Drawing People
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If you are drawing or painting people:

Get the proportions right before you do anything else.

Do not shade.  Do not ink. Do not go over your lines.  Not until you step back and confirm that your proportions are right.

If your proportions are wrong, the picture will look bad.  Period.  

The facial features need to be the right distance away from each other.  They need to be the right height and width relative to the face.  They need to be drawn at the correct rotation.  The details, like nostrils and eyelids, need to be accurate.  The head needs to fit the body.  And so on.


To confirm your proportions:

1) Take a 10-20 minute break and come back to get objectivity. Better yet, wait a day.

2) Turn the picture upside down.

3) Flip it horizontally. (Use a mirror in real life.  Most computer drawing programs have a flip function.)

4) Google image search some people, look at them for a minute, then look at your drawing.

5) Compare your picture and the reference side by side.

6) Use your finger or a ruler and measure the distance between features as well as their widths comparative to each other. (For example, the eyes are normally one eye-width apart.)

7) Review a graphic, website or youtube video on anatomy.  This will remind you of the rules of placement (where the nose fits in the face) as well as techniques for drawing them correctly (tricks for drawing the nostrils).  


Once you are sure the proportions are right, sketch in the details of the features lightly--then repeat the process above.  Again, if the features are wrong, the picture will look bad.  I have seen plenty of drawings with professional quality linework and shading, whose features were off an iota in a couple of places.  And the first impression they gave me was: "This is wrong!"

Humans have a part of their brain specificially designed to analyze human faces.  Keep that in mind when drawing people and get your sketch right before you commit to linework, coloring, value, and all the finishing touches.

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