Skip to Content

How to Draw a Face Step by Step From Different Angles (For Beginners)

Learning how to draw a face is the goal for many beginner artists. Drawing a realistic face and capturing an expression perfectly is certainly challenging, but always rewarding.

So we’ve created this guide that you can follow along with to learn how to draw a face.

Below is my original method, I developed to draw a face from different angles easily and quickly that focuses on:

  • getting the basic shape of the face
  • using a comparison measuring method for the facial features
  • shading in a 3 step process to reach a realistic face drawing

Note: learning to draw a face will take a lot of practice but hopefully with these guides you can get some tips that will help you get there faster

I put a lot of time into this post, probably somewhere near 30 hours, and drew three separate face drawings culminating in separate guides each for how to:

  • draw a face from the front
  • draw a face form the side
  • draw a face from 3/4 view

If there are only a handful of things, you can take a way from this post it would be the section below (Key Takeaways) and my tips for how to shade a face (here).

I’ve also included links throughout to our more detailed guides on how to draw the separate features of the face (eyes, nose, mouth, and ears).

Hopefully, you can follow along with our guides below for how to draw a face and pickup some tips to add into your own face drawing process. – Zack

Table of Contents

    How to Draw a Face for Beginners – Key Takeaways and Tips

    1. Using a reference image: we strongly recommend using a reference image especially for beginners. With a reference image you will be better able to narrow down the proportions, size and shape of the face.
      • While faces will follow a general pattern for where to place the features (more on this later) you will notice that each face can vary widely in terms of spacing, size, and placement of the facial features – and a reference image can help with this
    2. Don’t be afraid if your drawing of a face doesn’t looking good in the beginning
      • No drawing really looks great in the beginning. It’s only with time and shading and highlighting that a drawing truly begins to look good and take its final form
    3. Don’t worry if you have to redo certain parts or start over entirely
      • there’s a reason why people always say to draw lightly and loosely in the beginning. It’s because you will likely have to redo and re-shape certain parts (I know I always do with every drawing)
    4. Try to draw the eyebrows and eyes perfectly with perfect placement and spacing
      • If your brows and eyes are drawn as close to accuracy to your reference image as possible, you can then base the rest of the face shape and features off of them

    How Do You Draw a Perfect Face Step by Step?

    In terms of how to draw a face step by step, we have broken it down into 4 steps listed below:

    Step 1. Outline the face

    This is the most difficult step but don’t be afraid.

    You will first start by drawing a general shape of the outline of the face. This of course will change over time so don’t worry if its truly accurate. This is just to get a general shape of the face down on the page.

    The face shape will be one of the main things that determine how accurate your face matches your reference image.

    Once the outline of the face is drawn, you can then place some guiding lines to help with facial feature placement.

    Step 2. Draw the Eyes

    Next up is to draw the eyes and eye brows.

    If you get one tip from this post it would be to:

    Always try to draw the eye brows and eyes as accurate as possible and then base the rest of your face off of them

    Interested in perfecting your eyes drawing first? – click here for our detailed guide

    Step 3. Draw the Other Parts of the Head/Face

    Now in step three, if you’ve spend enough time on the outline of your face and an accurate drawing of your reference images eyes and eye brows, drawing the other features of the head should be a breeze.

    You can break down the other features of the face by using the size and location of the eyes.

    This is how you get the parts of the face proportionate.

    Step 4. (Optional) Add Some Shading to the Face

    This step is optional and can take a large amount of time, but if you’d like to add some shading to the face this will of course make your drawing of a face look more finished.

    Since this guide is mainly for beginners we wanted to focus on drawing an accurate face outline from a reference photo.

    We will soon have a post on how to shade a face in detail in the future.

