Faced With Fear: Conquering Your Fears of Illustrating Faces | The Feminine Face | Melissa Lee | Skillshare

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Faced With Fear: Conquering Your Fears of Illustrating Faces | The Feminine Face

teacher avatar Melissa Lee, allow yourself to fail before you succeed

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Reference and Materials


    • 3.

      Understanding Typically "Feminine" Facial Features


    • 4.

      Drawing Demo


    • 5.

      Closing Thoughts


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About This Class


Welcome to the first session of Faced With Fear: Conquering Your Fears of Illustrating Faces! Throughout this three part series, illustrator Melissa Shaw will guide you through the fundamentals of drawing and coloring feminine and masculine character portraits, from using basic shapes and line to build features to generating and implementing beautiful skin tone palettes.

In this first class, Melissa will take you through her drawing process, focusing on typically "feminine" features, and demonstrate how to draw a character turnaround. The aim of this series is to provide you with the building blocks and knowledge you'll need in order to feel more confident in your ability to tackle drawing and coloring faces.

You don’t need any prior illustration or character design experience for this class, and no software is required. All you need is a piece of paper, a pencil, and 15 minutes!

Meet Your Teacher

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Melissa Lee

allow yourself to fail before you succeed

Top Teacher

Hi! My name's Melissa Lee, and I'm an illustrator and surface pattern designer living in the hilly forests of Northern California. Alongside doing freelance and art licensing work (I am a proud Riley Blake Designs fabric designer), I've spent much of my time cultivating my love of sharing what I know and encouraging others to nourish their creative side through teaching online art courses here on Skillshare. I love making patterns, character art, and watercolor paintings. I'm endlessly inspired by animals and nature (whether living today or extinct), science fiction and fantasy, space and astrology, witchy things, and bees.

Always bees. 

