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Beginner’s guide on drawing a pencil sketch

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Beginners who have just picked up their tools to draw a pencil sketch might find it difficult to draw the facial features of their subjects. It is the most common concern since it defines your level of portrait drawing skills.

The facial features and head profiles are not fixed for any character. You just need to develop a basic understanding of how to draw these things, and then you will be able to explore different proportions.

  • Start your pencil sketch by drawing the outlines

You can start your face sketch by drawing two intersecting circles like a Venn diagram. Their intersection determines the eye level. Now you can draw a line in the centre joining both circles, which results in an outline of a human head.

Smaller and nearer the circles would give wider and heavier faces, while elongated ones would give longer head shape.

  • Add construction lines to your pencil sketch

Draw two lines on either side of this figure, like you draw a chord on the circle. These lines will outline the position of your forehead and cheekbones. From the centre where all these lines intersect, draw a triangle, for the nose and below that draw a line for your mouth. Now from the tip of the triangle which you made for your nose, add two triangles for the eyes on either side. These will help you locate the eyebrows of the character.

  • Outline the features of your face sketch

    outline the feature of face sketch

Imagine the face as a cylindrical structure, around which the facial features are wrapped. The eyes, nose and mouth should be on the same side/angle on the face to give them a natural curve.

Also, the top of the eyebrow and bottom of the nose must be aligned with the top and bottom of the ear to give the face a more natural and curvy feeling instead of flat or plane feeling.

  • Draw the eyes

    Draw the eyes of the pencil sketch

One thing to keep in mind while making a face sketch is that the top eye must have a thicker line to indicate a shadow from the eyelid. To create a more feminine look, you can extend the eyelashes and make them thicker. Don’t forget to add a light source to make the eyes look bright and alive.

  • Further, add the nose

add the nose of your pencil sketch

Noses can be tough to draw. What we recommend is trying with a triangle for the passage and a diamond shape for the tip of the nose. Add some shadow but keep away from adding details for now. Draw nostrils with the help of the diamond.

  • Try different lip shapes

draw lips shape of your face sketch

This can be done with the help of references or observing other characters’ lip movements when they make sounds like “oh”, “what”, “easy”, etc.

  • Masculine and feminine features 

Generally, females have rounder faces with fuller lips, larger eyes with prominent eyelashes and rounder cheeks. Males have an angular shaped structure.

  • Drawing hair in the last

    Do the hairline of your pencil sketch

For this, first, create a basic shape with a thicker outline and draw inner hair with thinner strokes. Always begin with the crown of the head and add weight to the bottom of the hair.

These are the basic guidelines for people who are learning to draw a pencil sketch. When you have practised these skills, you can experiment with new features and structures for your portrait drawing whenever you like!

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