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Whether its attempting to become a police sketch artist, writing a pithy web comic, or creating
a self-portrait, sketching faces can be a challenging, yet rewarding, skill to develop. No one
comes out of the gate with perfect drawing skills, and if youre just starting out, its important
to note that technique comes first, while any style develops later. These instructions are going
to take you through developing the skull that the face will rest on, creating guidelines, and
adding details to make a face. There is no set time for how long this process should take, as
everyones skill levels vary. As a guideline, try not to spend more than ten minutes on each
section to start, as these instructions focus more on developing the technique. Make sure to
draw on a clean flat surface, otherwise it could affect your ability to draw clean lines on the

Pilot G-2 Mechanical Pencil with plenty of correct graphite, or similar erasable pencil
Clean 8 by 11 computer paper
White Staedtler Mars Latex-Free Eraser, or similar block eraser

Overhead Lamp


Before you start work on your drawing, make sure that your workspace is well-lit. The more
light that is placed on your paper, the easier it is to avoid mistakes from shadows.
Turn on overhead lamp, if available. Make sure that light is centered on flat surface.
Clear off flat area so that the computer paper can be rotated completely without
touching anything.
Brush off any dust and dirt from the flat area.
Place all required materials on the flat area.
Keep the paper in a portrait orientation.
You should now have a well-lit space to work on, with no material near enough to interfere
with drawing.

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The human face rests on a skeletal structure in real life, so it is no real surprise that to draw a
face, it is important to draw an extremely simplified skull, first.
Draw a circle, about three inches in diameter, on the upper half of the paper and
relatively centered.
Find the center of the circle and create a line parallel to the long edges of the paper that
runs through the entire diameter and extends down an additional two inches. This is
called the vertical center.
Draw an inch wide line perpendicular
to the vertical center at the base of
the vertical center. This is the chin
Imagine a circle diameter parallel to
the short sides of the paper and
place two dots where it intersects
the circles perimeter.
Extend a straight line from each of
these two points that tapers towards
the vertical center. Each line should
be roughly 2 inches long and taper
inwards by about a quarter inch
inwards. These lines form the upper
half of the jawline.
Connect the upper half of the
jawline with straight lines to the chin
line. The fully connected line below
the circle that you have made is the
full jawline of the face.
Round out each intersection of the jawline, such that there are no corners.
You have now created the basic skull for the face.

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Measure the distance from the chin
line of the face to the top of the
circle along the vertical center.
Create a horizontal line
perpendicular to the halfway point
of the vertical center that connects
to the edges of the face. This is the
center line.
Draw three lines parallel to the
center line, using the ruler,
breaking the upper half of the face
into quarters. From top to bottom,
these lines will be labeled A, B, and
Repeat the above step, but for the
bottom half of the face. The lines
will be labeled 1, 2, and 3 in the
order of top line to bottom line.
Erase lines B and 1. These guidelines will not be used during the process, and will only be
whitespace at the end of drawing the face.
You should have five lines that are the width of the face, including the centerline.

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Draw four tick marks along the centerline,
equally spaced, to break the centerline into
Create an elliptical curve above the center
line from the first to the second tick mark,
rising about a quarter inch at its highest point.
Repeat this elliptical curve on the right side,
extending from the third tick mark to the
fourth tick mark.
Draw an elliptical curve from the first to
second tick mark, this time making sure it
goes below the center line and only sinks to a
quarter inch at its lowest point.
Repeat this step on the right side from the
third tick mark to the fourth tick mark.
Create a circle inside each of the ellipses, centering it about a sixteenth of an inch below
the center line and directly in the center of the tick marks.
Erase any parts of the circle not inside the elliptical lines.
Add an additional ellipse above each upper ellipse drawn, spacing it about a sixteenth of
an inch above the original. Make sure not to connect to the ellipse that forms the eye,
as this becomes the eyelid.

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Draw two parallel lines from the
second and third tick marks on the
center line down to line three,
remaining perpendicular with the
guidelines. These will be the nose
Create a trace of part of the outside
eyes, offset by a quarter inch,
starting a half inch above the
centerline on both sides of the
vertical line.
Extend this trace to a quarter inch above line two.
Connect the trace to both nose guidelines, starting from about two fifths of the distance
from guideline two to the centerline.
Draw downwards on the nose guidelines by about an eight inch on either side.
Connect each side of the nose from the lines in the previous step to the vertical line.
Erase any lines within the shape of the nose, including all parts of guidelines inside the
nose shape.
Round out corners and connection points of the nose.
Reshape upper nose line to taper into the wider part of the nose. This step is up to user
decision, as every nose is different. Make sure to prevent the lines of the nose from
being completely perpendicular to the nose guidelines.
Separating the bottom of the nose into fifths, erase the second and fourth fifths of the
bottom line of the nose. These will be the nostrils.
Connect the two new gaps in the nose with ellipses that do not exceed an eighth of an
inch in height.
Round out any remaining corners on the nose.

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Draw a straight line halfway between
lines two and three, centered on the
vertical line, which is one and a half
times larger than the width of the
Modify the straight line to match the
curvature seen in the figure to the left.
Create an upper lip by matching the curvature in the figure above, taking care not to
exceed a quarter inch in height.
Imagine a circle, centered where guideline two and the vertical line meet. The radius
extends from guideline two to guideline three.
Draw an arc length of this circle starting from a point below the outer portion of the left
nostril that extends to the outer portion of the right nostril. This forms the divot below
the mouth.

Start from the upper points of the
nose and shade rectangles that are
about the size of the eyes. The
rectangles should slope upwards by
no more than an eighth of an inch
and stop at the edge of each eye.
Shade triangles that have their base on the outer edge of the rectangle and point
downwards. The slope of the triangle should be a decrease of about a quarter inch in
height while extending a quarter inch outwards.
Round out all corners and connections to make the eyebrows more natural looking.

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Draw ears from centerline to line two
one either side of the face. Ears are
highly stylized and are harder to break

Make sure the ears dont extend

more than a quarter inch off the

Keep the ear curved and taper it to follow the jawlines inward curve.
Match the details shown in the figure above if having trouble.

Visualize a hairline that is a
quarter of an inch below
guideline A that extends from
the left side of the left eye to
the right side of the right eye.
Do not create any hair below
this line.
Note: Since there are
practically no wrong hairstyles,
tips will be listed to explain
guidelines for adding hair to a

Hair comes from the skull, so

make sure that hair vaguely
follows the shape of the skull.
At the hairline previously
visualized, draw individual
strands of the hair.
Unless its a buzz cut, hair
should extend past the skull.

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Erase all guidelines.
Recreate any details that
were erased by removing
Add two necklines that
start at the dramatic
inward taper of the
jawline and taper
outward by a sixteenth of
an inch, each.
Final project should be
something similar to the
figure on the left.

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