Design a Female Character: Sketching Portraits with Pencils | Gabrielle Brickey | Skillshare

Design a Female Character: Sketching Portraits with Pencils

Gabrielle Brickey, Portrait Artist -

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15 Lessons (59m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Class Project

    • 3. Materials

    • 4. Line Quality

    • 5. Proportions

    • 6. Drawing Eyes

    • 7. Drawing Noses

    • 8. Drawing Lips

    • 9. Subtle Expressions

    • 10. Drawing the Head

    • 11. Drawing Hair

    • 12. Adding Accessories

    • 13. Video Demonstration

    • 14. Photographing and Scanning Your Work

    • 15. Tips and Closing Thoughts

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About This Class


Have you ever been interested in drawing stylized female characters, but didn’t know where to start? If so, then this is the class for you!

In this course we’ll dive into the process of sketching cute female characters with pencils. We’ll walk through materials and pencil techniques, then break down sketching the face, feature by feature, in easy to follow steps. In this class, even beginners will find that they can draw female characters with ease!

This course is full of worksheets, guides, tutorials, tips, and references to help prepare you for drawing female characters — with loads of video demonstrations to help you solidify the information, while watching it in action! 

By the end of this class, you will know how to draw a variety of female eyes, noses, mouths, and hair styles that you can then work in to endless combinations. 

Ready to start creating? Join today!


Looking for more inspiration? Head here to discover more classes on illustration.


