7 Tips On Drawing Faces Better And Faster!

Drawing faces correctly can be quite hard, even for experienced artists! So today, I’ll share with you 7 tips on how can you draw a face better and faster.

From specific practice on drawing features, such as the head shape and the nose, to using (and finding) great photo references, there are many tips here to help you improve on your art journey.

No matter if you’re using traditional media such as pencil, chalk, or markers, or using digital media, all of these tips still apply!

So let’s go over the best tips for drawing faces better!

Leave The Shading Of The Face For Later

simple cartoon drawing of the guidelines of a head, showing where to draw the eyebrows, eyes and chin
There’s a lot to learn before diving into shading the face!

While shading is a very important part of drawing in general, you should forget about shading when learning to draw something new.

The most important part about drawing faces is to get the basic shapes and facial features correctly drawn! Then, you can focus on shading later on.

So, forget about the light source and the shadows of the face for now. Focus on drawing the features and the basic shapes first!

Use Great Portrait Reference Photos

a good example of a portrait reference photo
A great example of a portrait reference photo, from my article on finding portrait references!

This is one of the most essential tips on how to draw faces I can give you: use GREAT portrait reference photos.

To do a great portrait drawing, you need a great portrait reference!

Don’t settle for just a bad quality photo that you found or with bad lighting just because it’s in the angle that you wanted. You need to clearly see every feature of the face to be able to draw portraits well!

Notice how the eye sockets are placed in the photo, draw the hair shape on top of the reference and even the construction lines!

If you’re unsure of where you can get these photo references, here’s a list of the best Portrait Reference Photos for Artists.

Master Drawing The Facial Features First

cartoon head drawing with the basic facial features such as eyes, nose, mouth and ears
Practice drawing EACH facial feature first!

Many artists want to draw male and female faces with LOTS of details right away. They want to go and do a complete portrait drawing without mastering the basics first, such as drawing eyes.

This is a big mistake.

Focus on how to draw each facial feature first, and then move on to putting them all together on a face drawing!

Master how to draw eyes, ears, mouths, hair, and noses, and then you can move on to drawing faces.

I have an entire section of my website dedicated to drawing anatomy, so check it out here.

This includes how to draw ears as well as drawing noses, for example.

Take A Course On Drawing Faces

Figure Drawing Course Thumbnail, which covers tips on how to draw the human body, including tips on how to draw faces
A course is super helpful for structured guidance on how to draw faces and the human body.

Drawing faces is an artistic skill like any other, and so there are great courses and classes to master it!

You can, of course, learn to draw different faces on your own. But with help from an instructor, you’ll improve much faster.

I have an entire free guide on how to draw faces here that you can watch.

And if you prefer a video format, you can also take my complete figure drawing course which covers the entire human body, including the face!

It has over 20 step-by-step videos just on drawing the head and it’s features (with assignments and downloadable resources).

Practice Your Value Drawing Skills

artist doing value drawing of portraits
Value drawing can be a hard skill to master, but super useful!

Value is an essential drawing skill for artists. It will help you create depth in your drawings and make them stand out!

Value refers to how dark and light each part of an area you’re drawing is. This is a very important element to incorporate when you draw a face, and it can be practiced by drawing value scales.

If you’d like to learn more about what exactly value drawing is, with several examples and different techniques, check out our article on Value Drawing.

With that said, this is a more advanced tip for drawing faces, so keep this one for later in your face-drawing journey!

Repeat Lines And Make Mistakes

cartoon character drawing saying do it, make mistakes
Do it! Make mistakes and have fun

Repeating lines is an essential part to learn how to draw anything! Your drawings won’t be perfect at the start, so you’ll need to practice drawing faces over and over again.

Go over your lines multiple times, erase features that didn’t turn out how you like them and redraw them again.

It takes time and mistakes to develop your artist skills. So don’t feel bad if you’re not drawing the entire face correctly right away. Practice makes perfect.

You can even have problems with specific face angles, it’s normal.

The 3/4 view face is especially hard, you can learn an easy step-by-step process here!

Use each mistake as an opportunity to learn and improve. You’ll get better at drawing each shape, and at art in general, by allowing yourself to make mistakes.

Experiment, Make Portrait Drawing Fun!

drawing of a cartoon character experimenting with different techniques, materials and styles
Experiment with all kinds of tools and techniques and have fun!

Drawing is a fun hobby that can be taken to a professional level. No matter your skill level, you should make all your practice fun!

Do you usually draw a face with a pencil? Then try just drawing with a pen or markers right from the start.

Experiment with new materials, try different techniques, use color in your studies, and try different drawing styles!

Try drawing different head shapes, different angles, hair, and noses, and just have fun with it!

You’ll learn to draw faces better and faster if you enjoy your practice. AND it will also help you figure out what you enjoy drawing the most on the face, in a stress-free way.

You might even prefer to draw faces from the side!

I hope the tips on drawing faces in this article have helped you!

If you want to take the next step and draw a complete face, I’ve written an entire guide on How To Draw Faces Step By Step here, so have fun!


Patricia Caldeira is the main writer here at Don Corgi. She's an art teacher with over 20.000 happy students across many platforms and courses!

Enjoy your stay and as always:
Keep on drawing!