We draw faces in photoshop

What will you create

In this lesson, we will learn how to make our character’s face unique: gender, age, ethnicity, and other diverse aspects.

1. Male faces vs. female faces

As in the case of the whole body, it happens that male and female faces are very different, thanks to bright gender features, and it happens that we can observe a certain androgynous ambiguity. In this part you will learn about the characteristic male and female facial features. As required, you can work out the material on your characters.

The very first difference that we see between a male and female face is the jaw: in men it is more delineated, and its shape resembles a square, in women its curve is softer. What is interesting – this difference is present in some animals, for example, in cats. Other facial lines will also be harder on men: a prominent eyebrow line, while on women it is more rounded, as well as a prominent chin.

In general, the female head is smaller than the male head, and the neck of women is thinner. The eyebrows are thinner and neat, and the lips are more plump and their color contrasts more strongly with the skin color; men’s eyebrows are located below and thicker, according to the general trend of more dense hair in men. Male lips are thinner, but the mouth is wider. The eyelashes of an adult woman are longer and stronger, even without makeup.

In profile, we see that the female neck is not only thinner, but more distinctly protruding forward; due to the fleshyness, the men’s neck looks more upright. It also stands out Adam, which is not among women.

Let’s take another look at the proportions of the feet and the palms relative to the face: in men, the width of both the feet and the palms are half the width of the face. The foot, including the fingers, is longer than the face, and the palm to the tips of the fingers is at least about 3/4 the height of the face. In women, roughly speaking, the same story with a width, but the foot is longer than the face, and the palm is a maximum of 3/4 of the height of the face.

2. Face and age

The facial features and proportions change a little with age, which means that it is important to understand how this happens so that you can correctly depict a person of the appropriate age. In this section, we consider the aging of the face and body as a whole; Here you will find general recommendations, and we will look at this topic in more detail in the following sections.

Young faces

Before puberty, there is no particular difference between female and male faces. Sexual dimorphism appears only with the awakening of hormones, but before this happens, the faces and bodies of children are androgynous, and sex can only be determined if we think about it – by clothes and hairstyle.

Babies and children up to 4 years old do not have a superciliary arch, only a soft bend, and also no visible cheekbones, only round cheeks (often with a second chin!). Children’s fullness is an important aspect of age designation; thin children look older than they are. The mouth of the children at this time is small, wrinkled and plump. The eyes are large and appear wide open, because the upper eyelid is not so noticeable. The size of the eyeballs is about the same as that of an adult, but this is not the case with an eye cut, so it seems that in adults the iris is much larger, and the eyes are planted more widely. The eyebrows of children are only half as bright as in adults, so it may seem that blonde babies do not have them at all.

Children (from the age of five) begin to appear contours of the face and chin, but they are still soft. The nose bridge is forming, but the tip of the nose is still slightly raised, and because of this, the nose seems to be short. But the ears, by contrast, begin to grow faster, and look too big. The face (eyes, nose, mouth) occupies a smaller area on the head than in an adult. The neck is thin — relatively thinner than before, since there is no longer child’s fullness, but the muscles are not yet developed, and no thickness is added. The eyebrows are still high, creating that very childlike expression on the face.

Adolescents (from 12 to 17) are in every sense somewhere between children and adults, each feature of the faces of adolescents resembles the features of an adult, but they still have something childish (to varying degrees, depending on whether age to 12 or to 17).

Here the biggest difference from adults is the size of the eyes, which are still large. However, the eyebrows are now thicker and located below, which changes the facial expression. The nose looks longer, but still a little kurnos. And there is an obvious difference between female and male traits. Note that you can make a girl on paper younger without painting her eyelashes; in a stylized drawing they will grow it up.