1. Introduction: My name is Gabrielle. I'm an artist and teacher here on Skillshare. Today we're going to be drawing stylized female characters. The question I get asked more than any other in my art is, how do you draw faces? Little faces are so much fun to draw. So I'm really excited to teach this class. Today we'll be learning two basic but essential views. The front view and the three-quarter view. You'll learn all the basics you need to know to make an endless variety of cute female characters. You can use any pencil and paper you have on hand to get started. But I'll also share with you all the materials I love to use. We'll talk about line quality and review the essential proportions of the human face. Then we'll dive right into the process of sketching female characters. I'll show you step-by-step how to draw eyes, noses, mouths, and hairstyles. I'll show you how you can easily make your characters come to life with expression, and how you can add little accessories to give your character a story. I believe even if you're a beginner, you can walk away from this class with a piece you can be proud of. I'll share tons of worksheets, tutorials, tips, and references along the way so you'll feel confident drawing female characters. So are you ready to start creating? Lets get started. 2. Class Project: Thank you so much for joining the class. I hope you have a ton of fun. Your class project is to sketch a female character. This can be a character you make up as you work through your project or just your favorite character re-imagined in your own style. Please share your work in the Your Project section. Also, check out what your fellow classmates are making in the All Projects section of class. If you have any questions at all as you work through your project, please let me know. I'd be happy to help you. Now let's jump right into materials. 3. Materials: Now, the first thing you're going to want is some drawing paper. I enjoy using really smooth, bright white paper. Some good brands I found, in no particular order here, are the Piccadilly brand sketchbooks, Punctuate sketchbooks, and the HP Premium Choice LaserJet Paper. But really, it all comes down to your personal preference. If you already have a paper you like, draw on what you're used to. Throughout class, you'll see me go back and forth between pencils to get different types of lines. For light line work, I like to use my Daft-Line 0.3 Pencil, with 3H Pentel Lead. With this pencil, I can make thin delicate lines. This is a great pencil for lightly sketching and planning out your characters. For darker lines and accents, I like to use this Staedtler 0.5 Mechanical Pencil, with 4B Pentel Lead. This is a fantastic pencil and it's one of my favorite art tools. Pentel lead is super smooth and it's the best lead brand I've tried yet. You'll also see, I use a Pro-Matic MC5. This is a nice pencil for drawing big lines and big ideas. Now really, just one pencil can be used for this entire class. Just be sure to vary your pressure to get the variations in line quality. Now, I love stumps, they will easily give you that smooth, blended look. These help blend those areas around the eyes and around the nose. If you don't have stumps, try out Q-tips for blending. You'll also want some type of eraser for this class. I would highly recommend a kneaded eraser, since some of the techniques can only be achieved with the subtlety of a kneaded eraser. You'll also want a regular old eraser, or if you want to get fancy, the Sakura Electric Eraser will help you erase with ease. White gel pens are so much fun, and they will make your character's eyes and lips shine. I like to use the Signo White Gel Pen. I would recommend grabbing the materials you do have, and then adding to them as you see fit. I've added links to all of these materials in the Your Project section of class if you'd like to buy online. Also, I have a shopping list in the class files if you'd like to print it out and take it to the art store. All right. Now, let's get started. 4. Line Quality: Which drawing is more interesting to look at? On the left, we have a drawing that's made up of lines that are pretty much the same value and weight. While on the right, we have lots of different kinds of lines; some are dark and bold, while others are so faint that we can barely see them. Knowing when to make your marks dark and bold, and when to pull back and be delicate and soft, will make your drawings more powerful. Here on the left, all the lines are drawn with the same pressure. But on the right, we have thin, thick, dark, light, smooth, textured, all types of lines. To get more variety in your drawings, you can change up the pressure you put on your pencil. This will change the value. Press lightly to get light values, and press hard down on your paper to get dark values. You can also change up the size of your lines. For this, it helps to have two pencils. Like I have my really thin 0.3 millimeter draft-line, and I also have my thicker two millimeter pro-matic. Really, you don't even need two pencils though. You can even just use a sharp point of your pencil for thin lines, and a dull-down point for thick ones. You can also change up the texture of your lines, leaving some sketchy, while others are blended and smooth dull. This variety will keep your lines from becoming monotonous, and it will keep your viewer engaged in your piece. See how here the line is super thin, while here it's quite thick in comparison. Here we have a line that starts thick and dark in value, and then becomes thin and lighter in value as it moves away from her face. These slight variations in line quality will keep your work exciting and will give your pieces compositional interests. Go ahead and get out a piece of paper, and make some lines, and get warmed up. 5. Proportions: Let's talk about the basic proportions of the human head. If you placed a line at the top of the skull and another at the bottom of the chin, and then split that measurement in half, you get the placement of the eyes. Basically the eyes are located at right about the center of the head in a straight on view. Now, notice how I didn't say the top of the hair, because some hairstyles can get quite puffy, try to think through the hair to where the skull would be. On a straight on view, the eyes will always be placed at about the middle. When you start to veer away from placing the eyes in the middle, that's when you can start to get some characters that may look out of proportion or just not as human. Although some cartoonist will push proportions to the extreme like this, and that works perfectly fine too. Now if you place a line across the brow line, and then across the top of the forehead, that will give you a certain measurement that you can then copy to other places. The top of the forehead to the brow line, then from the brow line to the bottom of the nose, and finally from the bottom of the nose to the bottom of the chin, are all close to equal