Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Drawing Realistic Faces: A Few Tips

from my Art Journal (May 2017)

  1. Closing one eye flattens the world. To draw a three-dimensional image on a two-dimensional piece of paper, close one eye. (From: Parks, Carrie Stuart. Secrets to Drawing Realistic Faces (p. 39). F+W Media. )
  2. Here are a set of tools to help train your mind to recognize shapes. They are: 
  • Isolate: To see shapes by studying individual shapes separately. The first artistic technique is to isolate the shape. Look at the works of any artist, and you will find sketches of eyes, hands and parts of the face. These artists are isolating each of the different components of the whole of the art that they will be doing.
  • Simplify: A tool for learning to see shapes by seeking the simplest expression of that shape in the form of a straight or curving line.
  • Relate: A tool for learning to see shapes by using one shape to help see a second shape. 
  • Measure: A tool for seeing shapes by measuring a smaller shape and comparing it to a larger shape. 
  • Invert: Turn the line drawing you're trying to copy upside down. It is best to use a line drawing for this technique, not a photo.
  • Rename: A tool for seeing the shape in facial features by renaming that feature in terms of shape.
  • Incline: Use a ruler for checking subtle angles in the facial features by using a ruler.
  • Negative space: A viewfinder allows you to see a positive shape (solid space) clearer by focusing on the negative shape (empty space) next to it. Using a viewfinder can help you to isolate the figure so you can better see the negative space. Make your own by cutting a square out of a pice of paper.
  • Question: A tool for seeing angles and shapes more clearly by asking yourself exactly what it is you are seeing. This tool is so named because you ask questions: What is the line/edge doing? In what direction is it going?
  • Compare: A tool for seeing shapes more clearly by tracing that shape from the photograph, tracing your own drawing and comparing the two shapes as line drawings.
  • Flatten: A tool for seeing a three-dimensional shape more clearly by closing one eye to level the image into two dimensions.

(from Parks, Carrie Stuart. Secrets to Drawing Realistic Faces, pp. 44 - 58. F+W Media. )


  1. Mary Ann, I love your work. Recently, I bought some paint and stuff but have had little energy to get started. We had a long, long stretch of dark damp and cold weather....the sun makes all the difference in the world. Keep creating...

  2. I look forward to seeing what you make:)


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