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Drawing Pencil Sketches Newsletter, April 2013
April 01, 2013

This Month, Sketching a Face:
Basic Proportions

Dear Artists & Friends,

Drawing Pencil Sketches Newsletter April 2013

It is nearly time to take your sketchbook somewhere in the great outdoors as spring is almost here. Mother Nature offers rapidly changing scenes from close-up sketching of spring flowers to vast panoramas of landscapes. This can be a little challenging if you live in the city – but even in the city, there are always wonderful things to sketch. Even garbage bins can make an interesting abstract sketch.

As there have been requests for tutorials on the basics of sketching a face and getting the proportions right, I thought we'd kick off with all the problems associated with drawing faces. Unless you have HTML email, you will not be able to see images in this newsletter.

Drawing faces and getting a good likeness can be one of the most challenging things for an artist. It is hilarious to see Meme faces which IMO have no artistic merit at all BUT it can be useful as a warm-up exercise similar to doodling.

The first step is to be familiar with the basic common proportions you find in most faces and that would include all ethnic types. The overall shape of the head is basically an egg-shape oval with a slightly narrower end at the bottom which is the chin.

Second Step: Place a line exactly half way between the bottom of the chin to the top of the head. This is where you draw a horizontal line across the oval you’ve drawn and this is where you place the eyes. See illustration.

The third step is to draw another line between the first line you've drawn and the bottom of the chin and this is where the bottom of the nose usually is. (This can vary depending on the age of the person).

The Fourth step: another line exactly half way between the last line (bottom of nose) which is where the lips are placed. This is fairly simple to do so draw these in rough form first if you have not drawn the human face before. Getting these proportions right is the first step.

Note that the eyes are placed on this halfway point with the eyebrows a little higher. The nose extends from this line halfway to the chin. The eyes are recessed slightly on the eye line with the nose emerging from between the eyebrows in a wedge shape. Note that the top of the ear is on this horizontal eye-line.

These steps only cover full frontal view; with profile or side view, I will put up another tutorial.

Now is the time to start your practice run using these steps. Do take note of these to get it right first time. Most artists will carefully observe the features and their proportions first and then measure mechanically with pencil and thumb.


Free Guide To Drawing Here in PDF format

PS: Have fun drawing, I'd love to see your work showcased here. Please do write if you have any comments or questions especially when you upload your drawings, just a few words will do about you and your drawings.

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