spatial relationships on the human face. Basically you can split the top of the forehead to the bottom of the chin into thirds, to help you place the brows in the bottom of the nose better. Not only do these lines help you in placing the features of the face, but they can also help in redrawing that same face. Simply use lines to make sure the forehead, brows, nose, and chin hit on the same line. We won't get into this in class, but once you nail down these basics of your character, you'll be able to draw her from more difficult angles. Now, there's one more proportional measuring trick I want to show you. From the bottom of the nose to the part of the lips, to the start of the chin, to the bottom of the chin can also be separated into thirds. At each line you can place an important facial landmark. If we split the nose to the chin into thirds, we can easily place the part of the lips, which is at that first third. Everything in these drawings is exactly the same, except for the placement of the lips. You can see how important it is to know these basic proportions. I often don't indicate the chin too much on my character portraits, but having these basic proportional measurements in the back of my head really helps me place things better. Now remember, these proportions will only work in a straight on view. Once the head tilts up or down, the spatial relationships will then change because of the perspective. But knowing these basics will be extremely helpful if something is looking off in your drawing. Now with character drawing, you can push the proportions away from true human proportions if you wish. You can exaggerate the size of the facial features, and exaggerate the space between the facial features as you desire. Practice and push things around as you start drawing, to figure out what look you like best. If you'd like to practice proportions that are tried and true though, print out these worksheets and give them a go. They will guide you through the basic proportions of the human head. They'll also help you get to know your unique taste, which will help you in developing your style. Now in three-quarter view, you'll find that these basics still apply because there's no tilt to the head up or down. Again, the eyes are the halfway point of the head. The face is broken down into nearly equal thirds, and then finally from the bottom of the nose to the bottom of the chin, can be broken down into thirds as well. Like I said, often I don't indicate the chin on my character drawings. But if you ever want to draw a little shadow under the lips, often that third line down is where the shadow will end. Give the proportion worksheets a try. Keep it simple and just try to get your brain familiar with the special relationships of the head. Then when you're feeling comfortable, let's start drawing some eyes. 6. Drawing Eyes: Eyes are so fun to draw and there are so many interesting variations to them. You get a variety of different looks just by changing up the basic shapes. You can make the eye shape quite sharp and angular, or they can be very round and smooth. You can make the eyes quite narrow and small in size or large and round. You can slant the eyes downward at the corners, or you can make them slant upwards for a cat-like look. You can also change the distance between the eyes, making them quite close to each other or rather far apart. That's up to you. Just as a note though, I like to do just under the length of another eye in between. When I start regardless of where I'll end up, I usually start with the most basic of shapes, so I began with a soft oval. For me, it helps me to think about our fat Jelly bean almost. After that, I add two triangles to the sides. I really like the look like cat eyes. Most of my characters have this. Then I fill that in with my pencil and I add a little indication of the upper eyelid. Now I go in and I add that rounded iris shape, letting the top of the round circle get covered by the upper lid. Next I add the brow shape, and then I shave with my blending stump. It gives the bowl of the eye some form. Again with my stump, I draw an a triangular eye shadow shape. Then I add some brow hairs with my pencil and refine the shape of the lower lash line with my kneaded eraser. I outline the iris for some added definition, at some quick wispy lashes, and then I draw the pupil and add some highlights. Here you can see that process broken down into steps if you'd like to follow along. Now let me show you all this in action. First I wind up, and when I'm getting the hang of the round motion, I press down lightly on my paper and get those bean like shapes going. I usually like to slant the eyes, I draw upwards. You can see that I'm doing that here. Once I have those most basic of shapes, I'm going in and I'm getting more specific. With a little hard pressure, I start adding a more defined line for the top lash line. You can decide if you want to go quite angular, or soft and round or something in between. Now I'm making that triangular shape because I love a cat eye. I think it makes for a really pretty eye. Now I'm just defining that tear dot a little and adding a little indication of a tablet. You can add as much or as little of the tablet as you want. You don't even have to add it because some eyes won't even have it. That's completely up to you and the look you're going for. Now I'm drawing the brows, the browser extremely expressive, and we'll get more into that later. For now, I'm making sure not to draw really dark because browse, I personally push as I figure out the mood of the piece, they really determine the expression. You can even start brows simply by drawing with a stump. If you have a used stamp, you can simply put down an arch and then add quick brow hares. Brows like everything else can be pushed around into endless variations. Experiment with thickness, length, spacing, and arch. Now getting back into this, I'm just blending out the upper lids and brows. I personally like the smoothness and simplicity in characters. I do lots of blending to achieve that. Now, I'm using my darker 4B starter to add those dark values. I color in the triangular cat-like eyeliner. These eyes will start to pop with contrast. Contrast is what's going to grab attention in the piece, and in this character portrait, I want the focus to be her eyes. Now back with my 3H draft line, I'm winding up again to draw the circular irises. Once I'm ready, I lightly press down and sketch it in with a tone. This will make your drawing look more expressive and free when you draw like this. Instead of being slow and forced. I like to get sketchy at a time like this because I know my stumps can always come behind and save the day. Now that I've blended things out, I need to go back in and define. That's how I like to work. I sketch, smooth out and define. I like to bounce around between these three techniques. I find that this helps me create a piece with a variety of textures and more visual interest. Now with some quick, short strokes, I'm drawing on those bottom lashes. If you think about it too much or go to slow, it may start to look unnatural, so practice trying to confidently draw lashes. You'll notice the lashes nearer to the outer corners of the eyes are a bit darker compared to the very light lashes closer to the inner quarters. Now I'm drawing on those top lashes, almost with a flicking motion, applying more pressure on my pencil near the root of the eyelash and later pressure as I get to the tip of the eyelash. You'll also notice how some of them clumped together to form little triangular shapes. Now since I spent some time defining, I'm going in and smoothing with my stumps. 