How to Draw Nelson Mandela's Face

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Things You'll Need

  • Paper

  • Pencil

  • Eraser

  • Photograph of Nelson Mandela for reference

Draw Nelson Mandela's Face

Nelson Mandela has a rich history of fighting for human rights and dealing severely with the consequences of those actions. His face has been a part of history for decades. Naturally, an illustrator wishing to draw the face of a man who is an integral part of modern history should jump at the chance to draw Nelson Mandela. Drawing the face of someone as famous as Nelson Mandela depends on getting the shapes and details absolutely correct. Use basic shapes to ensure that you achieve the correct proportions, then layer the details upon the frame.


Step 1

Draw the guideline for the face with a large oval in the center of the page. Add a vertical line coming down the from top of the head to the chin. Add a horizontal line running across the middle of the face. Add a small horizontal line below the center one. Add another small horizontal line under the nose for the mouth guideline. Draw two diagonal lines, the left one coming off the bottom left side of the face and pointing toward the bottom left corner. Draw the other diagonal line starting at the bottom right side of the face and going to the bottom right corner.


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Step 2

Draw a large triangle on the nose guideline. Round off the corners slightly. Add eyes with two small football-shaped ovals on the horizontal guideline. Add two sideways "L" shaped lines above the eyes. Add the hair with a large downwards facing "C" shape around the top of the head. Add the ears with two small curved lines on the side of the head.


Step 3

Thicken the eyebrows by adding 2 parallel lines around the eyebrow. Add the pupils to the inside of the eyes with small circles. Add a small curved line just below and to the right of the left eyebrow. Do the same for the right eyebrow. Add two curved lines for wrinkles to the left and right sides of the mouth. These lines should resemble wide sideways "V" shapes. Add a flat, wide "M" shape to the top of the mouth line for the upper lip. Add a small curved line under the lip guideline for the bottom lip.


Step 4

Draw the suit with two diagonal line that are coming off the bottom right and left side of the chin. Add two diagonal triangles under the neck for the collar. Add wrinkles under the eyes with two curved lines starting below the inside edge of the eye. Add wrinkles to the forehead with sideways "L" shapes. Place these above the eyebrows on both sides of the face. Add 2 diagonal lines coming up from the chin. These lines should be parallel to the curve of the face.



Step 5

Erase all of the guidelines. Rework any lines that were damaged when you erased the guidelines. Add very small wrinkles around the eyes with thin curved lines.


Step 6

Add shadow with crosshatching. Do this by drawing one set of diagonal lines close together and add another layer of diagonal lines in the opposite direction. Add the crosshatching for shading just above the ears, under the inside corners of the eyebrows, the sides of the nose and under the chin.


Keep a photograph of the subject handy so that you can make sure that you are getting all the details correct.


Watch where you a resting your hands, as placing your hand on the paper can smudge the drawing.



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