work dark. It feels WAY less intimidating!
I do my best to "map out" the shadows on her face as we go. As you can see- I'm incorporating gray and even using some purple grays to get my shadows in. This helps to tone down all the peach and pinky "heat" from the warmer skin tones. It evens it all out and makes her look a little more neutral.
Right now you're probably thinking EWWW!!! LOL.
We've just entered what I lovingly refer to as "The Ugly Phase."
Unfortunately, we're stuck in the "ugly phase" for quite a long time when we're working with alcohol markers because we do a lot of layering! When you hit this phase, you've just gotta embrace it! Acknowledge it and KEEP GOING!
Every time I introduce a new color in my shading, I try to pop a little of that color throughout the entire piece. I've found this helps me to unify each piece of art and really stick to a color scheme.
This week I tried a new technique for shading eyebrows. First I used a skin tone color, then I drew individual hairs in a darker brown. I like the way it turned out! This might be a fun technique for you to try, too.
She's starting to look a little more human, isn't she? LOL.
We're slowly working our way out of the ugly phase!
After I've got some good layering going on with my alcohol markers, it's time to pull the transitions together with my colored pencils. I find this helps A TON with copic marker blending and really minimizes the streaks that are bound to happen. There's a lot of magic that happens when the colored pencils come out!!
As you'll see in today's whimsical portrait drawing tutorial, I alternate quite a bit between my copics and my colored pencils. Go ahead and keep doing this until you get what you're looking for in terms of skin tones and blending.
Next, I pull out my "secret weapon" for drawing eyelashes! I am obsessed with my pentel pocket brush and use it for drawing eyelashes on all of my girls- no matter what medium I'm doing. If you struggle with how to draw eyelashes, you have to check out this video, because I did a whole tutorial on it.
I've also got a cheatsheet for that!! This is another awesome reference to keep on your art table. As you'll see - directionality of your lines are SUPER important when it comes to eyelash drawing.
Now she's coming alive, right?! As soon as those pupils get popped in, and the eyelashes are added - she really starts looking human AND beautiful, doesn't she?!
It's only gonna get better from here! Now it's time for the eyeshine...one of my favorite parts!!
I add the eyeshine wherever I see it in my reference photo. I either use a white sharpie or my white posca pen for this. Wherever you add the eyeshine to the first eye, add the same style mark to the second eye, so both eyes match.
Then I continue with my white paint pen highlights -adding a little to her nose and to her lips.
My reference photo for today has a TON of gorgeous shine on her lower lip. Excited to get that in!
Always take a step back and look at your work from a distance.
What do you see? What can be improved?
I decide to add a few more shadows to the outer corners of her forehead - right near where the edges of her hijab are resting. Remember, when you want to add more drama to your shading, always darken a small subsection of an area you've already shaded. Watch the video to see exactly what I mean!
I could seriously keep layering over her gorgeous face ALL DAY!! But I'm sure you're ready to move on...
Just a quick reminder - there is a WHOLE BOOK coming out of this fun Whimsical Women of the World portrait drawing series!! I'd love to feature YOUR interpretation of these drawing projects in my book!
Simply hop over to GET PUBLISHED, read through the submission requirements, and send in a photo of your work. I can't wait to see!!
Now, onto shading her headscarf...
I started out by coloring the entire hijab in one shade of green. I'm using copics here, and my shade is called Acid Green. GORGEOUS!!! If you move quickly with your alcohol marker shading, it helps to reduce the streaking.
Next, I begin layering some shadows with a darker shade called Moss. I simply study my art reference photo and try to replicate exactly what I see.
My second shadow layer is in a dark gray, Copic N7. This is to hit the darkest areas of depth, and the underside areas of her scarf. As you'll notice, these darkest shadows all occur along the edges of the face.
Hijab drawing is really similar to drawing hair, and could even be a little easier! With hair, the strands closest to the face are darkest. I'm seeing the same pattern happening in the folds of fabric closest to her face. These are the darkest darks. Once they are shaded, they REALLY make her face pop forward.
I finished up my hijab girl drawing by adding a few more details with my pentel pocket brush (what I used for drawing her eyelashes!), and she's done!
I hope you enjoy today's FREE 30 minute portrait drawing tutorial, Whimsical Women of the World #6.
Thanks for watching!! See ya Friday.
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!!!
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.