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face tutorial by kreugan face tutorial by 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 havenít 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]
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thefamilybusiness Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2016   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 Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2015
This is great thank you so much !!!! Would you mind me asking what program you use :)
R3dFangz Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2015  Hobbyist 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 Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks Cap'tain it is a great tuto^^
Natterbugg Featured By Owner May 14, 2015  Student Digital Artist
You are a motherfucking genius and I will never be able to thank you enough for this!!
magical-cookie15 Featured By Owner Dec 20, 2014  Hobbyist 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 Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
Very helpfull, thank you!
ImAHungryNacho Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is helping me a whole lot! Thank you for putting this tutorial up! :)

Whoo! :clap:
coastskull Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Really helpful! Thanks for the tutorial!
ScarlettVampy Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
thanks for your talent and dedication, this is really useful
Meeweeda Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2014  Student General Artist
A very informative guide, thank you!
thrasherADF Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
This is an awesome tutorial! Thank you
Toxic-Innocence Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2014
Whoa, dude, this is really awesome.
horizan Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014  Student General Artist
this is sooo helpful thank you!!!!!!!:happybounce: 
honeypancake Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
O.O genius...Clap 
VaultedSkies Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2013  Hobbyist 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 Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2013
This is really helpful! Thank you!
zealthebat Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Thankyou! This has helped me!!!:D
rose-pearls Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Bless this post. That's all I have to say.
madisonclaref0114 Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Oooooooooo Chris pine :D in other words jack frost in other words....hello there
honeypancake Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
oh, i love him voicing Jack.. both are amazingly handsome XD
572art Featured By Owner May 19, 2013
peanutbutterangel Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013  Hobbyist 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 Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
this will really help!
Alex-S78 Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2012
Great tutorial man!
kitiaramajere Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2012
IVbenjamin Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I've been searching for this! I found it around before but forgot to fave it :P
CreaNyu Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2012  Hobbyist
Thanks for the guide! :D
harini88lakshmi Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2012
thanks dear..its highly informative..although i have just started holding pencil to draw!!!
AshtonRoxander Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
Awesome Tutorial! Do you think you could do one on video?
Infosphere Featured By Owner May 6, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Great tutorial!
Syunistan Featured By Owner May 4, 2012  Student Artist
hmm this has given me a new way to look at drawing. Thank you so much for the tutorial.
VelkynKarma Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You know, I've always had a lot of trouble with noses, but this geometric way of setting it up makes a lot of sense. I think this'll help in the future, so thanks for that :D

ScatteredAshe Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Awesome! Thanks for sharing! =D
krisramie Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks for sharing your know how! :meow:
Cnids Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
How to draw realistic faces:

1. find photo
2. trace photo
3. ????
4. Profit!
kreugan Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2012
lmao did you read any of it?? The tracings in the tutorial are to highlight the different shapes and relationships on the face that you should look for and study.
Vimes-DA Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2012
Nice and clearly explained. Are there any other tips you'd add? Like any other units of measurement you find particularly helpful, or tips on capturing unique shapes, I supposed the bad reference is one way like you said. I often try and measure things quite precisely though but the likeness is normally off, maybe I should focus on the bigger overall relationships instead of measuring in small units like eyewidths.
startraveller776 Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Fantastic tutorial. Thank you!
pkdjango Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2012  Hobbyist
This is really helpful. Thanks for sharring.
AspicioAstrum Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2012
Wow this is awesome! So helpful, cheers.
Tinavy Featured By Owner Feb 29, 2012
This is a very helpful tutorial. I'm currently practice painting portraits from photo reference and I always manage to botch the likeness. =(
XxKraitxX Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2012
Pretty neat!
SophiaJones Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
this is magic. i love how you mentioned tom hiddleston, i chuckled :D
Mango33 Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2011  Hobbyist
This is gonna help me not fail drawing class next semester! Thanks :D
lexkira Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2011
very nice...^^
ErictheHalibut Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2011
Lanteyah Featured By Owner Oct 22, 2011
Duzitmatter06 Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2011
extremely helpful! thanks :hug:
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Submitted on
October 18, 2011
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