As part of my Greek Mythology project, I drew 9 of the 13 Olympian gods and goddesses. My family dressed up as the remaining four. We set up the display at our church’s Trunk or Treat for Halloween. For the drawings, we used butcher paper and traced me with my arms and legs in various positions to indicate different movements and to give personality to each mythological character. Drawing the full body figures was easy because we traced outlines. However, drawing the faces and hands and feet were the toughest. My grandfather, who is a professional artist and graphic designer, gave me tips about drawing faces. Here is what I learned.

How to Draw a Realistic Human Face

  1. For the face, draw a circle, but not a perfect circle; make the bottom slightly elongated to allow for the chin.
  2. Find the center line horizontally and vertically. Sketch them in lightly. These will be your guidelines for measurement.
  3. Draw the eyes along the center line horizontally. The eyes are about an eye-width apart. Make the top of the eye slightly more round and the bottom line of the eye slightly less round and more flat.
  4. Draw a completely round pupil and color black. Draw parentheses touching the top and bottom of the eye around the pupil for the eyeball.
  5. The nose needs to be along the center vertical line. If your person is female, make the nose slightly smaller than if you are drawing a male. Make the nose slightly bigger than you think it ought to be – give your person enough of a nose to be able to breathe. Start with a set of parentheses on either side of the vertical line to indicate the outside rounded edges of the nostrils. Then elongate the tops and use two small lines that look like backward and slightly crooked parentheses to hint that the nostrils are there.
  6. Half way between the bottom of the nose and the chin, draw the mouth. It will be about as wide as the center of the pupils. (Draw vertical guide lines to help with width if that helps you.) Draw the top lips with a slight curve. Hint at the bottom lip with a small curved line. Add in a center line that is straight but does not connect to the corner guide lines. If you fully draw the lips with all the lines connecting, then your person is probably wearing lipstick.
  7. For the eyebrows, draw them thick and heavy if they are male and thinner if you are drawing a female. Draw them directly over the eyes, about as wide as the eyes. If you draw them too high up, your person will look surprised. If you draw them too low, your person looks bored. If you put them at an angle, they will look angry.
  8. Then draw in the hair. The top of the hair will be slightly above the scalp (top line of the head).
  9. For the ears, you draw an ear shape, close to the head so they don’t draw too much attention. It’s better to hint at the pattern and shading instead of drawing all of the details. Sometimes for girls with long hair, the ears don’t show at all. (Earrings are optional.)
  10. Then erase the guide lines you used to find the middle. You can go back and revise or tweak any part of the face when you are done.
A sample for drawing human faces.
Here’s a quick example of the techniques I described.

Draw What You See

It’s better to draw what you see, not what you know. Have a model or look in a mirror if possible. Drawing human faces┬ácan be difficult, so keep practicing and eventually you will master it. With these tips, I picked up on the basics and I hope to further my drawing skills with future art projects.

10 Tips for Drawing Human Faces
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