5 Creative Ideas for Drawing Faces

By Alina Bradford

Artists that love figure drawing or life drawing should practice their face drawing techniques.

Learning to draw faces well, once all of the basics are learned, can only be done by drawing the face over and over. To keep face drawing from being repetitive, artists can use these ten drawing ideas.

Cropping Facial Features

eye sketch on toned paperOne way to strengthen drawing skills is to zoom in on only one part of the face. For example, if an artist is having problems drawing a mouth, he may want to draw only that part of the face. This is called cropping.

Larger-than-Life Drawing

Go from drawing small to drawing large. When drawing the face smaller-than-life, the artist tends to gloss over details and only draws the major areas of the face.

Drawing the face much larger than life can make the artist focus on every detail of the face. The best way to achieve a larger-than-life drawing is by choosing a sketch pad that is quite large, such as Strathmore pads that come in 18”X24” sheets, and filling the whole page with the face.

Switch Drawing Mediums

zombie paintingSwitching mediums can be a way to see the subject in a new way, as well as adding variety to the drawing process. Here are some drawing supplies to consider using:

  • Colored pencils
  • Graphite
  • Pastel
  • Conte Crayons
  • Charcoal
  • Ink
  • Chalk
  • Markers
  • Watercolor pencils or pens

Sketching Faces with Paint

Painting by Alina Bradford.
Painting by Alina Bradford.

Instead of switching from pencil to charcoal, though, why not switch from a wet to a dry medium? Here are some tips for drawing with paint:

  • Choose a fluid paint such as watercolor or acrylic. This makes the fast movements of sketching easy.
  • The best brush to draw with is a liner brush. These brushes will give the artist a lot of control.
  • Choose a smooth and absorbent paper such as a hot press watercolor sheet.
  • Forget about color and focus on shapes.

Draw a Variety of Faces

To draw faces well, every artist must know how to draw different types of faces. The best way to do this is to draw faces of different ethnicities. Here are some ways to do this:

  • Thumb through magazines and draw the different features of the people on the pages.
  • Sit on a bus bench and draw people passing by.
  • Visit authentic ethnic restaurants, choose a table in the corner and draw the owners and staff while eating.
  • Visit ethnically diverse neighborhoods.

Switching formal anatomy drawings and life drawings with these techniques will hone drawing skills and add variety to drawing practice.

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