3H pencil is also great for subtly applying value. Now imagine in the pupils, I think drawing the pupils is actually optional for character drawing. I find sometimes it works and sometimes they can just make the character looks strange or like they're being hypnotized. Occasionally I'll leave the dark pupils out, but in this case I'm going to draw them in. I blend them out and they add cash shadows with a stump to keep her from having that hypnotize look. Now it's time for my favorite part. The highlights, with a quick couple dabs, see how that just brightens up her eye. Now with my kneaded eraser, I'm gently dabbing the side opposite the eye highlight I just placed. This will complete the look of light hitting the eye. Using my 3h, now, I'm just add in a little eye detail. Eyes have tons of fun and interesting details, and you can Google around to find more ideas on little details you can put in the eyes by looking at references. Now I'm just tweaking, darkening areas that I think need to have a darker value. Blending areas that I think need smoothing out, enlightening areas that are just too dark. To finish up, I'm just going to add that final layer of detail. I round out the irises, the pupils and details to the lids and to the brows as well. Using quick strokes, I draw on the brow hairs similar to the quick way I drew the lashes. Now let's walk through drawing eyes in a three-quarter view. Again by changing up the angle, size, slant, and distance, you can achieve endless combinations. I find it helpful to think about the eye closer to us as more angular in shape, and the eye further away as a bit more rounded. I don't know why, but thinking this way helps me draw three-quarter eyes more easily. Here you can see the basic steps of drawing eyes. If you'd like to print this out and reference it, I've included that in the class worksheets. To start, again, I'm using my 3H pencil. This is a light pencil that can easily erase if you want to. This is a good quality to have in a preliminary sketching pencil. As I mentioned, I'm trying to think about the further eye as a bit more rounded in shape and the closer eye as a bit more angular. But again, experiment with just how angular you want to go in general. Also consider the variations of size, slant, and distance between the eyes. Now I have the basic shapes I like, I'm going in and I'm darken up that upper line. I am adding in that triangle cat-like eyeliner. You don't have to add these triangles. I just do because it makes some of my favorite characterize. Now I'm dark enough that triangular shape with my dark 4B lead, and a harder pressure to get the dark value. Now back with my 3H, I'm following the angles of the eyes to add a small lid. Now before I get too far ahead on these eyes, I'm going to add some brow shapes in here, just so we can get the emotion of these eyes going, you can see the brow goes off at an angle from the tear duct. If you're wondering where to place it, and for this eye here on the left, I'm going with the direction of the eye here to place that brow angle. Experiment with different brow types though to see what looks you can get. Brows can be really fun to play around with, and they can drastically change the look of your character. Now I'm lightly indicating the roundness of those irises, and now I'm just coloring and then since I have the basic shape, now I am defining the bottom lash lines with my 3H pencil. Now with a large blending stump, I'm just following the lines and smoothing out everything I just drew. So since I smoked it out, now I'm going back into detail mode, defining the bottom lash line a bit more. If you'd like to take a closer look at the intricacies of an eye, check-up my class, start drawing techniques for pencil portraits. For character drawing, however, a little tear duct and simple waterline indication will do. Using quick strokes with my 3H, I'm adding in some brow hairs, trying to draw them in the direction the hair grows. Now I'm just blending it out, so we can't see every little hair, but just some hints of some. Now with my 4B lead, I'm making quick dark strokes for lashes with a little curve to them. These ones here will sometimes flow this direction. As always, my stump allows me to smooth out all of this. Now on the bottom, I add a couple of tiny eye lashes. Again, sometimes these will clump together at the tips making little v-shapes. Now I'm adding a more crisp outline to the irises. I'm adding a cast shadow right across the top here. This will give the eyes depth, like the lids are really folding over the top of those eyeballs. Now I'm pushing the contrast in detail in this eye even more, darkening up the irises in the lash line. Now I'm lightly indicating circular pupils, and I just blended into the iris a little with a stump. Dabbing my kneaded erase from iris gives the illusion of light coming in. Then on the opposite side I place a dot highlight, and it just makes the eyes pop. Just for fun, I add little line highlights. Eye highlights can be a variety of different shapes and you can have fun experimenting with their shapes. These are my finished three-quarter eyes. Please feel free to use my sketches here as references, if you need help. I would recommend you start drawing a few pairs of eyes now. Start a couple of eyes in front view and a couple in three-quarter view. By the end, it's really cool to see how all your different characters will turn out. Keep the order of operations pretty much the same, but just switch up the shapes as you go. Once you have semi-strong, let's learn about noses. 