How To Draw a Woman's Face In 9-Steps
Woman's Face -- Front View
In some ways, drawing women's faces can be more difficult than men's. Drawing a man's face requires a lot more straight lines, and sharp corners, whereas a woman's requires a bit more finesse, and curves. The truth is, there's a lot more implied by each stroke than in a man's face. In fact, in most cases, in a woman's face, less is more.
This article is number two in a series of articles I'm doing on drawing. You can read the first, on How to Draw a Man's Face In 9-Steps, first if you like. A lot of the same things will be applied, in fact the exact same steps will be used, but just with a slightly different usage.
A woman's face, as said before, requires more finesse, and the best thing to note is less pencil is used to draw a woman than a man. The more lines there are on a woman's face, the older the face will look, so note that before getting started.
To get started, all you'll need is a sharpened pencil, and a clean sheet of paper. Just follow along, and make light confident strokes. Don't commit to your lines until your completely satisfied. That way, you can always go back and adjust what you've done. So, good luck, and have fun.
Photo Credit: All Photos on this page were created by me, using Inkscape.
Tools To Begin
Pro Art offers and inexpensive option that rivals some of the more expensive brands.
A sketch book is a must have for any practicing artist, and Canson makes a sturdy book that can stand up to all sorts of weather.
A portable battery powered pencil sharpener, to keep your points sharp.
1. Mark Out the Head Shape
Marking out the head is the first thing in defining the person. You should note that women's heads should be slightly smaller than men's, but in the end they will have a great deal more hair, in most cases. So, make sort of an egg-shape, with the narrow side down, but it should be a little triangular, with the point towards the chin.
Don't worry if it's not perfect. This is just marking out the head area. Much of this will be sculpted out by the hair and chin, so this is just setting out some space to work.
2. Set Guidelines for Facial Features
The next thing is to set out an axis and a mid-point for the facial features. This is fairly straight forward. There's an axis down the middle to make sure that things line up properly with the eyes, nose and mouth. Then the two lines from left to right are actually for the eyes and brow. They arc up to allow for foreshortening, which is the idea of demonstrating a 3-D look to the eyes, disappearing behind the sides of the face.
3. Line Out the Facial Bone Structure
Next, is to line out the facial bone structure. For the most part, in women, these lines will go away, and will only be used in coloring. When drawing a man's face, these lines would eventually get darkened for character, but in drawing a woman's face, they are usually used as guidelines to color makeup, and things like that. They are also, in the case of women, given a much greater curvature, especially at the cheeks and brow.
Line each of these lightly, so that they can be erased a bit later. The curved V-shape in the middle demonstrates the brow, and will be the start of the eyebrow, but will, for the most part, be getting erased. The ones at the top, will be demonstrating the forehead bones, and will guide the remainder of the eyebrows, mainly because, women usually have fairly well defined, and distinctive eyebrows. And the ones at the bottom demonstrate the cheek bones and jaw. They will go away almost entirely to be replaced by makeup coloring, and shadow. But they should be drawn in for guidance.
4. Lay Out the Eyes
As far as cartooning goes, the eyes are the most expressive. They can be smoky, and sultry, big and child-like, or narrow and devious. Think about your character, and make the eyes fit before moving on. Either way, women's eyes are extremely unique compared to men's. They typically have eye lashes and eyebrows, that are more than just thickened lines across the top. They emote something.
Take time when drawing the eyes and eyebrows. Notice how the eyebrows connect with the forehead bone guidelines, and then continue around the side of the head. They should appear to disappear around the side, as should the corners of the eyes. Also, it's a good idea to add upper and lower eyelids to give the eyes an extra layer of realism, as well as give another area for color in women.
5. Lay Out the Nose
Next, is the nose. This one is tricky for woman, as it's definitely one in which less is more. Men have full boisterous noses, while a feminine nose is usually drawn as little more than a simple J-shape. Sometimes it's little more than a U-shape, and there are even times when it's just the nostril slits. A feminine nose offers as little pencil as possible. It's hinted at more than shown.
6. Lay Out the Lips
As opposed to the nose, feminine lips are full, and more is usually better. To draw full feminine lips, the top line is sort of two sides of a heart shape, the second line is slightly bent into a V, and the bottom line opens to make the bottom lip the fullest of the two. Then angled lines are usually placed on either side to show a slight wrinkling.
Feminine lips can have zillions of different variations for a zillion different emotions. You can spend hours perfecting this area of the female face.
This is a book loaded with photographs highlighting the different possible facial expressions for artists to draw.
A lot of people know I'm a big fan of Christopher Hart's drawing books, and this one highlights a lot of cartoon drawing, specifically female characters, and one big section on their facial expressions.
Christopher Hart is an expert at demonstrating the face. His opening chapter in this book has a whole page dedicated to emotions, and how they effect facial expressions.
7. Line Up the Ears
In many cases, the ears on a woman can be ignored, because typically they are covered by hair. However, it's still good to add them just to make sure the alignment is there. The top of the ears attach to the head just to the side right at the point of the eye. A woman's ear is usually drawn fairly small, and tight, so keep it thin, and no longer than mid-cheek. Don't spend too much pencil here, because most times, the hair you add later will just undo all of this work. Add the ears, and move on.
Take the Poll!
Who's face is harder to draw?
8. Drape Her Hair
So, here it is, the hair. So before, when I was saying drawing a man's face takes a lot more pencil, I wasn't talking about the hair. This is where drawing a woman's face makes up the difference.
Here's how I attack it. I begin with the bangs. I begin with where I think the hairstyle will start, like where the part might be, or something like that, and just start lining it out. Go ahead and get creative here. Line lightly at first, and go ahead and go through the eyes, ears and whatever else gets in the way. Bangs can do wild stuff, and it can look really cool when it does. Think asymmetrical. No hairstyle lays like a helmet, not even the most hair-sprayed 80's doo.
Next go up from your starting point, to the top of the egg shape, and start drawing the back of the hairstyle all the way to where it might end around the neck. Then draw something under the bang that connects the two, and ta-da, you have yourself a cool woman's hairstyle.
9. Touch Up the Facial Details
Touch up phase--my favorite! This part isn't about following the rules, it's more about getting it to look the way you want. Take your time here. You can spend all day on this phase, erasing, scratching in some lines, erasing others, rubbing the pic with your fingers, and just overall trying to get what looked like a framework to look like a real face. The objective here is to move past an ordinary looking zombie, and move towards something with life. Don't be afraid to try all sorts of things.
Use both hands, and by that, I mean, pencil and erase with your pencil hand, and rub and texture with your other hand. There are some interesting affects you can get in a picture by brushing the palm of your hand across a picture. Don't stop until you're happy with it. It's OK to stop, get up, and come back later for another session of touch ups. I do it all the time.
Some Closing Thoughts
I realize yours doesn't look quite like mine does. And you know what? That's OK, because you and I are not the same person. If we drew the same thing there'd be a problem. We have different drawing styles, and I knew where I was heading.
So, where to go from here. The thing is, you don't get good at something by doing it once. You have to do it several times, so try this again. In fact you should probably try to draw a woman's face like ten times. Draw it ten times, and then see how it looks. By then, I guarantee, you'll see something that looks pretty good.
I can't wait to hear about it. Let me know how you did in the comments below.
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