Old-School FA! Method: Features of the Face

So now you’ve got a whole page of skulls to work with. (If not, start with this post) It’s time to turn these skulls into characters. You might not even need an explanation on how to do this, but read on and I will offer a few tips on each part of the face.


I like to start with the eyes. They are the single feature that will most greatly affect the personality of your character. Eyes can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, but they all start out the same, with the eyeball.

Somewhere in your eye-sockets you want to draw the eyeball.


You don’t need to, and probably shouldn’t, draw as dark as me. Also, I recommend working on both eyes simultaneously, going back and forth. This way you will be able to make them more symmetrical. Unless, of course, you don’t want them to be!

Now the Iris…


Next, the upper lids.


The lower lids are optional. They usually wont be drawn on male character (it makes them look like they have pretty eyelashes or are wearing eye-shadow).

The upper lid fold… (Pretty much following the eyeball line, but not connecting it to the corner of the eyes.

The lower lid fold is also optional. It adds on some years though.

Now shade everywhere in the eye socket, except where the whites of the eyeballs are showing. You can shade the upper and lower lids lighter because they’re closer to you. (Generally, cave-like areas in the face, such as the eye-sockets are darker and as parts of the face get closer, they get lighter)

Here are some examples



Noses are tricky, but fear not! You shall master them swiftly, I feel.

I’ve broken down the nose into 3 parts: the tip, the nostril, and what I call the nose-holes.



We begin with the tip. It can be round or square, big or small, or anything in between. Whats also important is how high up it is in relation to the nasal cavity. Place it higher up for an up-turned nose, or lower down for a hook-shaped one.

Whether you draw the nostrils or nose-holes next will depend on what kind of nose you’re drawing. If it is up-turned (even slightly) then draw the nose-holes. If it is hooked, then you can skip the nose-holes, they’re somewhere behind that beak-of-a-nose!

The nostrils wrap around the nose-holes, or attach to the sides of the tip.


Check out these examples and just mess around and you’ll get the hang of it fairly quickly.



To draw the lips draw a “u” shape at the top in the middle.

Find the corners of the skulls mouth and connect it to the “u”


Draw a more shallow “u” under the first “u”

Connect that the the corners.

Like the eyes, the lower lip/lid is often not drawn on the male face.  Outlining it fully, will make the lips look more full. To draw the lower lips it helps to think of it as two separate (left and right) sections.


Also, you might want to shade in the upper lip.


This part should be easy. Just basically outline the skull, fleshing it out a little. You might also want to do a little shading. You see the gap where each of the skull’s cheeks would be? The is the area that gets sucked in when you do a fishy-face.  The more you shade this area the thinner your face will appear.

Scan 3


The chin usually begins a short distance from the bottom of the lips. The area in between can be shaded. Like the lips, the chin is divided in half by the symmetry of the body, though it might not always appear that way. When it does, you might experience the much beloved “butt-chin”

Scan 4


Where the ears meet the head should be from the eyes at the top, to around the bottom of the nose. Of course, the ears flare out from where they’re connected, so they’ll reach up at the top, and the earlobes might hang a little down.

The way I simplify the ears from from view is thus.

Scan 6

Scan 5


The cranium is formed by a number of interlocking plates, and so is not a perfectly round form. Exaggerating these plates sizes can lead to very interesting and primitive or hyper-intelligent anatomies. From the front view you can see the the Frontal bone and the Parietal bone of the cranium. The Parietals are on the side, and you can shade them in, as they recede in space.

Scan 7

If you’re not creating floating heads, then click here to check out the next lesson on how to draw the neck.

Oh, and all our character are bald for now, haha. Click here for the Old-School FA! Method for drawing hair!

And if you feel like watching the video version of these lessons, click here.


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