New Home Forums Course Ideas & Outlines Drawing Faces: Outline

4 replies, 5 voices Last updated by  RebeccaLaChance 8 years ago
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    JoAnn Turner

    So, following the “less is more” principle (see, I WAS listening! 🙂 ) I’m sticking to very basic instructions for how to draw a face. My WHO for this class may include people who know how to draw and just want more direction than they’ve had, but I’m really aiming this at people who have NO FREAKIN’ CLUE and feel unsure about their abilities.

    Seriously, I’m in a big online art class right now, with people at every level of ability and experience, and the degree of fear and even shame people have about drawing, especially faces, is unbelievable. So a very basic gentle class is what I’m aiming at here.

    Here are my 10 transformations, or expectations, for the course.

    By the end of each session, students should be able to:

    1.  See and render light falling on a sphere, shade a sphere
    2. Create a simple face shape and lay in features using a formula, shade and highlight
    3. Understand facial structure and proportions
    4. Draw features
    5. See the different elements of facial expressions and draw those
    6. Render all 3 main positions of a face: front, profile, 3/4
    7. See differences between front and side views of a face and adjust accordingly
    8. Understand light and highlights, shadows – seeing them, making decisions when drawing from memory
    9. Start with nothing, do pencil sketch, add in hair, create facial expression, shade, etc.
    10. Create a face from nothing (with or without prompts such as a photo)

    Bonus: a few different styles of drawing or painting faces: whimsy art, Manga, fashion drawing

    I envision this as 5 modules with 2 of the points above in each. Some points flow into the next and I’ve designed this with a certain flow in mind. It’s easier to start with “here’s light falling on a ball; notice where the highlight is, and where the darkest line of shadow is” then move on to something more interesting and refer back to that later, than interrupt our flow as we get into the good stuff of eyes and mouths and expressions to make everybody think about shading a dumb old white sphere. And working with the sphere helps make sense of why noses and foreheads are lighter than the sides of the face.

    I’m imagining this as a course that can be freestanding, so a student can register at any time. At the moment I think it might be more useful if someone is taking a course in a specific style of art and feels the need to master faces first, they can come on over and just do this unit.

    Although it might be better to run it as an interactive class first so I can get feedback right away. If students aren’t getting something, better to find out and be able to correct it right then, than have them go away mad and I never know why.


    Jessica Antonelli

    Great outline @joannturnip!

    It’s funny I just taught a lesson this week on painting the face and I followed almost exactly the same lesson plan! Sphere and all!

    I found kicking it off with that exercise is essential since those complete beginners still don’t know how to use the materials to blend the values without a lot of explicit instruction. I’m curious to see which materials you will be using, it looks like it’s going to be a great class!


    Bradley Morris
    Mountain Guide

    This is so great @JoAnnTurnip. You’ve got a really clear layout that seems to fit together great. I’m excited to see if anymore elements come into play as you go further along the Creatora Heights trail.  Amazing job!


    Deb Robson

    JoAnn, I also like the bonus ideas of different styles. That’s a way of validating the different ways of seeing and representing things in art, including faces. Often with One Way presented, it seems that there is only One Way. AND I think having these as bonuses is perfect. I think most or all students will explore them, and they’ll in part feel like they’re engaged in discovering what their own place in this visual world might be–even more so than if these were part of the main lesson plan.



    I like your idea of running the class as interactive for the first run.  A good way to get feedback for fine tuning the course into something “evergreen”.

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