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face tutorial
By kreugan   |   Watch
2K 63 49K (1 Today)
Published: October 19, 2011
© 2011 - 2019 kreugan
I get requests for tutorials on how to translate real people into more stylized but recognizable versions fairly often, so here is a very wordy/slapped together tutorial for how I study faces! Specifically for how I go about breaking up the face into simple shapes and ratios that are easy to carry over into different styles.

I used Chris Pine because I haven’t drawn him before, and I figured it would make the process more genuine.

EDIT: So this has been up for ages and I didn't think it needed to be said, but apparently some people are confused. This isn't saying "just trace a photo"! The tracings here are meant to show how I break the face up into different shapes. Knowing how to see the face as shapes makes it a lot more accessible and easier to portray in different styles. If you simply trace a photo instead of learning how to draw it on your own, you'll have a very hard time injecting your style and energy into it, and the end result will probably be very stiff and lack expression.

Here's a few other examples of how learning to identify shapes and relationships can help you translate faces into different styles, ranging from semi-realistic to way more stylized. And don't be afraid to stress the unique qualities and variety in individual faces!

The Hobbit dwarves: [link]
Charles and Erik from X-Men First Class as X-Men Evo cartoon characters: [link]
Some Thor studies eyeballed from references: [link]
Supernatural sketches done while watching an episode: [link]
Image size
900x1210px 741.96 KB
Adobe Photoshop CS2 Windows
anonymous's avatar
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thefamilybusiness's avatar
thefamilybusiness Digital Artist
This is a great tutorial! Tracing the basic shapes over a photo is a HUGE help when you're starting out, and it's always been useful to me and helped me visualize things that I may not have otherwise noticed. And that last example is perfect to show how important proportions are. 
Thanks for taking the time to make this. :heart:
QueenUzuri's avatar
This is great thank you so much !!!! Would you mind me asking what program you use :)
R3dFangz's avatar
R3dFangzHobbyist Digital Artist
Hmm, very interesting. I'll try taking a bunch of photos/references of a guy I intend to draw and I'll highlight his most notable features like you did there. That should make me understand realistic features better. Thanks a lot!
W-Rabbitt's avatar
W-RabbittHobbyist General Artist
Thanks Cap'tain it is a great tuto^^
Natterbugg's avatar
NatterbuggStudent Digital Artist
You are a motherfucking genius and I will never be able to thank you enough for this!!
magical-cookie15's avatar
magical-cookie15Hobbyist General Artist
This tutorial helps so much, wow. After I first read this, literally the next few portraits I drew came out resembling who they needed to resemble. \o/
Thanks for this! :D
CarolinaAbrantes's avatar
CarolinaAbrantesStudent Traditional Artist
Very helpfull, thank you!
ImAHungryNacho's avatar
ImAHungryNachoHobbyist Digital Artist
This is helping me a whole lot! Thank you for putting this tutorial up! :)

Whoo! :clap:
coastskull's avatar
coastskullHobbyist General Artist
Really helpful! Thanks for the tutorial!
ScarlettVampy's avatar
ScarlettVampyHobbyist General Artist
thanks for your talent and dedication, this is really useful
Meeweeda's avatar
MeeweedaStudent General Artist
A very informative guide, thank you!
thrasherADF's avatar
thrasherADFHobbyist General Artist
This is an awesome tutorial! Thank you
Toxic-Innocence's avatar
Whoa, dude, this is really awesome.
horizan's avatar
horizanStudent General Artist
this is sooo helpful thank you!!!!!!!:happybounce: 
honeypancake's avatar
honeypancakeHobbyist Traditional Artist
O.O genius...Clap 
VaultedSkies's avatar
VaultedSkiesHobbyist General Artist
This is quite a fantastic way to get familiar with facial features. Wow say that three times fast.
I'm definitely going to have to try this out. I've always just eyeballed it, and a lot of times it produces disastrous results.
Thanks for the tut!
FictionAddict's avatar
This is really helpful! Thank you!
zealthebat's avatar
zealthebatStudent Digital Artist
Thankyou! This has helped me!!!:D
rose-pearls's avatar
rose-pearlsHobbyist General Artist
Bless this post. That's all I have to say.
madisonclaref0114's avatar
madisonclaref0114Hobbyist General Artist
Oooooooooo Chris pine :D in other words jack frost in other words....hello there
honeypancake's avatar
honeypancakeHobbyist Traditional Artist
oh, i love him voicing Jack.. both are amazingly handsome XD
peanutbutterangel's avatar
peanutbutterangelHobbyist Traditional Artist
Yeah, when I try to draw someone, but in a more cartoony style, I like to look at other people's drawings of that person, to see what features stood out to them, and which pieces worked, which didn't, and why.
Amicus-Nocte's avatar
Amicus-NocteHobbyist Artist
this will really help!
anonymous's avatar
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