Adult faces

Young people (18-30 years old) – this is probably the age that we draw “by default”, because this period of life is most celebrated in Western culture. During this period, the facial features are at the peak of their distinctiveness: a chiseled nose, a softened look, thanks to the folds of the eyelids, which are now visible, bones and muscles appear in the contours of the face, rather than soft flesh. Women have the most luscious lips, men have the most dense hairline; dark-haired men often have a shadow around their jaws, even when they are shaved.

At a mature age (40-50 years), no dramatic changes appear, but a few small ones appear: the eyelids become heavier, crow’s feet begin to appear (like other wrinkles: folds at the tips of the lips, between the nose and the lips, and, possibly, at the base nose). In men, hair can begin to thin, although it can happen in the period of 18-30 years.

Old faces

In old age (from 60) all these wrinkles intensify. Folds on the forehead and nose bridge remain on the face forever. Bags appear under the eyes. The skin loses its elasticity and slightly hangs down from the jaws, which leads to a less distinct line of the cheekbones and chin. In women, the eyelashes are no longer visible, and the lips become thinner; men thin their hair to varying degrees, but still it becomes noticeable. Eyebrows may remain dark longer than the hair (if they were originally dark), but they also thin.

Female faces begin to lose femininity, and when a woman reaches the age of 70 years, her hormone levels decrease due to menopause, and the only noticeable difference between men and women is that women’s hair does not thin much, while men by this age they may not stay at all. Veins and age spots appear on the skin, as the skin becomes thinner. The frontal part and the tip of the nose are lowered. The color of the iris becomes less bright as the color of the lips. New wrinkles appear above the lip and on the neck, and the cheeks sink.

3. Individual and ethnic differences

Of course, we know that the eyes, nose, mouth and even the shape of the face of different people can be incredibly very different, and there is no such pair of people (even identical twins) who would have absolutely identical features. The difference in facial features can be conveyed using very simple drawing styles, and is an important tool for creating a variety of characters, as well as drawing the same character over and over.

It is also important to understand that there are certain features that indicate ethnic origin, and it is necessary to depict them well, and not to hide from them, because the skin color is not such a good identifier as we imagine. For example, in the image below, despite the complete absence of color, we are well aware that these people have different ethnic origins – the shape of the face here serves as a brighter identifier than the skin color.

In fact, analysis of the features of people of different nationalities requires an approach in which each ethnotype would be considered individually, but here I will only note important and useful points in order to present you a variety of characteristics, instead of trying to “accurately” depict any specific nationality.

Face Form

This diagram depicts the various forms of individuals that we encounter in everyday life (in fact, they are, of course, not so sharp):

  • Oval: face in the form of an inverted egg, where the narrowest place is the chin, and the widest is its middle.
  • Ellipse: long face, almost the same width. Can be wide or narrow.
  • Triangle and heart shaped: they represent the same shape, in the sense of the widest (upper part) and narrowest (sharp chin) facial areas, but the first form has a straight hairline, and the second has a widow’s cape.
  • Round: it seems equal in length and width, with a rounded jaw line and hair growth.
  • Square: it seems to be equal in length and width, with a line of chin and hair growth in the shape of a square.
  • Rectangle (or long): as a square, but longer than wide
  • Pentagon: like a rectangle, but a narrow chin creates more angles.
  • Diamond: narrow chin and forehead, the widest place is the middle of the face
  • Pear shaped (or trapezoidal): the widest place is the chin, the narrowest is the forehead, a very powerful jaw line.

Surprisingly, even the skull itself gives a hint about ethnic origin, since its morphology is different. For example, when the bones are shifted, as if, the face seems narrow – this is typical of Western ethnic groups. On the other hand, it happens when the bones of the skull protrude and diverge to the sides, and the face looks round and “flat” in profile.

Compare the skulls below, and the morphology of the face of the Chinese (Asian) and Indian (Indo-Neuropoid) resulting from this. To see this difference even more clearly, take a look at photos of real people, and you will notice how deeply planted the Europoid face is in comparison with Asian, it is something like a low and high relief.