The classes that I teach on Skillshare focus primarily on surface pattern design, watercolor techniques, and ... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: Hi. My name is Melissa Shawn and welcome to the first session of faced with fear, conquering your fears of illustrating faces. Throughout this series, I'll take you through the fundamentals of drying and coloring feminine and masculine character portraits, from using basic shapes and minds to go features to creating beautiful skin tone pellets. In this first class, I'll be focusing on typically feminine features and taking you through my drawing process. The project for this class will be to create a character turnaround, which includes a front-facing view, a three-quarter turn, and a profile view. You don't need any prior illustration or character design experience for this and no software is required. All you really need is a pencil, a piece of paper, and 20 minutes. I hope to see you there. 2. Reference and Materials: Hello, thanks for joining me. For this class, I'm going to be drawing in a stylized or "cartoony fashion" rather than a realistic one. The fundamentals of building a more stylized piece are still applicable to realism. But, I think when it comes to realistic portrait drawing, the only real way to improve once you understand those fundamentals is to practice. Which really can be said for cartooning as well but I think it's particularly relevant for realism. But if you don't have anyone that will sit for you or you don't have access to figure drawing class, my favorite free online practice tool is this figure and gesture drawing site, artists.pixelovely.com. I actually recommended this in my first class so apologies if you've taken it and you've already seen this, I just wanted to quickly mention it here. If you go to Practice Faces & Expression Drawing, you can choose your expression and then the session type you want. It ranges from 30 seconds to six hours, I believe. You can skip forward or pause if you want to. That's just a really cool practice tool. That being said, I do think that the fundamentals I'm going to teach can be applied to realism. So, this class should still be helpful for you if you're trying to get better at that. As far as materials go, all you really need for this class is a pencil and paper. Just so you know, I do like to use blue lead or HB for the under drawing and a darker lead, usually 4B or 6B for the top. 3. Understanding Typically "Feminine" Facial Features: This video is about understanding typically feminine facial features. The first thing you want to consider is facial shape. There are eight basic facial shapes you can choose from. There's oval, round, heart, square, rectangle, diamond, inverted triangle, and triangle. Try not to worry about perfect symmetry because reality is asymmetrical and it gives you drawing character. This is just to show how face shape can affect a character in a three-quarter term. Typically feminine versus typically masculine facial features. Typically female faces tend to have a lower, smoother hairline, thin, arched higher brows, a smaller shorter nose, fuller rounder cheeks, fuller lips, a smoother, rounded jaw, and a smoother thinner neck. Of course, that doesn't mean that every female face has the same characteristics. This is basically just a generalized list of typically feminine features that's meant to help you gain a better understanding of how different features can affect the look of a character. With masculine features, it's basically the opposite, but I'll go more into that in my second class of the series. Giving a feminine character more typically masculine features and vice versa, can have a really dramatic effect and we'll give you a really interesting characters like for example, the girl on the right here, she has a more square jaw and I think it makes her look really unique. This will also help you if you're drawing a gender-neutral character. More often than not, the realistic portraits I draw are very androgynous because that's just what I'm drawn to aesthetically. Young and old faces. When I draw young people, I tend to sort of exaggerate everything, so big ears and eyes in proportion to their face and then the younger the character is, the larger the head to body ratio is. If I'm drawing a baby, the head is very large in comparison to the body. For old faces, just try experimenting with contour lines and giving them wrinkles and experimenting with the weight of the skin. It doesn't have to be complicated. Sometimes it's just a matter of simple lines. I'll go into this more in the next video when I actually do the drawing demo. But I like to start with a circle and two curved directional lines and they act as guidelines for where the features go. This technique works well for drawing a variety of different angles. By keeping features simple, you can get a really good sense of positioning of the face and I did this even more complicated than you need to try just using dots for the eyes. This is just an example of how I used these lines and circles in this character that I drew. Keep eyes as simple as possible at first. Just stick to basic shapes and lines and then add more and more detail until you're satisfied. Sometimes I stop at step two just depending on what style I'm drawing in at the time. But this is just to show you that you can take these principles and just add to them to give it a more realistic look. Add more shading, add eyelashes, add lid lines, add highlights and irises, etc. Then you can think about how the eyes are positioned on the face. You can have the outer corners of the eyes turning up or down. Eyebrows are also really important to consider and can drastically change the look of the character and really express a lot of emotion. Even if you want to use the same eye type for all of your characters, eyebrows can give you a varied look for your characters. Then these eyes on the right are just more examples of how you can draw eyes. You can do big, wide ones, thin or narrow ones, eyes with highlights, eyes with irises, eyes without irises, etc. I do the same one, two, three technique that I did with eyes for the nose. I usually draw an oval for the base and a sort of arched shape for the bridge. For a variety, you can try a taller bridge arch and a wider base or narrow base or thinner base, etc. Try positioning the nose higher and lower on the face. This is just a small set of the different noses you can do upturned, downturned button noses. I always start with a line for the middle of the mouth and then build the whips around it and as it did with the all eyes sometimes I stop at step 2, and I don't do all that shading. As you can see here, there's always that middle line to consider. I really think it's a really important factor of the mouth and once you know how that line is going, you can figure out how the lips shape around it. The bottom row is just to show how that can work for three quarter turn. Upper lip variation is something that I don't know how many people consider, but can really change the look of character. All of this can be applied to realism as well. Sometimes it's just a matter of adding shading and making the finishes a little less exaggerated. For example, here I made her eyes a little smaller and turned them down in a little bit. But her mouth and her nose are basically the same shape, I just added some more shading and then her jaw line and cheeks are exactly the same shape minus shading. At's time to draw. I'll see you in the next video. 4. Drawing Demo: Start with a circle and two curved directional lines. The second line should be positioned low down on the circle. It's going to be basically the eye line. Then you want to draw the shape of the jaw, considering what type of face shape you want to do. Generally you should start where the horizontal line is. As I said before, I keep the eyes, nose, and mouth as simple as possible during the rough sketch face. When you break faces down into basic shapes, they become a lot less daunting. This way you can figure out expression and positioning without wasting time on a ton of detail work, that you might end up having to erase because something was in the wrong position. I'm just putting a line for the mouth for now because I'm not sure if that's where it needs to be. Normally, I like to use blue lead or HB lead for the under drawing. But I decided to use HB lead because it's showing up better on the camera. I normally work with my face really close to the page. Just because I like to get really, really up-close and do really precise line work in detail. So my drawing here is a little rougher than I'm used to, because I'm trying not to get in the way of the camera. Also because of that, I noticed that I put the nose in the wrong spot. The oval is a little bit too far over to one side. But I decided to keep it there and do the detail on it anyway, just to show you why it's so important to really take a look at where your features are positioned on the face before you do the detail work, so that you don't have to erase it and redraw the nose, and waste time. So yeah, even when I'm still doing a rough sketch, I tried to continue to think in shapes and curved lines rather than details. So as you can see the nose is not quite in the right space, it's not quite centered, and neither is the mouth really. It should probably be a little bit higher. But I mean, it doesn't look bad. It's just, I would prefer it to be higher just aesthetically. But I'm not going to bother to go in and change it. So again, start with a circle and two directional lines, and I keep the shapes very simple at first. Oval for the nose, line for the mouth, simple almond shapes for the eyes. A general rule that I like to go by when it comes to eyes and three quarter turn, is that the far eye should be slightly lower than the near eye, and also the far eye can essentially be the same shape, but just squashed. That has worked out for me so far. Here I noticed that the eye on the right, was in the wrong position, so I erased it and redrew. The ears generally go along the eye line. So the top of the ears, can line up with the top of the brow line, and the bottom should be down a little bit past the eyes, but that's just generally speaking. I know I keep talking about position and the importance of keeping your sketch simple at first. I stand by that, but at the same time, try not to worry about getting everything perfectly right and perfectly symmetrical, because as I said before, reality is asymmetrical. You may see something, but most people aren't going to see it that way. I think really it can give your character a lot of charm, and life, and expressiveness. If you try not to focus super, super hard on each side of the face being perfectly, perfectly symmetrical. I decided to redraw this, just to show you what I normally do. So I'm going to draw over it with a darker lead and the blue doesn't show up so much as compared to a dark lead on a dark lead. I think it just gives a cleaner results and I can scan it better. Or you can ink it on a separate piece of paper. But I'll go over that in the third class in this series, which will be on coloring in Photoshop, where I'll go through the whole digitizing process. There you have it. I do actually think that the girl on the left that far facing you, she doesn't quite look like she's the same person as the other two, I think the only thing that have to do is lengthened her face and that would probably do the trick. Her faces a little bit rounder, not quite as oval as the other two. But other than that, she's pretty much done. 5. Closing Thoughts: The project for this class is to create your own character turnaround. For example, here's one that I did. Normally, a turnaround would include the entire body of the character but we're just focusing on faces so don't worry about that. I'm really excited to see what you guys come up with. Thank you so much for taking this. I really hope that it was helpful for you.