How to Draw Common African & African-American Features

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How to Draw Common African & African-American Features....5

When drawing people of different ethnic backgrounds, artists often resort to stereotypes to create a notable distinction. Draw common African and African-American features with tips from a professional illustrator and graphic artist in this free drawing and illustration video.

Part of the Video Series: Drawing Lessons
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Video Transcript

Hi. I'm jay French from and I'm going to show you how to draw an African and African American features. The biggest place to start, of course let's get our head in here. There's a tendency for stronger jaws in most features of African descent. That's a good place to start. So your basic egg shape for your head will be a little less tapered on the bottom half. Let's get our basic diagram of the face down. And then we'll start talking about how it's different. O.k., the placement of the eyes. Usually it's half way in between the middle the vertical center point and the outer edge of the head, where you have your center of your eyes. But in African features they're actually a little further apart. They have a tendency to have something of a cat like shape. This is mostly caused by the strong triangular cheek bones that come this way. They come up so strongly across the edge of the eye that they tend to make that cat like feature, that cat like shape to the eye. This is not always the case, this is just often the case. Of course Africans usually have a tendency to have dark eyes, although this is not fool proof, I've discovered through trial and error. Note the heavy lids also. And there is a tendency for heavy lower lids as well. And you may want to take that opportunity to account for those strong triangular angled cheek bones. Noses are broader in African features generally speaking. Although the bridge of the nose tends to be less prominent. So you may not even fully shadow the bridge of the nose. Noses are broad but not prominent. So in profile the nose won't stick out very far, generally speaking. But on a straight on angle, they get a lot more breadth, a lot more width. There's a roundness generally seen in African features. You'll want to get fairly prominent brows. Although you'll see a lot more prominent as far as dark and thick eyebrows on African features, whereas African American they tend to have thinner, less prominent eyebrows. There's usually a lot of shape to the mouth. And one of the important things, that is often missed, it is thought of that the lips are thick but you don't want to make them just like regular Caucasian lips where it just looks like someone's puckering. One of the strongest features to capture is that the lips begin to raise very immediately at the corners. Another words in a mouth you might draw of a Caucasian, you would have much more of a taper toward the corners, as it raises in the center, that you want to get almost a squareness to the corners on African features. Although the lower lip is thick, it can be almost any shape. Where this face went, we need to get it a little lower. They usually have strong prominent chins and jaw lines. And there's your basic lesson in how to draw African features.


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