    Tools You Will Need to Draw a Face

    I did these face drawings for this post in pencil on a Strathmore drawing pad and used these other below items:

    • Pencils (HB and 3B)
    • Pencil Sharpener
    • Erases (kneaded and regular)
    • Tortillon (also known as blending stump)
    • Reference image(s)*
    • Artists ruler (optional)

    How Do You Draw a Face from a Picture Step by Step?

    To draw a face from a picture step by step, you want to rely heavily on comparisons of facial features, in order to get a somewhat accurate representation in your drawing.

    In the step by step guide below, we should you how you can do just that.

    By comparing the eyes to the nose or eyes to the mouth you can achieve greater accuracy.

    You can take these comparisons by:

    • simply using your eyes to judge
    • using a clear ruler or other measure device

    I did them by eye in the below drawings, but I have broken down what questions to ask yourself when comparing these facial features and used guiding lines to better show these comparisons.

    Draw a face from the front view

    Where Do I Start Drawing my Face?

    After getting a basic oval shape drawn for the face, you should always start drawing your face with the eyes. By starting with the eyes, you can then base all the rest of the features of the face on the shape, size, and placement of the eyes.

    Step 1. Outline the face

    Here is my reference image for this drawing
    And here is my light outline

    In this step, you should just try to get the overall, general shape of the face, it doesn’t have to be 100% accurate since the shape will likely change when you begin to place your facial features.

    We recommend working lightly and using an HB or similar pencil for this step (since it will be easier to erase.

    Next, I made some general guiding lines for where to place the facial features.

    Below are the guiding lines I have placed on the face to help with where I will draw the eyes, nose, mouth, and ears.

    *Note: since the reference phone isn’t entirely straight forward, these lines will have to be adjusted slightly.

    Step 2. Draw the Eyebrows and Eyes

    Drawing the eyebrows and eyes, should take a good amount of time as well (since again we want these to be as accurate as possible).

    Here is where we want to closely analyze our reference photo.

    Some things to compare to get an accurate drawing or the eyes and brows:

    1. *Is one eyebrow longer or wider than the other? do they have different angles or shapes?
    2. *Does the top of the eye match the top of the eye on the other?
    3. *Are the eyes level?
    4. *Does the bottom of the eyes line up?
    5. How does the shape of each eye’s eye lid differ?

    *The asterisk marked numbers are shown in the picture below*

    Step 3. Draw the Other Parts of the Face (Nose, Mouth, Ears, Hair, Neck)

    After the eyes are done, you can then draw all the other features of the face based around their measurements.

    Some tips to get better accuracy and placement of the nose and mouth (based on the lines shown above*):

    • For the nose:
      • we can see that the nose starts on the left in line with the iris of the left ey
      • we can also see that the nose should end just before the tear duct of the right eye
    • For the mouth:
      • it starts at the far left of the iris of the left eye
      • it should end at the start of the iris of the right eye

    For more info on how to draw a nose – click here

    Step 4. Add Some Shading to the Face

    Finally, you should now have some basic lines and shapes of the facial features of the face in your reference image.

    I didn’t want to go too much into detail on shading on the front facing view, but we will go into some shading details and tips further down in this post.

    Draw a face from the side view

    Step 1. Outline the face

    Start with a loose outline of the face and draw in some guiding lines to help with the eye, nose, mouth, and ear placement.

    *again this outline will likely change as you progress so don’t worry about getting it exact

    Tips to keep in mind:

    compare the length vs the width of the face with your pencil or ruler in your reference image to get a general idea of the sizing dimensions

    Step 2. Draw the Eyebrows and Eyes

    With a general outline now created for the face and features, you can begin drawing in the eyes and brows with more detail:

    Step 3. Draw the Other Parts of the Face (Nose, Mouth, Ears, Hair, Neck)

    In the third step we will again be adding more detail to the other features of the face:

    • nose
    • mouth
    • ears
    • hair
    • neck

    Step 4. Add Some Shading to the Face

    Now the final step is to take your time and add in some shading and highlighting (this is my favorite step!).

