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How to draw faces: female

Here's a quick tutorial on how to draw a face. (Also see our male face tutorial).

Please check out these tips before you read any further:


(If you've done one of my tutorials before you don't have to check the tips again).

I used Photoshop to draw this picture, but don't worry, it's the same on paper with a pencil and eraser. Doing it on paper is easier actually! Get your, pencil, paper, eraser and ruler ready.

First you'll need a reference picture. I found this one on

You'll note the face is oval shaped. We are going to use that as our base shape, a big oval. Please note that faces are not round! Unless the face is on a soccer ball...

Here's the oval. The top horizontal line basically cuts the oval in half and gives you an indication of where the eyes are going to go. The bottom horizontal line cuts the bottom half in half again and gives an indication of where the nose is going to go. (Use tricks like this when you study any picture. Proportion is your ally!)


Step 1. Now draw the oval on your paper. Cut your oval in half horizontally and vertically. Add the bottom horizontal line. (Feel free to use a ruler, but don't press too hard – we are going to erase these guide lines later. If we don't it will look as if she's going for plastic surgery... which is NOT what we are going for.)

Step 2. Add a guideline for the mouth, halfway between the nose and chin. This is for the lower lip.

Place the nose. Refer to your reference picture to get an idea of what the bottom part of the nose looks like. It has a half circle in the middle and two skewed half-circles at the sides. Don't worry about detail at this stage.

Step 3. Use the nose as a guideline for your eyes. The outer edges of your nose (the two skew half-circles) indicates where the inner corners of the eyes go. Draw guidelines for yourself.


1. Eyes: When you draw your eyes keep in mind that the space between the eyes should be wide enough to fit in another eye.

2. Irises: When drawing your irises remember that the whole iris is rarely visible (unless the subject saw The Terminator show up at his front door). In this case the top part of the iris is behind the upper eyelid.

3. Eyebrows: Even though one eyebrow is lifted, both eyebrows have the same starting height on the inside (the points closest to the nose). To get an idea of how high the eyebrow should be add another imaginary eye above the left eye – that should give you more or less the correct height for the brow.

Step 4. Add the mouth. Use your previous guideline as an indicator for the bottom lip. The upper lip's line is about halfway between the lower lip and the nose. To work out how wide the mouth should be draw two lines from the inside of the irises vertically downwards. (In some people this guideline should go to the center of the iris/pupil).

Step 5. So... at this stage we have a freaky-looking puppet on our hands. Chucky is coming to get you! But in all seriousness, the hard part is over, believe it or not. Now we just prettify the picture, add details – all the fun stuff.

Erase your guide lines and give your face a shape. Pay attention to the cheekbones and the shape of the chin. This lady has a strong chin, but try not to make it too strong, otherwise you'll end up with a man.

Step 6. Clean up the lines. Fix the mouth and nose shape, add the inner corners of the eyes.

Step 7. Finish up the eyes.

    1. 1. Clean up the lines.

2. Add lower lid.

3. Fill in the pupil and eyelashes

4. Add highlights and some detail on the iris.

Here's a quick process animation:

Step 8. Do the same with the other eye. Your face is basically done, but to give it depth it's a good idea to add some shading. I will do a tutorial on shading at some point, but if you know how to shade, please feel free to add some shading to your drawing.

You have reached the end of this tutorial. To improve your drawing skills act like shampoo and Rinse and Repeat! Practice, practice, practice and you'll be in league with the pros before you know it!


Here's a hair tutorial that goes with this. And here's an eye tutorial some may find helpful. Face from the side tutorial.

pencildrawing of face with hair

Admin note: I found a cool online course called Pencil Drawing Made Easy that specializes in taking beginners and teaching them how to draw in a realistic style. The course itself is online video, so you can access it from anywhere in the world. I will do a full review of the course soon, but for now I just want you to know that I think it's definitely worth checking out, and you're sure to get better at drawing if you follow the lessons. I'm already learning a lot from it! The course teaches you how to draw ANYTHING realistically in pencil - from onions to hands to hyper realistic portraits. The teacher explains everything really well, so you'll understand exactly what you're doing and why. Click here to check it out!


About The Author:
BarakiEl's favourite things to do include creating digital art, listening to music, playing computer games and spending time with her husband. She works from home as a freelance desktop publisher, colourist and illustrator.
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Posted in: Art by on May 17, 2010 @ 11:57 am


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