How to Draw African American Faces

Written by shae hazelton
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When drawing, switching from culture to culture can sometimes be a difficult task; so many faces are different already but when switching cultures the facial differences vary greatly. Drawing the face of an African American, however, can be fun and rewarding. African Americans generally have broad, attractive features that allow you to add plenty of detail that you could not add one someone with more petite features. Following some simple guidelines can help you get a satisfactory result.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Pencil
  • Pen
  • Paper
  • Eraser

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  1. 1

    Lightly draw the outline of the face. You will not add any facial features like the nose or the mouth in this step. Just create the shape of the head, cheeks and chin. Create a faint, vertical line down the centre of your facial outline (do not worry, you will erase it later) and two horizontal lines going through the location reserved for the eyes and the mouth. These lines work as a kind of graph to help keep the face properly proportioned.

  2. 2

    Start outlining the eyes. Draw the eyes as faint circles at first to make sure you like the position of them. Add more detail to your circles, creating the almond shape eyes usually have. Avoid drawing the eye with the whole pupil visible---this might result in a very startled look (unless that is what you want)---by keeping part of the pupil covered by the eyelid. Ensure both pupils are looking in the same direction as well. Lines above the eyelid represent the contours of the skin where the bone opens into the eye socket.

  3. 3

    Draw a circle in the centre of the face to represent the point of the nose (an African American's nose is usually very broad). Add nostrils to the right and the left of the circle you have drawn. Darken the lines on the side of the nose that casts a shadow. The bridge of the nose will be more apparent on the shadowed side of the face.

  4. 4

    Draw a line to represent the length and shape of the mouth. This should only be for the opening of the mouth, not the lips just yet. Remember, your mouth is not simply a straight line, so do not be afraid to add some shape to your drawing's mouth. Trace the shape of your lower lip. African Americans have very full lips, so feel free to extend the lip down as far as you want (as long as it stays on the face) and then create the curve of the upper lip. Try to keep the upper lip realistically proportionate to the bottom lip.

  5. 5

    Create some ears off to the sides of the face. The bottom of the ears should begin at height of the mouth and the tops should end right at the eyes.

  6. 6

    Trace over all of the lines you want to keep with a pen. Erase all remaining lines from your facial graph and circle of the nose that you do not want to keep once the ink has dried. Now you should be able to see the full extent of your work.

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