SI Youth Sketchers: Let’s Face It!

Before the winter holidays our youth sketching crew participated in a 4-week course introducing the basics of drawing realistic human faces. They also drew faces of animals and fantastic creatures as well. Everyone agreed that making human faces look real is one of their biggest challenges in drawing. Helen, a 16-year-old SI sketcher, commented on how she really wants to improve drawing Manga characters. But realizes that learning to draw realistic people is an important step in creating better Manga people. So we mixed the real stuff with what this crew loves to do—drawing from the imagination. In the above photo Hannah (facing camera) and Megan get focused on the proportions of a plaster cast statue bust.

Scroll down to view everyone’s work.

Each lesson emphasized blocking in basic shapes of the face and head, measuring proportions, placement of facial features, and contour lines. Students then adapted the lesson to concept art exercises and their own free drawing.


Plaster casts make great models because they never move! In the above photos, our youth sketchers study realistic, accurate proportions while using charcoal.


Our first lesson focused on drawing profile views of the human face. We started by doing study sketches of a skull to learn about the overall shape of the head and how to sketch guidelines to place facial features. Then everyone sat on the drawing horses to draw the profile views of each other, a great introduction to drawing people from real life.



As they faced each other, students had 40 minutes to draw accurate proportions of the head and features of the model’s face. Because the model was always moving, capturing a likeness was a fun challenge. Megan kept telling Hannah to hold still! Above left is Helen capturing a likeness of Rena, hat and all. Shown above right is a portrait sketch of Helen drawn by Hannah.


One of our most interesting and challenging lessons was to ‘morph’ a face of a human character into an animal; then animals into other animals or creatures. The imaginations of our young artists really shined through in their sketches! Shown clock wise, starting above left: Rena cranks out amazing morph and face study sketches; Rena character morph sketch; Helen’s realistic dog to cartoon cat; Hannah’s favorite musician turns into a gazelle.


Students drew from work by Leonardo da Vinci and Corot to learn about measuring proportions and feature placement of front and profile views. Then students were told to pretend they had 20 minutes to create a storyboard for an animation director. They had to include the sketch of the Girl with the Beret (by Corot) in a visual story using different camera angles and zooms. It was really fun to watch these future concept artists in action.

And now… for studies and drawings by our SI studio youth sketchers…