How to Draw A Person's Face
With Great Shadows

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In this advanced tutorial, I will show you how to draw a person's face using great shadows and light effects! Indeed, it's not because your character is a cartoon that it should be simple and made from basic shapes only.

You can add more details to create a 3D effect to your illustration. The goal is not to create a realistic character, but just to enhance it a little bit.

I am assuming at this point that you are able to draw a basic head with a simple nose, mouth and eyes on it. I have chosen a male with no hair just to make sure that the tutorial is not too hard to achieved.

I also chose an older character since it will be easier to create more texture on the face (so it will be more fun and easier to understand how to create nice shadows).

Step 1

how to draw a person

First, create the head of your character using mostly lines. Unlike most of the tutorials on this site, this character is not made from circles, rectangles nor triangles. Using lines that are a little bit irregular is perfect to depict an older person.

Step 2

how to draw a person

Let's move on with this lesson on how to draw a person's face by creating small lines around the mouth, the eyes and the forehead. Once again, the goal is to create a character that looks old so that we can create as much shadows as possible on its face.

Step 3

how to draw a person

For this third step, you can add colors on your character. I have drawn a character with an open mouth, so I need to color the tongue and the inside of the mouth too. 

Step 4

how to draw a person

Now the real fun begins! Add some shadows around main areas like the eyes, the ear and the nose. At this point, the character is already more enjoyable to watch.

If you don't have a vector software, you might want to look at the last step to create the gradient effects as soon as possible. Otherwise, move on to the next step.

Step 5

how to draw a person

In the fifth step, add some shadows to smaller parts like the lines around the eyes, the ones above the mouth or the ones on the forehead.

Step 6

how to draw a person

Finally, complete the addition of shadows by creating a few more on parts that are not close to lines or main areas. The character should look old and smiling.

Step 7

how to draw a person

In this seventh step, create shadows on the teeth and on the tongue. It doesn't matter if shadows are too dark for now. Things will be corrected on the last step of this tutorial on how to draw a person's face.

Step 8

how to draw a person

Work on the eyes and the nose of your character. As you can see, the eyes are filled with a gradient effect (the bottom part is darker) and a small white circle was added on each eye to create reflection. A white spot was also added on the nose.

Step 9

how to draw a person

If you have a vector software, it's now time to add transparency to the shadows you have created on the face of your cartoon character. Light needs to be natural and usually, the bottom part of each shadow should be darker.

It might not be true for each part so just play with each element to see what works better. Great! I hope you enjoyed this small tutorial on how to draw a person's face using great shadows and light effects!

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