In this tutorial, I will teach you how to draw a face from the front view and the ¾ view. You will learn how to draw a human female head.
For drawing a face you should follow this process divided into 4 steps:
- Step 1: Draw the head ovals
- Step 2: Draw the face cross.
- Step 3: Draw the facial features. Nose, eyes, mouth, etc…
- Step 4: Add detail to the face. Wrinkles, eyelashes, skin pores…
I will describe each step in detail and I will use as examples both front and 3/4 view heads. My objective is to show you a step-by-step comparison between both views, so you will have a better understanding of which are the main differences and similarities between drawing a face frontally or at a ¾ angle.
Some art tips before we start
Before we jump right away with the 4 steps of the tutorial, I will like to give you some artistic advice about how to make your drawing look more awesome, fresh, and cool:
The first tip will be to not draw all the features completely. A beginner artist tends to make the mistake of drawing everything they see. Let’s say for example you want to draw a mouth. You don’t want to draw the full lips of the mouth. The reason is that if you do, the mouth and the lips take too much attention and look too artificial. If you wanna get better drawing anatomy you should check my article of the Best 20 Anatomy Books for Artists You Can´t Miss
The second tip will be to keep your drawing “fresh”. With this I mean, not to overdraw. I know this statement can sound confusing. What I mean by that is to keep your hand loose and your strokes limited. Don’t press too hard with the pencil on the paper and grab it from the middle, not from the tip. You can grab the pen or the pencil closer to the tip when drawing small details. For the blocking of the main shapes and features better to grab the pencil from the middle. This will help you to loosen up and not be that tight when drawing.
An economy of strokes will be more than welcome. Leave some areas unfinished and try to focus your work and details on the main features, where the eye of the spectator will be drawn immediately. If you put too much detail in everything the viewer will not know where to focus his attention. Remember, “less is more”.
Step 1: The Ovals
In this first step, we are going to draw 2 pairs of ovals. In each pair, the sphere in the right will be the one we will use for the front view. The other one on the left of each pair will be the ¾ view.
At the lower part of the ovals, we will draw the jaw bone. As you can see both jaws differ from one view to the other. On the front view, both sides of the jaws are equal. The difference appears in the ¾ view. Due to the perspective of the face, one side of the jaw ( the left side in our example ) will be drawn shorter than the right side ( this side will be fully exposed to the viewer’s eyes meanwhile the other side, the left one, will be almost hidden from the viewer).
Under the jaw of each face, we will draw the neck. The front view will present both sides of the neck equal like in the jaw’s case. The ¾ view will present a shorter curve on the right and a longer and larger curve on the left side.
Also, we will draw several horizontal lines across both heads marking where different facial features will be located in terms of height. Doing this will help us match the placement of these features in both views, so we can keep the resemblance of our character in both views. These lines will be key in this distribution.
The eyelids line will mark the upper part of the eyes. This line will be slightly above the center of the head, where the eyes will be located( more of this in the next steps)
Step 2: The Center Cross
We will divide the ovals with a cross. On the front view, we will place the cross right on the center, with the center of the cross matching the center of the sphere. As a result, the sphere will be divided in 4 parts all equal.
On the ¾ view spheres, we will place the cross sideways. This will leave us with 4 parts. The ones on the left will be way smaller than the ones on the right. This is due to the law of perspective and depth that rules in nature. The 2 new parts on the left of the sphere will be further away from us ( the viewers ) meanwhile the other 2 parts on the right will be closer to us and quite more expose.
Step 3: The facial features
I assume by now, you already realize the oval heads we drew before will be the base drawing for the cranium and the face. We will place the main features of the face like the nose, the eyes, the eyebrows, etc.. inside these empty heads,
On the front view, both sides of the face will present equal-sized features. Left and right will be a mirror of each other, or at least you should try to keep them very similar.
Some of the features present differences from one side to the other. Maybe an eye a little bit bigger than the other, a scar crossing one eyebrow, more freckles in one chick than the other. The differences between sides can be plenty.
On the ¾ view, we will find both sides very different from each other. The left side will present smaller features than the right side.
