Creativity tutorials

Illustration Tutorial: How to Draw Facial Details

Learn these techniques to add detail and realism to your illustrated portraits with José Rosero

Realistic portraiture is returned to time and again throughout art history. It may be intimidating at first but you can learn how to do it, little by little, starting with some basic concepts that will allow your drawings to become progressively more complex.

José Rosero (@rosero), visual artist and teacher, is an expert in portraiture with techniques ranging from pencil to quill to Indian ink. He knows better than most how to draw all the accents of a face. In the following video tutorial, he reviews some of the most common facial features, so you can learn how to draw them from scratch:


When starting to draw a face, it is important to start with simple guide lines: a cross shape that includes the nose and eyebrows. Then you can start drawing the wrinkles onto this basic shape.

The wrinkles are formed perpendicular to the muscles: that is why the wrinkles on the forehead and eyes are more horizontal. Once you start to think of them as basic lines, it is important that you understand the shading technique: it is a matter of gently darkening the lower part of the lines, and introducing an even softer grey above, to generate contrast.

It is also important that you understand that each face has its own particular wrinkles, so they are not exactly the same shapes for all the portraits you draw. You will have to examine the model well, either live or through a photo, to do justice to the specific wrinkles on their face.


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