7. Drawing Noses: Noses come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. The variations are again, endless. But like most things in drawing, the basic shapes are the same. The nose is like an upside-down triangle with a round oval on top. These two shapes can be pushed and pulled around lots of ways. Just by changing up the length and width, you can get tons of different varieties. I'm going to walk you through the simple steps of drawing a cute nose. The first thing I do is draw a triangle with my light 3H pencil and color it in, and then I blend it with my stump. After I do that, I do a couple of quick wraps around to get that roundness of the nose. Now I make two parenthesis shapes for the nostrils and another two parenthesis shapes for the wings. You can also subtly define the roundness. That's it. Again, I'm drawing a triangle and I'm coloring it in. Now I'm blending with my stump and getting that roundness of the ball of the nose, and then I'm just adding those parentheses shaped nostrils. As always, push and pull structure shapes around to see what kind of variation you can get. Now let's talk about the placement on your character. You can draw a nose up here, but that's a bit too high, I think. You can draw it down here, but that's just too low for the look I'm going for. I'm going to go for something in between. I'm going to try and take just over the width of the eye if she weren't wearing makeup, and see how that works. I think it does. From the brow line to the bottom of where we just placed the nose, is that center third of the face we talked about earlier. Now I'm just proceeding with the usual steps of blending, adding the nostrils, adding the wings, and then just adding a couple more faint details. Again, I'm looking to place the nose. For me, it's just always helpful to imagine the width of the eye without makeup, coming down to be the same measurement as the length of the nose. But as with all things in character drawing, experiment. Try out short lengths, long lengths, and everything in between until you get a look that you really like. For noses, I pretty much always just use these simple steps. Now let's get into drawing some three-quarter noses. Here you can see we have the same basic shapes, only we're looking from a different angle. So the angle's change. Now the triangle is like a scalene triangle, but as you can see, the drawing process remains pretty much the same. That's way too high and this is just too low. Using right about that eye measurement, I can place the nose. Don't make the nose too dark with the roundness here. Keep it subtle and keep a light touch and work up to it. Now I draw the nostril right near the edge of the triangle, and on the other edge, I just define with the roundness of the nose in mind. So I'm drawing with rounded edges and I also really lightly round off the wing here. I think you'll find you'll quickly get the hang of this process. Remember to experiment with the shape variations to the triangle and the oval until you're happy with your character's nose design. Also, please feel free to use these noses as references for your characters. 8. Drawing Lips: Now it's time to draw lips. Lips are really fun to draw and they can be really expressive. Here we have three different mouths, but we can see that the basic shapes are the same. They are just variations on the same smooth arc in shape. So keep those basic shapes in mind as you get into drawing more complex mouths. The shapes are still there, just with a couple indentations and additions. Similar to drawing a nose, drawing a simple mouth breaks down into just a few steps. A simple smile starts with two tiny triangles, lightly connected with a line. Then another line at the bottom, that angles upward on both sides to connect to the triangles. Then you can draw the fullness of the bottom lip and blend it with a stump. I'll also drag my stump across the top lip, which is quite skinny in comparison since that lip really pulls in a smile. Now, I just define a little bit more where the canine teeth would be and around the lips as well. Now I'm drawing two squished circles like this. I connect them with a line and go right into the plumpness of the lips by adding a sketchy tongue. Then I quickly smooth it out with my stump. Now I darken these rice-like shapes and I add a rounded line in the middle. I decide these lips will have a defined cupid's bow, so I add this little dip. Now I'm just darkening up the top lip and again, blending it in. My kneaded eraser is super helpful for cleaning up the edges, and now I'm just coming back in with my pencils to refine those edges even more. Here I add a highlight line with my kneaded eraser and I make the highlight even brighter with a couple dabs with my white gel pen. Now for this mouth, I begin with a small curved diamond shape, then I draw two thick lines like this and then connect it all. Now I'm drawing the shape of the upper lip and the shape of the lower lip. They're almost like little rounded hills. As usual, I can smooth out easily with my stump, and now it's time to define. Using my 4B pencil, I go in and outline all the marks I just made. On the lower lip, you'll see I just defined the very bottom. I like to leave the sides undefined because if you outline it all the way around, it can start to look strange. Now I'm just finishing up by adding a darker tone all over the lips and blending it out. This time I start just by going straight into those mounds. As you work, you'll begin to form a process that works most efficiently for you. It may be to start with lines or you may like to jump immediately into shapes value. This is up for you to decide. You can reach the same endpoint with a variety of different approaches. So explore each process until you find the right fit. For this character, I'm just going right in with the most basic of basic lips shapes, a simple rounded form. Now I'm just going in and blending that. Now with my 4B, I draw those two dark round shapes at the corners of the mouth, and then I'm putting a thick line right at the center. Notice how I really don't connect it all the way with a line here. Now with my 3H, I'm going in, and I'm defining her upper lip at the cupid's bow, and I decide to lightly round off her upper lip. Then I just color in the whole upper lip with a darker tone. You'll find in most lighting situations, the upper lip will be darker in value in comparison to the bottom lip. This is just how light falls on the lips when the subject is lit from above. My kneaded eraser is great for cleaning up edges and for lifting off some of the pencil lead gradually. Now to finish up these lips, I just darken off the bottom and smooth it all out. Now let's draw some mouths in a three-quarter view. It's really quite interesting, but you can even draw lips when you start out with a simple shape like this. You can also start them out with simple lines. As you work, you'll start to get comfortable with both methods. I'm going to start by showing you a simple smile. I draw two little triangle shapes and I connect them at the tops with a line. Then I come down at a slight angle, and then with a rounded touch, thinking about the curve of the teeth, bring that back to the other triangle. Now I mimic that curve to make the form of the bottom lip and I add a tiny triangle to make a suggestion of a canine tooth. I'd just like to hint at the teeth. I found that if you draw every line between the teeth, it can start to look strange really quickly, so I just hinted the teeth in this way. Now I've added a value to the lips and I'm just blending it with a stump. Now it's time to define. I use my 4B pencil to redefine and darken