How to Draw Facial Features


Want to learn how to draw facial features more accurately? Gary Faigan, drawing instructor, teaches us to draw the underlying pattern of the face first. This is a review of an online art class by Bluprint.

Learning How to Draw Facial Features
This post contains affiliate links. Remember how much we all got out of that printable on drawing faces?

Well, after drawing some faces with that, I decided to take an actual class on how to draw facial features to see the techniques in action and to dive more in-depth into portrait drawing.

The class is another online drawing class on Bluprint, which means that I’ve been able to take it at my own pace, from the comfort of my own home. As before, this post was sponsored by Bluprint (formerly Craftsy); all opinions expressed are my own. 

Gary Faigin, the instructor for this facial features drawing class, is also the co-founder of the Gage Academy of Art and the author of The Artist’s Complete Guide to Facial Expression.

He SO knows his stuff!

Just the very first two lessons were game changing for me.

How to Draw Facial Features with an Online Bluprint Class

Facial Patterns

Gary teaches that drawing the patterns of the face—the skull shape, the eye sockets, the nose area—will result in a more accurate and recognizable portrait than if you start with the details (such as the eyes) and go from there.

In fact he demonstrated that everyone has their own face pattern and that we can recognize ourselves and those we know by general facial patterns even when no details are present.

“Your sketches will improve as you train your eye to follow the lines of the skull.” – Gary Faigin

Online Drawing Class

Talking about the skull structure underneath, he showed that we need to learn how to draw it so that we can learn how to draw facial features better. And he illustrated this by drawing the skull of a full-size skeleton he had at hand (Mr. Bones) and also by sketching the imagined skull of his live model side by side with the portrait.

Now, this class was all about how to draw facial features, so obviously he taught how to dive in and get the details right—the eyes, nose, ears, lips, etc.

But, he reiterated that we need to start with the general pattern of the face and understand the bone structure underneath so that the finished portrait is more accurate.

“The secret to portrait drawing is not the thing itself, but the thing in relationship to everything else on the head.” – Gary Faigin

Here are some photos of what the kids and I have been drawing, inspired by this class…

Drawing Skulls and Skeletons

Skeletons and skulls…

Maia Drawing a Sugar Skull

A sugar skull…

Experimenting with Charcoal Drawing
Some experimenting with vine charcoal…

Daphne Drawing a Self Portrait

A self portrait…

Self Portrait Drawing for Kids
With lots of detail, both observed and imagined.

Self Portrait and Photo
And another self portrait.

Drawing Facial Features Craftsy Class

Want to learn how to draw facial features better or do you know someone who does?

Then I recommend you sign up to take this Bluprint class! It is excellent! Click the link below to learn more or sign up.

Drawing Facial Features with Gary Faigin

How to Draw Facial Features with an Online Bluprint Class

This post was sponsored by Bluprint (formerly Craftsy); all opinions expressed are my own. 

More Posts About Online Art Classes We’ve Taken with Bluprint

Improving Our Drawing Skills (and more) with Free Bluprint Guides


  • Reply
    October 29, 2014 at 9:05 am

    You are amazing…where do you get the time to do all the things you do?! It’s fun reading and inspirational and… I’m in a learning process…one day…:-) :-)

    • Reply
      Jean Van't Hul
      October 29, 2014 at 9:22 am

      Thanks, Kathleen! But I have to admit that there’s a lot that doesn’t get done, too! There are plenty of household tasks that I pretty much suck at. I’d much rather be doing something creative!

  • Reply
    Katie Harding
    October 30, 2014 at 9:16 am

    This is so cool! Our eldest is become more artistic and my husband and I are trying to find more ways to let him express his creative side and this is great for a weekend craft idea! Thanks for sharing as always!

  • Reply
    November 14, 2019 at 6:40 am

    would you mind to share your source for the table top drawing board with the paper roll?

  • Reply
    April 23, 2020 at 8:41 am

    thank you so much for the link! i can’t believe how inexpensive it is! i was going to see about my dad making one, but it is so reasonable, i’m going to order it!!!!! CAN’T wait for it to arrive!

  • Reply
    April 23, 2020 at 8:46 am

    i’m back with another question. i would like to try experimenting with the vine charcoal too. i see it is available in the xsoft, soft, medium & hard. do you have a suggestion as to which to start with? i have a 7 year-old who is wanting to work on her facial feature drawing. will also be used by a 10 year-old & 5 year-old (an their 42 year-old mother :) also, was going to order from dick blick. do you have a favorite source for things? THANK YOU for all you do to encourage art!!!!

    • Reply
      Jean Van't Hul
      April 23, 2020 at 3:15 pm

      Hi Laura! I usually just buy the vine charcoal at our local art store. That’s something I haven’t purchased online yet, but Dick Blick would be great for that sort of thing. I usually get vine charcoal in soft or medium.

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