ortraiture is perhaps one of the most important skills to learn and learning how to use color adequate within a portrait is an essential skill for an artist. There are many ways to explore how to draw a girl and, in this tutorial, we will look at how to draw a girl with the use of colored pencils and a ballpoint pen. Learning how to draw a girl also provides you with a unique opportunity to explore your color values, and how different colors create different effects on facial features. In this tutorial we will look at how to draw a girl step by step, breaking down the process into a digestible and understandable process. Creating a girl drawing will also give you more confidence when attempting to do other portraits or when you might want to incorporate a feminine figure into your artwork.
Table of Contents
- 1 An Easy Guide to Drawing a Girl with Colored Pencils
- 2 How to Draw a Girl Step-by-Step
- 3 Tips to Remember
- 4 Frequently Asked Questions
An Easy Guide to Drawing a Girl with Colored Pencils
We will learn how to draw a girl easily and simply, going through the process of refining a simple sketch into a more refined girl drawing. A girl’s drawing can seem intimidating because creating realistic features can be difficult to achieve.
However, we will find that a girl drawing can be quite doable once the process is broken up into a few simple steps. Working with color is also a great way to emphasize features as well as shadow formations on the face.
A girl drawing is a great opportunity to refine your shadow and light skills through the use of shading.
For this tutorial on how to draw a girl, we will be drawing a portrait using colored pencils, a ballpoint pen, and a marker. We will want to make sure that we have an HB pencil for the beginning stages of the tutorial where we work out the basic form and structure of the girl’s face. we will also want to make sure we have an eraser and a sharpener for any little mistakes we make along the way.
- HB pencil
- Ballpoint pen
- Marker pen
- Derwent coloring pencils
- Good paper (200 g/m – 250 g/m recommended)
How to Draw a Girl Step-by-Step
In this tutorial, we will start with a basic sketch of a female face. We will create a simple guideline drawing, where we spend some time sketching the face from a side view angle. From there, we will proceed by utilizing our colored pencils to enhance the different features of the face. We will spend some time experimenting with color combinations, and then we will move on to the last step.
Once we have added color to our girl drawing, we will then use our ballpoint pens to add more distinct linework to the girl drawing, where we give different features more contrast and vivid detail.
Step 1: Sketching the Girl’s Face
We can begin by taking our pencils and drawing a circle. That circle can then be divided into two by a horizontal line that will establish the eye level. From either side of that horizontal line, you can draw a generic jaw shape that forms underneath the circle shape.
From the bottom of the circle, we can draw three equally divided horizontal lines in the jaw shape.
Since we will be drawing the face from a subtle side angle, we want to make sure that there will be subtle distortions within the face. Starting with the eyes, we can continue to draw the eyes on the horizontal line in the circle. We want to make sure that the closest eye is slightly larger.
Now, we want to spend time tweaking and changing the sketch to suit a female structure. With the nose, we want to work out how high or low it should be placed. That being said, it should be positioned near the bottom of the circle.
You might find that you will draw, erase, and then redraw again until certain features are correct.
With the nose, we want to make sure that the nose is somewhat petite. This is a little trick that often helps to feminize the features within the face. We do this by keeping the ridge subtle and smooth with fairly small nostrils.
The eyebrows can either be very bushy and larger or they can be subtle and thin. It is entirely up to you in terms of how you would like them to appear. If you are following a reference image, try to match the eyebrows as closely as you can.
However, a good suggestion would be to keep them as symmetrical as possible.
Symmetry in all faces, whether it be men or women often give the face a more feminine quality. This is why both men and women can have androgynous features when their faces have symmetrical features.
When it comes to the lips, we want to make sure that there is a voluptuous quality to them. Having perched lips can also be a great strategy to feminize a face.
All these little tricks in combination will slowly establish a girl drawing in the end.
The upper lip should always fall perfectly beneath the bottom of the nose. The indentation between the nose and the upper lip should also be small and subtle, not being too long. We want to make sure that there is a sharp edge to the upper lip defined by the indentation below the nose.
With the bottom lip, we want to make it slightly larger than the upper lip for a correct representation of the lip structure. The bottom lip should always be slightly larger than the upper lip. If we create a small opening in the mouth, we can also draw teeth.