those triangles at the corners of the mouth, and then I pick a couple other areas to define as well. Now I'm starting with a simple dipped line. I add a quick shape of value to the bottom as well. With my stump again, this is made easy to smooth out. After blending with my stump, I go in with my 4B pencil and darken the corners of the mouth to add some depth. Then for some variation, I connect them with a smooth, almost V-like shape. Now I'm switching to my 3H and I'm redefining the bottom lip. With the top lip, I'll also give that little V dip at the cupid's bow. Experiment with drawing lips. There are so many fun little variations. The process is basically the same, but like with the other features, you can get really interesting characteristics when you vary the shapes, even just a little bit. This will give your character individuality from your other characters. With my kneaded eraser now, I'm just lifting off some of the lead to give the lip a lighter value. For dramatic highlights though, grab your white gel pen with a couple dabs you can give the lips a glossy look. Now I'm going to draw the lips slightly parted. First I draw a little squished oval, I go up a little and color it in and then draw another squished oval. Then I connect the two with a line like this, and now I just connect the bottom with the most subtle of V shapes. No need to over complicate this, you'll get the hang of these different lines with some practice. Now, I'm just following the shape and I'm adding a little value, and then I add this rounded shaper value for the bottom lip too. With the stump, I can easily blend this out to make it smooth. My pencil works to discover the shape and then my stump always comes in and saves the day. Now I'm just darkening and defining with my 4B pencil. This brings the drawer back to all the fuzziness. Then from there, I proceed with the usual steps; defining with my 3H, darkening with my 4B, cleaning up and pulling up subtle tones with my kneaded eraser and smoothing out with my blending stumps. So now with the character, I'm going to show you how you can even draw lips from a blob. So I'm putting down a blob of value, almost diamond-like in shape, and now I'm blending it and adding those dark outer corners. I would encourage you to play around with drawing lips, they're so expressive and really affect the look of your character. Just changing the lips can almost make them into a different personality. Grab a piece of paper and try drawing some lips. Try starting with a line or starting with the corners, or starting with even a simple blob like this. I think you'll be surprised by how much you can do. Feel free to copy any of the lips I've drawn here or look online for real life lip references to get other ideas. Now, let's talk about expressions. 9. Subtle Expressions: At this point, if you've been drawing along as you watch this, your character may already be developing her own little expression. But I'm going to show you how you can push expressions even further if you want to, and how you can plan them from the start. So much of the expression on the face is held in the brows, and in the corners of the mouth. These are extremely expressive areas. You can see that even though here the brows and the mouths are represented as simple arrows, the expressions are still clear. An angry or serious expression has sharp arched brows, and the corners of the mouth are down-turned. With a pleasant or content expression, the eyebrows have a much softer arch. Often one or both sides of the mouth will turn up in the smile. With a mischievous expression, you'll often see one eyebrow arcs down, while the other may arc down, but then quickly backup at the tip. You'll also often see one corner of the mouth headed upward to give the look of a sly smile. With a sad expression, you'll see the brows pointing upwards, with the very tips arcing even more upwards. The corners of the mouth will usually be slightly turned down. With a happy expression, you'll see softly arched brows, often placed a bit higher than usual, and you'll also see one or both corners of the mouth pointing upwards. I've provided a printout like this for you to experiment with expressions, just by altering the brows and the mouth. So first, I try some simple softly arched brows, and a simple softly arched mouth. Look how content she looks right away. Now whoa, this is already dramatically different. We can tell right away this character is angry about something. With these sharp arched brows and down-turned mouth, she's definitely frustrated or upset. I'm starting to feel pity for this character already. You can tell from the angle of her brows and the down-turned mouth, that she's really going through some sad times. Finally, with these mismatched brows and mismatched corners of the mouth, I can tell this character is up to something mischievous. Expressions are so much fun to play around with. Often I'll just fringe role and let the character become the mood she wants to become, or really whatever my subconscious decides to make her. Expressive characters can keep your work interesting and entertaining. So try them out as you work through your drawings. If it helps, just begin with simple arrows and shapes, then build off of that. Of course, it' not just the brows and the corners of the mouth that convey expression, all the features of the face play a role. So if you're interested in breaking down the expressiveness of the eyes even more, check out my class here on Skillshare called Let's Draw: Sketch Realistic Eyes With Pencils. 10. Drawing the Head: In life, you'll see a variety of different head shapes and you will on characters too. Animated movies are great at displaying this variety. The head is almost like an egg, flipped upside down and then formed into a shape. Usually with my characters, I like to draw them cute. So I'll usually use this egg-shaped idea. I also like to think about the chin as something between a U and a V-shape. Here are the simple steps I take to draw in a face in a straight-on view. First, I start with two lines. Sometimes it takes me a few tries to get their placement where I want them. I draw these angled lines pretty close to her mouth. I draw lightly just in case I want to make corrections as I move along. I draw the lines just about to the corners of the mouth. Then I connect the two lines with a rounded U-shape here. Now, I draw two lines going upwards from that to create the jaw line. You can see how they slightly flare out as they go. Now, with a darker pencil, I go in and refine the line to try and improve the shape. Now, I'm loosely placing the ears in a straight-on view, they'll usually land at about the nose line and will usually start somewhere between the brow line and the eye line. As you start to learn other perspectives with the character looking upwards or downwards, the placement of the ear will change, but you can figure out where they'll go easily enough through observing yourself