Sketching the human face is something many beginners find difficult. Sketching a human face with a beard or other facial hair can add to the difficulty level. The best way to get accustomed to drawing human faces with a beard is to break the sketch down into two sections, beginning with the overall face and adding the beard after the initial face has been rendered. This two-part process makes it easier to sketch a face with a beard.
Things You'll Need
- Sketching pencils
- Sketch pad
- Reference photo
Choose a reference photo. It isn't necessary to work from a reference photo, but if you aren't confident in your ability to draw a face from memory, a reference photo can be helpful. If you decide to use a reference photo, you aren't stuck with having to draw the exact photo you use. It can be a guide, just to give you points of reference for the various elements of your sketch.
Sketch the outline of the face, using a soft pencil (7B). Pay attention to the overall shape. If the face is oval or round, be sure you capture that shape as it appears. Getting the shape right is important because it will dictate the way you place the rest of the elements in your image. The 7B pencil is soft, which will produce a darker line. To get the outline of the face you're sketching, apply a medium pressure and render the outline with as few lifts of the pencil away from the paper as possible.
Use the same 7B to place the eyes on your sketch. Draw the outline of the eyes first, paying attention to the shape in the same way you did for the facial outline. Darken the iris of the eye to simulate brown eyes. For other eye colors, apply less pressure to lighten the color of the iris. Add the nose to your sketch after you've finished the eyes. Don't worry about shading in details at this point. You'll be placing a beard here later, so details at the bottom of the face won't matter.
Color the face, using a 3H (harder tip). Keep your pencil tilted at an angle and work the lead across the paper from side to side, adding the flesh layer to the entire facial area. When you've finished shading, use your fingers to apply smudging. This will level out your shading and take away the pencil strokes. Pay special attention to how you smudge the chin area. Since there will be a beard here, be sure the lines are very light so the beard will easily cover the lower portion of your face.
Add shading and depth to your sketch with the 7B. Add some dark tones around the nose to make it stand out. Apply a few lines around the eyes for character. Smudge these lines and shadows with a cotton swab, so they blend into the flesh layer. You want them to stand out, but not so much that the lines appear to overpower the rest of the face. Smudging will help create a more natural effect.
Determine the type of beard you want to draw. Will it be curly or course? Use your 7B to sketch the beard lightly in place. Sharp, straight strokes work well for a straighter beard. If you want to add curls, use shorter strokes and curve them. The more strokes you add, the fuller the beard will look. The trick to getting a good beard is to continue drawing these strokes around the portion of the face you want the beard to cover, then going back over the beard strokes again and again, building the beard in layers. Use as many layers as are necessary to achieve the beard thickness you want. To replicate a slightly unkempt beard, draw a few lines over the actual outline of your beard.
- How to Shape a Beard
- How to Choose a Beard Style
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