The depth of the skull also varies, and is divided into three main types. The easiest way to see the difference between them, when viewed from the top down. The angle is rather strange, but this feature also affects the way a person looks in profile.

The mesocephalus, the middle type, is the type of skull that we use as an example when studying basic proportions. In the diagram below, you can also see the brachycephalic skull, which has a smaller volume, and the width is the same as in length, and by drawing it, you need to reduce the volume. As for dolichocephalus, in this case the length of the skull will be greater than the width, while drawing it add a little volume to the back of the skull.

While the depth of the skull was originally related to the origin, these three types do not correspond to the three ethnic families, but can be found in each of them.


Eye shape

The following are well-known forms of eyes that do not depend on ethnic origin:

Almond-shaped eyes are characterized by the fact that they are raised vertically at the outer corner. Eyes with an impending eyelid, which a person can have both from birth and develop at a later age, the skin fold hides the natural line of the eyelid. In deep-set eyes, the fold of the eyelid is as if pushed back so that the upper eyelid is hidden in the shadow. Round eyes appear more open than usual due to a stronger bend in the lower part. Sleepy eyes are characterized by drooping eyelids. In the eyes downward, the outer corner of the eye is bent down.

The shape of the eye, which should be studied separately, differs by ethnic origin: the eye of Asian.

The most widely known identifier of the Asian ethnotype is the Mongol fold or epicanthus (https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epicantus). This is the fold of the skin of the upper eyelid, from the nose to the inner edge of the eyebrow, which hides the inner corner of the eye. As a result of this, the inner corner appears to be located lower, and the eye appears tilted (or almond-shaped). How much the inner corner of the eye is hidden and how distinct the fold is at the outer corner – the degree of both these characteristics can vary. When the eye is closed, the inner corner is noticeably tilted downwards.

There are two variations of Asian eyes. One is known as a double eyelid: the fold of this type of eye is the same as that of Caucasians, but closer to the eyelashes. In the second variation, known as a single eyelid, there is no crease at all (and, as a result, there is no need to draw a “line of the century”), only smooth, “puffy” skin over the eye.

If you compare the eyes of other ethnotypes with Asian ones, then they will seem larger, due to the lack of epicanthus, and because the inner corner of the eye is always open. In the west, it is often said that the farther to the north, the smaller the eyes, while in the Mediterranean the eyes are so large that they seem feminine. In western and northern Europe, an external fold may be present above the eye, due to which the eyes may look as if they are baggy. At a minimum, this bagginess manifests itself in old age, along with age-related wrinkles; other nations may age more smoothly (if there is no exposure to the strong influence of the sun and wind, the skin of Asians is surprisingly smooth and in relatively old age).

Notice that some Native Americans (read the Indians) have an epicantus (and this indicates that they are descended from Asians), while others have more eyes similar to Caucasoid with a powerful outer fold.

Eye color

Basically, the eyes are either brown or blue, well, there is another rare color – green. All eye colors come from the above three, sometimes with the addition of a yellow or red-brown pigment.

Gray is usually just a variation of the blue pigment. Light gray appears almost white, while gray has a hue, and appears gray-green or gray-blue. Blue varies from light to dark. Violet eyes, which, by the way, are very rare, are simply blue eyes, through which blood vessels can be seen, this effect is obtained due to the superposition of gray and red.

The true green color of the eyes, which differs from light-brown or gray-green, is very rare, and is found only in some nationalities (for example, the Irish and Afghan Pashtuns). Blue-green eyes are very rare and contain both blue and green pigment, there may be a green ring around the pupil.

Amber eye color (not light green) appears due to the presence of yellow or red-brown pigment in light green eyes. Light brown eye color contains green pigment, which seems to be superimposed on brown. Brown eye color is light and dark. And, in fact, there are no “black” eyes – these are just very dark brown eyes, which can be seen if a direct beam of light falls on them.