in a mirror or through the use of reference images. When drawing the neck, it may help you to think about a cylinder. When you draw the shoulders, you may want to try thinking about the shape of a hanger. When drawing, try to simplify shapes to make it easier. Simplicity will often give you beauty in a drawing. Sometimes I'll complete a character with a simple indication of a neck line, like I did here. It's almost like they're wearing V-neck shirts. Here are some simple steps for drawing the ears. Just like everything else, they are just unique combinations of little shapes and lines. Sometimes I'll keep my ears like steps 1 or 2 if my sketch is simple enough. Or sometimes I'll bring it all the way to step 6, if I feel the drawing will benefit from the added detail. In a three-quarter view, it may be helpful to think about the head as a ball with a jaw. Relate everything you draw to a simple shape or a simple form, and watch how your work transforms. Here's how I progress when drawing a face and three-quarter view. Variations and shape will come down to your personal preference, but here are the basic angles. An angle going down, then gently arching for the chin, then the angle comes back up and then more sharply up again. You'll notice there's a little subtle dip here, so try using 3H or another layer on the lighter side until the face shape looks good to you. For ears, it's almost like a C-shape or a backward C in this case. Again, with ears, I feel you can get a sketchy or as detailed as you want. The focus of your drawing will rarely ever be the ear. So you can decide exactly how much attention do you think is important to give it. For a simple neck, I'll often just draw them like this. Pushing it a bit from where the chin lands, I draw a straight line here. Then I tend to curve the back of the neck a bit more. I'll often draw a skinny triangle here to indicate the cast shadow on her neck. This gives the head an neck some separation. Don't feel limited to one pose if you'd like to experiment more. Check-out some references online for pose ideas. In another class, I'll get more into poses, but for now, feel free to keep it simple like this. 11. Drawing Hair: There are so many hairstyles you can draw in your characters, and their hair can really help show their personality too. I went to look on Pinterest for new ideas for drawing hair, so please feel welcome to use any of these as reference. I think it's best to simplify hair into simple forms. Instead of drawing one hair at a time, think about the shape a group of hairs makes when clumped together, also make sure to keep in mind that egg shaped roundness of the head. When drawing hair, you'll often see lots of S-shaped curves and C-shaped curves, and the reverse as well, so get used to drawing these long flowing shapes. You'll also see some bunching of the forums, like they are here. With really curly hair, you'll still have those S-curves and C-curves, only they'll be smaller and there will be more of them. Just remember, think big shapes instead of single hairs, and that will immediately simplify the process. Here are a few hair examples broken down into steps. Usually I like to start off by drawing loose hairs around the face. Usually I'll use 3H pencil and I work on the hair lightly until I'm sure of the direction I'm going. I work lightly as I draw because often I will put in a few strokes and I feel like it's just not going the right direction for the character, so I erase and try again, and working lightly at first really helps me do this easily. As always, have fun and experiment with hair. This is where the character starts to really come into their own. Always try to break complex things down into simple shapes, to help simplify it in your mind and then also on the paper. I start with a simple sketchy line for her part, now I'm drawing loose clumps of hair to frame her face. I'm also indicating that egg like roundness of the head. Now I'm flaring the hair out with a soft curve. Usually the hair will cling closer to the head of the ears, and then flyaway from the head as it comes down. For this hairstyle, I'm wrapping some pieces of hair round the head for the half up, half down look. I think this is a very pretty and feminine hairstyle and I think it fits my character. You'll notice that with clumps of hair, they'll come from the same root area, flare out in shape, and then come back together. You can think of them as thick ribbons. Now I'm just adding a couple more details to the shapes at the top, bending my lines as the hair would softly bend around the sphere of the head. Now I'm quickly toning the hair with my 3H pencil, like with ears and all the other features really, you can decide just how detail you want to get. This can be as simple or as detailed as you wish. You may choose to not even put a toner on. With a tissue, you can easily blend large areas of the piece rather than using the stone. Now with my kneaded eraser, I just clean up any extra fuzz, and then I flip my drawing upside down. Sometimes for me, it's just more comfortable to do certain strokes in a certain direction. It just felt easier drawing these hairs upside down, you may find this as you work too. But draw whichever way works best for you, even if that means flipping your drawing upside down every once and a while. Use every weird trick in the book to get the drawing you want. Now I'm drawing in some darker lines, using more pressure on my pencil to get that darker value, you'll see I'm putting these darker values closer to where the hairs are coming together near the roots. I also shade back here to push this area back behind her and then to the shade. Now with my 4B, I go in and I add some darker axons, this will make the character pop with contrast. In this one, I keep the areas around the face dark, It will help catch the viewer's eye and pull them into my focus, which is her face. For the next shadow, I'll typically draw a shape like this to help give some separation between the head and the neck. I'll also sometimes put a thin curl shadow from the hair onto the face. I like to finish off drawing my hairstyles with a few light curve flyaway hairs. I think this had some fun and freeness to the sketch and keeps it from looking too forced. At areas like the part, you may also want to do a couple more detail hairs as well. So start with simplified shapes, then add detail and tone, when you become confident in the design. Then finish off the hairstyle by redefining and adding in some flyaway hairs. Now let's take a look at some three-quarter hairstyles, the ideas are all the same. Usually when I start drawing hair, I just have a vague idea of where I'm going, and it only truly comes about as I experiment and put down more lines and shapes. Have fun and take some chances, you'll probably come up with a really cool hairstyle when you do. Looking at references will be extremely helpful when it comes to drawing hair, and really when it comes to drawing