Preferably just draw the front two teeth.
The intention of this step is trial and error, you should struggle with each feature of the face. You want to think through how different features make sense with other features around them. We want to be patient as we try different shapes and forms for each feature.
Using an image from the internet to assist you in the drawing process can also be very helpful for navigating the placement of different features. Learning how to draw a girl from scratch can be tricky, so consider looking at some images of girl faces from various angles.
As you work on the features, try to work on all of them interchangeably. By doing this you slowly configure the entire face as a whole to make sense. Allow the guidelines to also assist you.
Make sure you spend time on features and try to hone in on the subtleties of their forms. This is especially true for the lips; we don’t want them to be massively different in size.
We want the bottom lip to be slightly larger.
With the eyes as well, we want to make sure that there isn’t a massive difference in size between the eye in the foreground and the background. We still want to keep them on the same horizontal plane so that they don’t seem obscure.
Go through all the features before we move on to using color.
Step 2: Coloring in the Girl’s Face
Now we get to the fun part, where we can explore color values and how they enhance the facial features. Starting around the eyes let’s work with a soft color to set a tone, this could be pink or yellow, but it is up to you.
We want to set a color tone, which means trying to work with three colors predominantly. A good warm color combination is pink, red, and orange.
Using these colors for features around the eyes can enhance the eyes themselves if we give the eyes a different color such as blue or green.
As we work with our color combination, we want to start considering the light and shadow on the face. We want to use the spectrum of dark to lighter colors for working shadows in and around the facial features. We also want to use the white page as a highlight for the lightest moments on the face.
Around the eyes and along the ridge of the nose, we want to use color and negative space to create both shadow and highlights.
This means that both the ridge of the nose and the bulge of the eyelids will be more exposed to the light and therefore should be the lightest.
Using pinks and oranges to set the undertone for facial features, which then can be shaded over with darker colors is a great way to create refined shadows on the face. Allow yourself to experiment with layering and blending colors to create both light and darker areas in the face.
Paying close attention to which parts of the face are indented and which parts protrude is a good guiding principle for which areas of the face should be light or dark.
When facial features protrude, they have more exposure to light which means they’ll be lighter.
Some areas of the face are very subtle with their indentations such as the little creases around the edges of the nose. Or along the inner ridges of the eyelids, try to spend time thinking through these little nuances in the face.
As we color the face, using colder colors such as blues and purples can be a great way to counterbalance the color composition within the face.
These colors can also be useful for creating shadows, such as the inner parts of the mouth.
Working with oranges is also a great way to bring subtle shaping to the surrounding features of the face. Again, using a warm light color such as orange is a good way to set an undertone color for the face.
Try to think about layering the colors for different areas of the face, for instance, we could layer oranges with reds to give the lips a more blood-filled quality.
We could also layer purples over oranges near the ridges of the eyes to create more depth in the brows.
Allow yourself to explore color values within the face. However, a good rule of thumb is to have colors layered from light to dark. This way you are less likely to make a mistake with a darker color. Another aspect of the face to consider is the eyebrows and eyelashes. A good suggestion would be to use a dark purple which then functions as a darker coloring for hairs.
The eyelashes can also be fairly long as this is another little hack for feminizing the face.
Step 3: Contextualizing the Head with Surrounding Features
We want to also draw surrounding features such as neck and hairline to give the head more context. Make sure you consider the angle at which the face is positioned when drawing the neck.
Also, make sure you don’t draw on top of the circle but into the circle as you draw the hairline.
Step 4: Adding Penwork for More Contrast
We now want to work on some penwork to give the drawing a little more refined lines and detailing. Starting with the eyes, we want to use our ballpoint pens strategically as we add in-line work and some shading to emphasize the features.
We want to work carefully with our pens to draw and shade. We want to make sure that we are using penwork to enhance the colored features and not overpower them.
Take time with the eyes first as they are the most delicate part of the face.
Pen lines work well for bringing out the contrast within the lashes and eyebrows. Using your ballpoint pens, work in fine lines that flow with the form of eyelashes and eyebrows. We want to be very cautious with how we use our penwork around features such as the nose and mouth.
The nose can be darkened slightly with pen shading in the areas it is most dark. With the mouth, we can work on shading along the inside of the mouth.
