Biggest Mistakes in Drawing Fashion Faces!

How to draw faces digitally with fashion illustration apps by Laura Volpintesta

This post isn’t only about drawing fashion faces, but that’s what most of my students use it for, so let’s  go!

NO matter WHAT you are drawing faces for, IF and I mean IF (you don’t have to) REALISM is part of what you want to incorporate into your art, I have TIPS FOR YOU!

I say that because I have no judgment on drawings that aren’t realistic, In fact, I am moved almost to tears by work that is more abstract or “innocent”.  But in today’s case, I’m talking about guidelines for building a recognizable face.

Drawing isn’t only about technique…it’s about getting an awareness about how you SEE THINGS. 

In today’s video we’re going to talk about how the way we SEE faces can confuse us when we go to draw them.

 I’ll share some examples of faces I’ve drawn,  too!.

This is the tip of the iceberg. 

In today’s video, bring your mind, not a pencil… or grab notebook /sketchbook for notes (i’ve listed key notes below on this page). 

Before you start drawing fashion faces again, let these ideas soak in.  

(Think about drawings you’ve done in the past. Do these concepts ring true for you?)

Don’t worry. I created this video to give you that insight to WHY you draw things the way you do.

I feel it’s important because STRUGGLED LIKE CRAZY with drawing fashion faces. There is so much involved in a face!

But even more importantly, I really CARE about how my faces look, (like I know you do )  because I KNOW that they are so emotional and communicate so much!!!

drawing faces digitally using apps for fashin illustration with Laura Volpintesta
TIP: before you begin drawing, make sure you choose the right kind of image. Look for a complately uncropped head, rather than a zoom in on a face. You want to see the edges of the hair in every direction. Also, choose something with extremes from light to dark. Can you see the lightest and darkest areas in the photo? when you squint, do you see strong shadows anywhere? THIS HELPS A LOT!

In all my years of fashion teaching, I see that the vast majority of students struggle with exactly the same problems when they start drawing faces.

Worse, I know that when a student (taking too many classes all at once and not getting the attention they need to work through their stumbling blocks) doesn’t get to master faces, they usually give up.

This means that they go on to develop their fashion sketching skills, but often leave the faces blank and bald!

WHICH IS FINE as can be… AS LONG AS IT”S A CHOICE of style, and not a result of having no other choice and wishing drawing faces wasn’t a stumbling block.


I’ll share 10 tips with you: ( and click here to view a timelapse faces drawing)

Drawing Fashion Faces:

  1. eyes are much smaller than you think. 
  2. eyes have an eye’s-width of space between them
  3. compared to what you THINK, the eye openings are wide, but not very tall at all ( eye openeing). You can compare the width to the height specifically to get the right scale/proportion
  4. the eye level is halfway down the head (between chin and crown)
  5. place eyes on the HEAD, not just the FACE. the face ends at the  hairline, head continues up to the crown.
  6. the IRIS of the eye is a full circle, but usually concealed partially by the upper, lower, or side of lid.
  7. don’t confuse the huge EMOTIONAL charge of the eyes (windows of the SOUL) with their actual size
  8. the EYE AREA (brows, lids, sockets, lashes) is different than the actual EYE OPENING, yes?? :0)
  9. lips and nose: don’t draw “lip-liner outline” on lips. Only draw a dark lines where you actually see them (center of mouth, nostril, upper eyeled edge, under chin).
  10. try and try again! It is through experience that you clarify your questions and hone your skill! You can do this digitally or on paper or ipad.

Finally, you can

give fashion faces drawings  a total focus for a while to hone your craft and also explore your style and vision. Faces are the focus of my ABOUT FACES digital devices drawing course and are also a focus in the FREEDOM FASHION PROGRAM module #5.


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