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The Creative Issue – News for Creatives | June 20, 2021

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Let's face it...

Let’s face it…
Matilda Butler

How many times have you sat down and in a moment of pure inspiration thought, “I’m going to draw a face.”? In your mind you begin to imagine all of its features from the eyes to the nose to the mouth. A thing of symmetrical perfection is what you intend to create. Then your hand picks up the pen and you pause. “How long ago did I pick up a pen and use it in a precise fashion for an extended period of time?”. Good question. You carry on. The pen hits the paper and the face takes form. It’s a thing of horror. A sloping, strange and mythical creature stares back at you. You have created a monster.

So you put pen in the draw and slam it closed, but lets face it, you never really closed the door on drawing a face. Today, we’re going to look at some examples I found of some really, really terrible sketches. I’d like to thank policemen and policewomen around the world for their fabulous contribution to the education of the masses on how not to draw a face. Thank you for providing! *Warning: these are sketches of criminals, if you somehow manage to identify any of them, on the off chance, please do not be alarmed.

A sketch of an egg-shaped head.

The egg-head.

 1. Drawing the head.

Now let’s not be too critical. As you can see by the number of lines shaping the face, our illustrator really intended for this guy to take on an oval/pointy shape. It may have proved effective, given that you don’t see too many heads quite as narrow as this one. One tip you really can take from this, is the hair line. To get away from drawing like a pre-schooler (no offence if you are one), try drawing an oval shape and mark on the oval where the hair line begins. This way your work-of-art won’t look like it’s got brussels sprouts for hair.

A sketch of a Bolivian murder suspect.

A murder suspect. Thank you police of Bolivia.

2. Keeping it real.

Now this one looks familiar! Not because I know who it is… I couldn’t even guess, but because I know this is how most people draw a face. The Bolivian law-enforcer who sketched this baby, may lack technical skill, but at least he’s got an eye for detail. See those grid lines? If accuracy is what you’re after, you can try this method. Draw your face to fit symmetrically on the grid and aim to space all the features out evenly. The only problem with this method is that you can sometimes be too precise. No face is perfectly spaced out or even. We all have imperfections! I recommend avoiding sharp, cruel lines on a face like the one above. This guy looks like some kind of horror puppet. Mark softly with a pencil where each feature will go and move onto more detail slowly.


Woman disguised as a man.

Woman disguised as a man.

3. An unorthodox approach to anime sketching.

The old “I tried to draw a man and it looks like a woman” accident. Happens all the time. I’ll let you be the judge of whether this sketch above is a woman disguised as a man, a man or a woman with facial hair. I’m not so sure myself. What did come to mind however, is the idea of anime sketching. I know it’s big out there and it has a distinct look. If you’ve ever watched anime before, you’d have noticed the character all have delicate, narrow and mostly slim features. The guys tend to have crazy hair (as above) and can sometimes look sort of feminine. So if you’re a fan of anime and want to give it a shot, try this “woman disguised as man” approach.

So, there you have it for this week! I’ve got a few more tips up my sleeve and a few more fantastic examples of what not to do. I hope we’ve all learnt something. I also hope we’ve become more familiar with some of the faces causing a bit of havoc in our society.