You want to take your time with how you use your penwork. It’s a matter of considering each feature one at a time, making sure you add in shading very carefully. Pens work the same as pencils, so be considerate of how much pressure you use when shading.
We can also use our pens to add in any more features as we go along. Thinking about the hairline, accentuating the jaw, and hairs flowing, are all secondary details that can be added or enhanced with pen lines.
With the hairline, you want to make sure that you draw into the circle guideline. You want the hairline to flow along the upper forehead, and not directly on top of the head. Using your marker, a good suggestion is to sparingly make strokes that flow in a single direction. Using your marker to add in scattered strokes that flow in a particular direction, is a great way to give the hair volume without having to shade.
Try working with a purple pencil, ballpoint pen, and a marker to create different strokes for the hair, giving it dimension and texture.
Step 5: Tweaking and Refining the Drawing
At this point, we should have a fairly refined drawing of a girl but we now want to work with all our tools to add in little bits here and there. We want to think about adding in darker marks to give more form to the various facial features. We want to think about which shadows are darkest and which areas of the face are lightest.
We can also use our ballpoint pens to add shading over the different colored areas to darken them if need be.
Make sure you allow yourself the freedom to explore how you can use all your tools to shape, refine and enhance the different facial features. Other than that, the rest is up to you and your creativity. And that is how you draw a girl in color!
Tips to Remember
- Be sure to work out the facial form in pencil. You want to get the facial structure drawn correctly before moving on to adding in color.
- Take your time. Make sure you consider which colors pair well with the different features of the face.
- Experiment with different color values. Different colors can create different vibes within the drawing, so play around with different color combinations.
- Use a reference for guidance. We do not use a reference image in this tutorial, but you may look at images of faces to assist you in the drawing process.
- Consider light and shadow. Think about the protrusions and bulging of different features on the face that will cause shadows and be more exposed to the light source.
- Have fun! Enjoy the process of learning a new skill of how to draw a girl with colored pencils.
Is learning how to draw a girl easy? The process is easy and simple if one has patience. Being patient with the process is important because without a good pencil sketch, we cannot utilize the colored pencils correctly. Drawing proportions correctly is important for working out how the colors can be placed correctly to enhance different features of the face. The most important part is to make sure you have an adequately drawn face, from there, you can play around with your color choices.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do You Draw the Proportions of the Face Correctly?
The face is broken up into a few segments that can be drawn with a diagram. The diagram is as follows. You start by making a circle, then dividing the circle into two even parts with a horizontal line. That horizontal line establishes the eye level and the bottom of the circle establishes where the bottom of the nose will be. From either side of the horizontal line, you will draw a triangular shape that flows down and around the circle, which will be divided into three segments with four lines. The middle row of the segments will be for the mouth and then the last segment will establish the bottom of the chin. This is a basic facial structure guide but it can also be changed according to how small or large someone might want certain features to be.
What Colors Do You Use for Facial Features?
A portrait is always a great subject for exploring color combinations because the face often has a complex array of color values within it. When exploring how to use the correct color combinations, you should always consider what kind of effect you want. If you want to create a warm sensation, you will want to have warmer colors, such as reds, yellows, greens, and oranges. If you would like to keep the drawing more cold or brooding, a good color combination would be colder colors such as blues and purples. However, you can explore giving different features of the face warmer or colder qualities by color choice. You can also blend colors to create more variety within the gradients on the face. It’s a matter of exploration and intention, but thinking about cooler or warmer color choices is a great way to make decisions.
Matthew Matthysen is a multidisciplinary artist. He completed his fine art degree, majoring in History of Art and Contemporary Drawing Practice at the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa. The emphasis of Matthew’s practice was a research-based approach into the philosophical effects on the human experience of the macro and micro-universe. Through various mediums, such as written and practical components, Matthew explores various ideas located within the conjoined space between science and philosophy.
Matthew has had various exhibitions before and throughout his year of studies and continues to do so. He currently works as an artist/ writer in various contexts. He has commissioned and sold various works to galleries and collectors. He currently sells work to an online gallery (Artgazette) and continues to make work for the public and private sector. Matthew continues to function as an artist, allowing his work and skills to be utilized in various areas of interest.
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