Noupe Editorial Team August 21st, 2020

Cues to Master Drawings of People

eye drawing with tears

For artists who are just beginning to draw people portraits, it may seem quite intimidating.

In principle, the time you spend on drawings of people is directly parallel to the degree of life-likeness of your creation. As you devote more hours to a drawing you can naturally dive deeper into details and use your brush or pencil in a more cautious manner.

eye drawing

Just like anything that needs some experience, mastering drawings of people takes time and only gets better when you practice enough in the long run. Refining your craft is not limited to the amount of practice only, there are some tips and tricks that will help you get there faster.  

Don’t forget that there are countless different ways to draw people, so it is important to develop your own by combining these best practices.

Study face proportions carefully

Face proportions can make or break your drawing. This fundamentally important factor is quite hard to achieve. However, it is the structure of your drawing so you have to get it right.

A face that is oddly proportioned will look wrong and disturb anyone who looks at it. That is why you have to pay close attention to the distance between eyes, ears, nose, and mouth and their general ratio on the face in order to please the eyes.

facial proportions

Understanding the bone structure 

Scaling the ratio of facial bones, the length of the chin, forehead, and the width of the face, cheekbone alignment is also difficult to get it straight. When you are drawing a face from scratch, careful examination of the relationship between key facial features will lead to more realistic drawings.

drawings of different kinds of noses
by Giovanni Civardi

Focusing on one feature at a time will help you read the facial anatomy more carefully. After you dig out which details to look for you will intuitively know how to capture these lines in your drawing.

Use shadows for maximum impact

Getting the face proportions and bone structure right is important. However, it is not enough to make your artwork look three-dimensional and realistic. That’s when the shadows come into the light. Talk about a bad pun! Joking aside, shadows and shades will save your drawing from looking just flat. 

First, you need to understand how lighting works in order to reach the ultimate level of mastering drawings of people. Creating the illusion of flow by skillfully acquiring basic lighting and shading techniques will help you discern the primary characteristics of the natural human form.

The bigger, the better

When you look at realistic drawings of people, you will realize that usually using paper or a canvas of a bigger dimension results in hyper-realistic artworks.


You can fit a head both into a letter-sized paper or an A1 paper. However, the amount of details that you can include while drawing on a smaller canvas is limited.

drawings of eyes
by Nadia Coolrista

On a smaller paper, you cannot draw skin pores, or let’s say 150 eyebrow hair in a way that turns your creation into a realistically rendered one. This doesn’t mean that a smaller drawing is not a success however it certainly limits your capacity and talent.

Now it’s time to take a look at some successful examples of drawings of people to better understand which areas to focus on:

eye drawing
by Carrie Stuart Parks
girl drawing
by Dreamer Addict
by Ani Cinski
girl drawing 2
by Remibeer
lip drawings
by Dreamer Addict
old man portrait
by John Norman Stewart
a portrait drawing of a girl
by AaronGriffinArt
eye drawings
by Gabriel Vinicius

Knowing the human body and face is the key to master drawings of people. Remember the first sketch of your drawing will always be the hardest but practice will gradually improve your skills.

Applying manageable techniques while maintaining your own style will help you refine your drawings in no time. Just don’t forget, practice makes it perfect!

Pro Tip: What's a better way to motivate yourself to develop your skills other than sharing your work with the world? Check out these best artist website builders, where you can start from scratch easily even if you are the most technophobic!

Noupe Editorial Team

The jungle is alive: Be it a collaboration between two or more authors or an article by an author not contributing regularly. In these cases you find the Noupe Editorial Team as the ones who made it. Guest authors get their own little bio boxes below the article, so watch out for these.


  1. im a artist and i love what I do, these drawings are amazing.I showed my friend this website to help her with her drawing and she loved it, she’s thriving and I’m proud to call her my student!!!

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