Photo of Gary Faigin

Drawing Facial Features

with Gary Faigin
Drawing Facial Features
Capture the features of the human face with riveting realism! Master the technical and structural elements behind a perfectly-drawn portrait.

Create a compelling portrait that captures the likeness of your subject and shows the range and depth of human emotion! With Faigin's guidance, you’ll discover the fundamental forms of the skull and how to use basic ratios to accurately depict distinct facial patterns. Sketch a compositional study of the underlying structure of the face, and use gradual tonal changes to define the ridges and planes of your rendering. Learn to draw emotionally animated eyes and an authentic smile, and transform your portrait from flat to fully dimensional with highlights and shadows.

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Lesson plan


Lesson 1. Drawing a Likeness

  • Meet Faigin and learn about recognizing facial patterns and deciphering the skull.


Lesson 2. The Upper Half of the Skull

  • Draw anatomically correct skulls, including the brow ridges and eye sockets.


Lesson 3. The Lower Half of the Skull

  • Draw anatomically correct noses, cheekbones, jaws and chins.


Lesson 4. Age, Gender & Ancestry

  • Learn how gender, age and ancestry typically influence facial features.


Lesson 5. Eye Structure

  • Build realistic, expressive eyes from the socket outward.


Lesson 6. Drawing the Eye from Life

  • Draw the eyes of your live model from multiple angles.


Lesson 7. Drawing the Nose

  • Get the placement, proportion and planes of the nose right.


Lesson 8. Drawing the Mouth

  • Put a smile—or relaxed lips—on your portrait subject.

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