anything. Sometimes I can draw out of my head because I've memorized some designs through study and practice, but only because I studied from real-life subjects and through photos. If you want, photograph you're friends with different hairstyles and work from those, or like I mentioned, Pinterest is a treasure trove of inspiring images, and will be sure to give you great ideas. You'll see I always start with the same general process. I plan out the shapes lightly with my pencil, and then as I become more confident in my design, I add smaller details and darker lines. With hair, try keeping some lines lighten them, and others thick and dark, this will give your piece exciting variety. You'll see sometimes I blend with my fingers. Your fingers can make for great blending tools, but just make sure they're clean and dry. If they're not, you can smudge the lead and it can lead to ugly splotches. Just keep a towel next to you as you work if you need to wipe off your hands. Now with my 3H, I'm just adding a little curl shadow on her face, and you can see here, I just decided this is too much and it's just not working. So I redraw the hair design with a 0.9 2B pencil. To finish this hairstyle, I just add some quick flyaway hairs with my light 3H. As you can see drawing hair from your imagination, can take a certain amount of trial and error. If you want a more straightforward process however, using references will be the way to go. Here's a quick hair drawing tip. A dirty stump can also help you add some nice value to these groups of hairs. It can give the hair a nice subtle tone. Feel free to use these hairstyles as references or follow along with any of these steps and modify as you see fit, or you can search the Internet to find some beautiful inspiring hairstyles to draw on your characters. 12. Adding Accessories: There are so many little accessories you can add to push your character and give her more personality. Freckles add a simple fun touch, or even just a mole. Jewelry can also give your character more personality. Here her choker adds instant attitude. Here with the star earrings, she has a more glamorous look. Here I add big hoops to develop this character's personality. I make her into a rock star by drawing lots of piercings and adding a star tattoo. On this character, I simply add a hair wrap to make her more interesting. Here I have barrettes to give her more of a girly look. Even the tiniest accessories can make a difference in your character story. It will make your viewers more interested in your piece. You can put a starfish on her hair and make her mermaid. With pointed ears, she immediately becomes a cute elf. With a flower crown, she becomes a princess. Flowers are always beautiful to add on your characters hair. Try to see flowers as simple shapes and draw them quickly and loosely. Here are some ideas if you need inspiration. You can add a fun accessory like jewelry, freckles, glasses, headphones, or hair pieces. You can give her a story by turning her into a mermaid, fairy, spy, princess, pirate, or another theme character. Or you can make her into a character that already exists, just in your unique style. If you're drawing along and she's reminding you of Ariel, go ahead and make her your version of Ariel. Have fun with this and let your imagination run wild. Experiment and remember, breaking down complex shapes into simple shapes will help you draw it better, and also, photo references always help too. If you need help finding ideas that inspire you, check out my class here on Skillshare for making inspiration boards. 13. Video Demonstration: 14. Photographing and Scanning Your Work: I usually just photograph my work with my iPhone. I just try to get right over top of my drawing so I don't get any perspective distortion. If you don't have a smart phone though, a digital camera will also work great. If you want to get more of a work in progress type shot though, you can angle the camera a little more and put one of your art tools down next to your sketch. I really like the Instagram filters, so I'll sometimes add a filter to my photograph sketches. If you'd like to have a clean copy of your work though, your best bet is to scan it, then you can edit the image in Photoshop or another editing program. In Photoshop, go to ''Image'', ''Mode'', ''Grayscale.'' Then go to ''Image'', ''Adjustments'', ''Levels.'' From here, you can move the sliders to bring the paper back to white and the darks back to their value in real life. Using the patch tool, you can circle little dusts and dots and drag to a clean area to remove them. When I'm finished, I just press ''Select'', ''De-select.'' Now that I'm finished editing, I go to ''Image'', ''Mode'', and turn it back to RGB color. Then with the crop tool from the toolbar on the left-hand side, I can complete this with my desired crop. If you'd like to learn more about Photoshop, please join in my class, Photoshop Demystified: A Beginners Guide to Digital Painting. Also, look out for our future class on coloring these characters in Photoshop. 15. Tips and Closing Thoughts: I started drawing characters back in 2010. I wanted to improve, so I made a commitment to practicing every day. I now have piles of filled sketchbooks. For every good drawing I have though, I've got about 10 bad ones behind it. So don't worry if you feel like you make a bad drawing. This is all part of the learning process and you'll improve as you keep working at it. Try to draw daily if you can, and if not, try to draw several times a week. Also date the sketchbooks so you can see how your style changes over time. I think it's also important to find artists whose works you admire. Keep yourself surrounded by great art that inspires you. Just keeping your feeds full of great work will help you become a better artist yourself. Use references, real-life photos, or even the things you've seen here in class. Another tip I would give is to memorize how it feels to place and draw different shapes. Commit simple face shapes like this to memory. Once you draw a face you really like, try to memorize those basic shapes in their placement and how it felt to draw them. Then you can make endless variations from those general shapes. When it comes to drawing characters, sometimes I draw with a specific character in mind, and sometimes I draw with no character in mind, and I like the character become who she wants to become. This I found is a very free way to draw these sketches, and for me personally, I think it produces my better works. I hope you've enjoyed this class. If you did, I would be really thankful for a thumbs up review, because it helps others find this course too. Also be sure to follow me here on Skillshare to stay up-to-date on my future classes. I hope you have a blast creating your characters. I'm so excited to see what you make. Please let me know if you have any questions at all as you work through your project. I'll be happy to help you. Until next time. Happy learning.