    Here is my general process for shading and highlight:

    • Add overall tone to the face using a blending stump or your finger
    • Enhance darker spots with a 3b or darker pencil (such as those spots around nostrils, eyes, and mouth)
    • Build up shading with light pencil to add more details to areas that need a finer touch (again such as the facial features)
    • Using a kneaded eraser begin adding highlights by erasing small details away to add specific areas of highlights and can calso dab the kneaded eraser in large space to lighten up the graphite in that area

    Here are some pics on how I added highlights with my kneaded eraser:

    add small highlights to the nose
    lighting up larger sections

    While this may be a different way of shading than others, I feel it is a nice and easy way of shading that most people can follow along with and doesn’t involve too much drawing experience.

    Hopefully, you were able to follow along and pick up some small techniques to add to your portrait drawing process from the side or profile. Here is my somewhat finished profile face drawing:

    Draw a Face from ¾ View

    To draw a face from 3/4 view can definitely be challenging since it involved exposing a larger portion of one side of the face will limiting the other.

    Some things to focus on when drawing a face from a 3/4 view are:

    • Eyes: making sure that eyes match your reference image shape, size, and distance from the other
    • Nose: also be sure to draw the nose with one side of the nose more expose than the other
    • Mouth: the angle, size, and shape of the mouth will do a lot to represent that 3/4 view as a 3 dimensional figure on your paper

    Step 1. Outline the face

    Like our other portraits above, the first step involves just putting some graphite to the page and working to get a general shape of the face.

    Keep in mind the angles and where you center line of the face will go:

    Along with the shape of the face, I also draw the hair, neck, and some guiding lines for where the features will go.

    Step 2. Draw the Eyebrows and Eyes

    Drawing the eyebrows and eyes can be difficult in a 3/4 face drawing.

    Their spacing and alignment all help trick your eyes into thinking that this is actually a 3 dimensional face:

    Step 3. Draw the Other Parts of the Face (Nose, Mouth, Ears, Hair, Neck)

    Now we can work down the face using the brows and eyes to constantly check our proportions (since we worked so hard to get our eyes spaced out and drawn correctly).

    Step 4. Add Some Shading to the Face

    On this fourth and optional step, I only added a little bit of shading to my 3/4 face drawing.

    Sometimes less is more with shading and depending on how you want your drawing to turn out you can always leave it more bare as I chose to do with this one:

    How to Draw a Face Quickly 

    For how to draw a face quickly here are my top recommended tips:

    1. Work fast and loose in the beginning: don’t worry about details just get some graphite on the page and then begin to work on the details

    2. If there’s one thing you want to get perfect in a face drawing its the eyes: viewers of your art will automatically be drawn to the eyes. So if there’s one part of the face that you want to make sure is perfectly shaded and highlight with plenty of details – its the eyes

    3.Use a blending stump: using a blending stump or tortillon will drasticaly increase how fast you can properly shade a face. Instead of using more painstaking methods of shading, you can use a tortillon to build up a base layer of shading and then get to work on darkening or lightin up certain parts of your drawing

    4.Use a reference image: always use a reference image. If you’re not using an image in order to make profit or with plans to copyright it or your art, you can use almost any image for reference and inspiration (though we always do recommend giving credit to the model!)

    The steps involved in drawing a face can be simplified into the below and once you know these steps feel free to skip some or add you own as your practice and draw more faces:

    1. Start with a light circle or oval shape for the head.
    2. Draw a vertical line down the center of the face to help you place the facial features.
    3. Draw two horizontal lines to indicate the position of the eyes and eyebrows.
    4. Sketch the eyes, nose, and mouth. Remember to pay attention to the distance between the features, as well as the shape and size of each feature.
    5. Add details to the face, such as the ears, hair, and shading to create depth and dimension.

    As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases made on our website. If you make a purchase through links from this website, we may get a small share of the sale from Amazon and other similar affiliate programs. You can read our complete legal information for more details.