Please note that this tablet shows only the primary colors of the eyes that are inherited, and a pair of random (purple, blue-green). There are several unpredictable “special effects” that are not genetically transmitted and are not shown here: rings around the pupil or iris, specks, etc. And the very rare color of albino eyes, pink-red – albino has low pigmentation, and color blood vessels are attached to the eyes.


The main forms of the nose are shown below. All but the last two can be found in Caucasians (we will assume that these are all ethnotypes from western Europe and northern Africa to India). The nose is, of course, one of the brightest identifiers of Caucasians, as it protrudes forward, has a high bridge of nose, and most often has depressed wings. In Asians, the nose is usually small, with a low nose bridge, not much protruding; the characteristic African nose is round and flat, with flared wings of the nose connected to its tip. While in the Asian and African noses the nostrils are visible from the front, in the Caucasians the nostrils are more often seen from the sides, if they are visible at all.

  • Crochet: has a crook in profile
  • Impending: the tip is lowered very low, the effect of aging
  • Eagle: resembles an eagle’s beak. In fact, it has a more or less noticeable arc-like bend.
  • Roman: can be said slightly aquiline
  • Greek: flat in profile with not pronounced nose
  • A button: round and small, the tip is raised, but slightly, so that the nostrils are not visible. The children’s version does not mean anything, since almost all children have noses identical.
  • Snub: has a reverse eagle bend
  • Snub, or dull, or pug’s nose: short and upturned nose. It is found in Asians.
  • Funnel-shaped: characteristic of Africans, but not all!


Below are the most common types of lips. They can be accentuated or even created with the help of makeup, but in women, in principle, the lips stand out more. In men, these types do not look so obvious (and their lips are relatively less complete). Also note that in children the lips are usually thinner, have less texture, and their color is more close to the skin color than in adults.

  • Natural and pointed natural – these are two options for the most common lip shape (from the European point of view)
  • Thin lips: often only the upper lip is thin, and very rarely the other way around.
  • Bow: exaggerated feminine form.
  • Monoguba: The peaks of the upper lip are combined in one line.
  • Plump: narrow and very full, this form was very fashionable in the early 20s, usually achieved with makeup
  • Shapeless: wide lips with far peaks, popular in 40s.
  • Glamorous: upper lip is fuller than lower lip.

Other facial features


Although the beauty industry pays a lot of attention to the ears, as parts of the body on which you can hang decorations, we do not have a complete catalog of descriptions of the ears, as for the eyes, the nose and the lips. However, the ears are very individual, and I have noted several types below.

The C-shaped auricle can be round, but also slightly square or sharp (of course, not as sharp as mountain peaks). The ear can be narrow and appear pressed or it can stick up – in this case, if we look at the head in profile, the ear will not be flat, but angled at which we can see its edge. And, finally, the lobe may be separated from the face, in the shape of the letter “U” or attached to it; in the latter case, it will look like its absence. And, of course, these characteristics can manifest themselves in varying degrees.


The shape of the eyebrows is determined by two factors: their overall shape and the height of their arc. Women’s eyebrows are thinner, as they are usually pulled out (and, accordingly, they change the natural shape), and men’s eyebrows are wider and thicker, their shape is not always “clear”, as men leave their eyebrows in their natural state. Below are the main forms of eyebrows in men and women with low and high arc.


Hair growth lines are also different, below you will see their main types, but there are also modifications. Hairline is different in men and women. With age, women’s hair almost does not thin as much as men.

4. Practice Time

  • Observe the facial features and draw them consciously and separately to figure out how they look from different angles, as well as to create a library of different shapes (if you often find yourself drawing the same shape, this exercise will help you beyond). You can watch people in life, or use photos or illustrations. Work on one feature per day: today you only look at the eyebrows and draw only them, tomorrow only the noses, then the outlines of the faces, and so on.
  • Collect all this information in a bunch and try to create your own unique and diverse faces.

Posted by: Joumana Medlej

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