I haven’t posted any tutorial in a while and I wanted a break from work, so here’s a short sketching tutorial for everyone who loves to sketch.
This is the end-result of our sketching exercise:
Most of us, women artists included, like to sketch beautiful faces. (I think it’s a cultural thing.) So I decided on using the profile of a beautiful woman as the topic for this tutorial. In this tutorial we won’t be drawing a portrait, just a beautiful female face – so don’t kill yourself trying to establish likeness. Just find a pencil and get going.
The first step, as shown above, is to get your tools together. In the above image you can see what happens when an artist gets lazy. Instead of pulling out her camera and shooting a couple of pictures, she just roughs in a couple of pencils, an eraser, and the reference pictures. Once you’ve got your stuff together, start sketching.
Start with a rough outline of the face you want to draw. Remember that we aren’t going to do a portrait here, so don’t worry about getting the likeness right. Instead focus on making the face pretty. So if the lady in your reference picture’s got a really long nose, chop it down to size (with your pencil – if your thoughts turned to gory means, you aren’t meant to be an artist, really!) At this stage, keep your lines loose – you may want to tweak them later.
If you’ve read my book “Evolution of a Caricaturist – How to Draw Caricatures,” you know that I am always drawn to drawing the eyes first. I recommend you do the same, but of course, if you choose to start differently, be my guest. There’s a reason behind my recommendation though. Eyes breathe life into any picture. When you’ve done the eyes, the lady in the drawing will come alive, and you, the artist, will begin to feel responsible for the drawing. Think about it.
Darken the profile and the lips to complete the profile. At this stage, it’s a good idea to check whether the features are of the right size and placed in the right position.
Rough in the hair by drawing the locks. When you draw hair, it’s a good idea to draw the locks first because they determine the hair-style. Notice that I wanted to space the locks out so I darkened the space between the locks that lie on the top.
Work a little more on the hair so that the direction in which the locks flow can be seen more clearly. At this point, I also remembered the existence of the ear, and shaded it a bit. Artists have a tendency to ignore the ear because it’s…well, a complicated organ to draw. However, the good news is because people seldom look at each other’s ears, and they don’t really impact likeness – so if you work hard and understand the structure of ear once – you’ve got it bagged (eeks!)
Next add some shades to the face. Notice the cheek that now looks more rounded. Also note that I’ve used two darkness levels while shading the cheek – this allows for a slight gradient, bringing roundness to the face.
Return to the hair. If you are wondering why I am making you hop, skip, and jump all over the drawing – it is because that’s how almost all artists (excluding the hyper-realists work.) We go on adding lines and textures intuitively. At this point, I felt an intuitive need to make the hair bulkier, so I filled it in some more. Notice that the individual strands are now more defined than before.
Some more work on the hair. Notice that I suddenly realized that when the hair is pulled up in a pony-tail – between the bangs and the pony-tail, the hair must appear to be darker because of the shadows – so more sketching…
Add more definition to the hair. Nothing special going on here, except that the front locks now look like they are made of individual hair-strands. Also note the addition of tiny wisps of hair that have escaped the confines of the lock. They make the hair look more natural.
When a persona stands against a background, the background usually contrasts with the face – this provides form to the face and makes it look more three-dimensional. This is why I darkened the area right behind the front profile. I left the white-space behind the pony-tail as-is, because the dark-hair automatically contrasts with the white-space.
The human neck is more or less cylindrical. So far, the neck has remained un-shaded and flat. Shade the neck by using lines that are parallel to the jawline in this case. The idea is to create a cylindrical shape through the shades.
Now return to the eye and the lips to darken them. Notice the slight shade near the nostrils – it makes the cheeks look more rounded and puts accent on the smile. For accentuating the smile, I’ve also upturned the corner of the lips a little. Add some shadow under the locks. The shadow makes the lock look more realistic.
Finally, if you like color – add a little color to the cheeks, the lips, the neck, and the hair. If you have Photoshop scan your drawing into your computer, set the layer to “multiply” and give a color-wash in the layer underneath. If you prefer to stay traditional, bring out your box of water-color pencils and add some color to it. This step is, of course, optional 🙂 If you were aiming at a black and white sketch, your job was done at Step 13!
Sign your work and pin it up on your soft board. Better still, photograph/scan/export it and share it with your friends 🙂