Drawing faces begins by understanding basic proportions.
Every artist struggles with certain aspects of anatomical drawing. Heads and faces, with everything from eyelashes to cheekbones, can be particularly intimidating. There’s a lot of crucial detail in every feature. Understanding the most basic proportions of the head is key, and will pay dividends when you get to finer details like the tip of the nose or the top of the ear.
Fortunately, learning these proportions is a very manageable task. Begin by reducing the complexity of the human face to a few essential landmarks. Once you understand those basics, you can apply them to your own drawings to create stunning portraiture or to fill your latest sketchbook.
Establish the landmarks of a human face.
When you observe a human face, you can see that it’s divided roughly into thirds from the hairline to the brow, the brow to the bottom of the nose (where it meets the very top of the philtrum), and the bottom of the nose to the bottom of the jaw. You can measure these distances on your own face and you will find them to be surprisingly similar. Dividing the face into these thirds is a great place to begin portrait drawing.
Remember, the hairline is not the top of the head. The very top of the cranium sits a little higher than the hairline. Also notice that, from the profile or side view, the ear begins at about the halfway point between the front of the forehead and the back of the head. A common mistake is to draw ears too far forward on the head. If you view them looking at the side of the head, you’ll see ears start halfway back and continue moving backward from there.