About Drawing Faces

A graphite pencil drawing of one of my sons, from many years ago. I tend to draw mostly woman’s faces, and mother and baby images. I like the sepia tone that came in with the scan.

*To enlarge all of the images below, please tap on one of them.

As a child I frequently drew faces, mostly with pencil; mostly female. I don’t think there’s any deep psychological reason for it, though sometimes there are physical similarities of me in them, and sometimes a strong mood or emotion may be attached. Really – I just love drawing faces.

Here’s a quick sketch I did the other day when I had a sinus headache..and I think it shows!

A woman's face
I used pencil and watercolour in the Bamboo Paper” app.

In my teens I favoured drawing faces from magazines. I’ve also drawn portraits for people, usually from a photo, using a fine graphite pencil technique. They tend to be very realistic in style. I like the look of this type of drawing but don’t want to do it all the time – quite time consuming – can get a little boring.

Occasionally, in the past I have sold 20min pencil portraits at markets. People either sat for me, or gave me a photo. Usually they turned out well. I like the challenge of trying to get a likeness in that short time! With this quick type of drawing I tend to use lots of  loose lines – I quite like that effect.

Photo of my art
The two drawings on the right I did on my iPad, had them laser printed and the one on the bottom on the right; I matt laminated. The horse was a pencil drawing that I scanned in, with a little more pencil added to it in “Art Set Pro”; then emailed it to be laser printed it. These days I usually print my own art.

Drawing from observation is a often a key element in drawing, certainly in learning to draw. However, many of the faces I draw are taken straight from my imagination; I think poetic licence and experience prevail. Most of the time, I’m happy how they turn out.

There’s a book by Betty Edwards “Drawing on the right – side of the Brain”, which has lots of valuable information about drawing, and offers the good reasons why drawing from observation is so important, and how drawing is really a very learnable skill and much, much more… At her website you can see before and after instruction self-portraits, drawn within a five day period – very inspirational.

Why not grab a pencil and paper or an iPad pencil, and do some sketching of a face; perhaps have a look at: a photo, a magazine, in the mirror, or just fly with your imagination….and have fun!

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