Let’s speak of each feature one by one and the main differences between genders and perspectives.
The eyebrows and the eyes:
We will draw the eyebrows touching the horizontal line of the sphere. The eyes will be placed right under. In this step, we will draw the upper eyelid and the pupil.
When detailing we will break slightly this symmetry because the eye will find unreal and unbelievable two sides of the face exactly equal. This doesn’t happen in nature. Our faces are somehow symmetrical but they are no perfectly equal.
Each eye’s upper eyelid will be drawn like an arch that starts lower near to the nose and ends a little bit higher on the corner of the eye. The eyelid and the pupil will be larger than the man’s one.
For the ¾ view, you gotta remember to draw the left eyebrow and eye smaller compare to the right one due to the perspective. A good trick is to draw the far away eye with a shorter and accented curve for the upper eyelid. The pupil of this eye will be an ellipse instead of a circle.
I like to place the nose center right in the middle of this vertical line. If we divide the lower half of this line into four equal parts, from the horizontal line until the bottom of the sphere, the nose will be placed around on the third line.
For the woman, I prefer to draw the nostrils on top. This is because usually, a woman tends to have smaller and shorter noses and man bigger and longer.
At this stage, I will only draw the nostrils and the bottom of the nose.
The mouth will be drawn on the bottom of the sphere. I like to draw it like two crossing lines coming from the sides of the mouth. These lines converge in a little curve that represents the top of the upper lip.
I like to suggest the lips clearly. This is why I draw both sides of the upper lip and define very clearly the bottom of the lower lip.
Regarding the hair, we will need to decide which hairstyle we will use for her. In this case, we will go for the more classic look and she will be wearing long hair.
Drawing the hair is not as difficult as some people would think. The haircut will have a dividing line on the center of the head. The wisps will fall from there until below the shoulders.
We will draw long and fluid curve lines. Only on the end of the wisps, we will add an extra curve, like if the hair was becoming lighter there and a little bit more random or difficult to control.
Step 4: Detailing the face
Now it’s time to have some fun detailing the face. As you can see in the image above, the main difference between detailing the man’s face and the female one is the number of little lines and basically the noise we put on both.
We will draw the details on top of the original red lines that were rougher. Try to fade the original lines rough lines with a kneaded eraser and use the faded lines as guides. The final lineart should be precise. Try to create fluid and longer lines instead of shorter and thicker.
Major facial bones
A man’s face tends to be rougher than a woman’s one. The Maxilla bone, the Nasal, and the Mandible tend to be more prominent in men than women. This makes the man’s face more angular compared to the woman’s face which has smaller bones and a softer look. Only the Zygomatic bone on top of the chicks can be more prominent in women than men, according to the beauty canon. Of course, nature doesn’t attend always to the standards of the beauty cannon and faces come in all shapes and forms.
Some women can have the same foldings, wrinkles, and bags under the eyes as men do, but we gotta understand that women’s skin is usually way thinner and more delicate than men’s skin. Pores are not as visible, the skin looks smoother and without very little or no visible facial hair at all.
Another factor that makes women’s faces softer and smoother, compared to men, is the fact women take care of their skin way more than men do. Also, we should consider the use of makeup that helps to increase that soft look.
Woman Key features:
- Detailing the woman’s face we should emphasize two main features. The eyes and the lips:
- The eyes should have visible eyelashes and the pupil and the iris will look bigger than in a man’s face.
- The woman’s lips will look meaty and bigger compared to the man’s lips.
Before I continue with the tutorial, I would like to check if you are achieving the results you are looking for when drawing faces. I´m trying to do my best here to teach you how the human head is built and how you can draw successfully a male or female face. But trust me I understand that maybe you are having some success in your drawings but is not enough, or maybe you wanna take it to the next level. If you are feeling that all of what I´m teaching you here is good but you need more, let me give you one recommendation. Go and check my review on Proko´s “Portrait Drawing Fundamentals course”. In there I explain my personal experience taking this course, I will show you samples of my own homework I did for this course and my honest opinion about it. If you really wanna improve your face drawing skills you gotta check my review.