How to Draw a Realistic Face

How to Draw a Realistic Face:

Cartoons and animation drawings are great, but there will probably come a time when you want to get real. And by "real", I mean draw a face that looks like a real person. But without a little bit of direction, that can seem kind of hard. It doesn't have to be.

The secret to drawing realistic faces is understanding structure and proportion. By structure, I mean the skull and the muscles of the face. Most of us know what a skull looks like, but you as the artist drawing the head need to be considerably more familiar with it. You'll want to know how the jaw works, how the eyes sit in the eye sockets. You can do an internet search and find images that will be worth some study.
The other thing to know is proportion, which is how distance makes an object look distorted. This is a classic sign to tell an artist that's really drawing well and someone who is still just making realistic-looking cartoons. You'll need to understand how the nose changes, for example, as the head turns. How the eye brows change, and whether or not the head tilts a bit to the left.
The foreshortening that happens as proportion changes can be really difficult to draw, and its the sort of thing that you can't imagine. You are going to have to put down the pencil for a second and really look hard at what that head is doing, then look down at your drawing and change it to reflect what you are seeing. This can be a little hard, especially if you're used to drawing in a stylized way -- at first, drawing the "right" way, the way that mimics what your eye is actually seeing, is going to seem really wrong. Then suddenly the lines of your drawing will work together and pop, you'll have moved up a major step as an artist. But you have to be willing to really look at what you are seeing and then try to recreate those three-dimensional lines on your two-dimensional page.

How to Draw a Realistic Face:

You can make this much easier by simplifying the image. To do that, you "block it out", or reduce it to simple shapes like cones and balls. Typically heads are reduced to ovals. With the oval vertical, you can draw a line halfway between the top and the bottom. That line is the brow line. Halfway from the top of the oval to the brow line you can draw another line -- the hair line. About halfway below the brow line and the bottom of the oval is another line which marks the top of the lips. With those three guidelines in place you can start to fill in the rest of the face.

How to Draw a Realistic Face:

A final tip for making a face more realistic is to add shading. Make the edges of the mouth and eyes a bit darker, and possibly make a shadow behind one of the ears. Pressing down a bit harder with your pencil in places will create what's called an accentuated line, and that's a great tool for emphasizing parts of the face you want to draw attention to. Many professional portrait artists use subtle tricks to make people notice certain characteristics about the person they're drawing, like their eyes, or a particular expression that is characteristic of their model.

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