Drawing Class: Before and After : when I follow the rules and when I don’t.

Pssssst….I have a secret to tell you: I don’t diagram out every single face I draw.  

Scandalous, I know! Wasn’t our last tutorial all about mapping / diagramming / drawing crazy amounts of lines all over the place to draw a perfectly proportioned head?

Yup.  BUT but but: When I am sketching in my sketchbook I don’t impose any rules or constraints.  My sketchbook is a place for free form ideas to flow, a mess of scribble doodlings where I draw whatever pops into my head. I envy all the artists who have beautiful art journals and sketchbooks that look like fully formed Art Books.

Its easy to get caught up in rules, but this is art and you shouldn’t be afraid about doing it wrong.

You’re developing skills you can continue to develop, refine, and use for the rest of your life and there really isn’t a wrong way to do that.  

But this is how I do it:

  1. The initial sketching is a brain dump, a warm up exercise, and a safe place for me to get my ideas onto paper.
  2. If I like an idea then I refine it.  Clean up the scribble bits edit and refine the idea.
  3. Then I redraw the original sketch following the figure guidelines.

Refine the sketch

I made a side by side Before and After comparison to illustrate the process. The original sketch is on the left and it is very loose and kind of wonky.  I took all the elements from the left side and redrew it on a clean sheet of paper. I wanted her face to have perfect features so I mapped her facial features following the rules. From there I refined the piece even more with shading: defining the details I wanted to bring out (her eyes) and mapping the highlights and shadow for painting.

This piece needs another round of refining before I paint, I don’t like her helmet of hair and I have to perfect her tattoos.

Color study

I don’t always use all these steps: if I love the energy of the original sketch I don’t want to refine it to death.  For this painting I loved the flow of her hair so I transferred it to the final piece.  Then I diagrammed the facial features on the finished piece without redrawing it multiple times.

Practice, practice, practice,  and you will learn the process that works for you.

In this free drawing series I’m sharing all the basics of a how to draw and paint a pretty female face so please share these tutorials with anyone you think would love free drawing and painting lessons.

Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, whatevs – just link back to me pleaseandthankyou!

Did you miss a step?


  • How to Mix Custom Skintone Colors (Included in the How to Paint Eyes lesson)
  • How to Choose a Canvas
  • Types of Paint : Quick and Easy Explanation and Reviews
  • Types of Brushes: Quick and Easy Explanation and Reviews (I’m feeling a theme here)
  • Gesso, Mediums, + more: demystifying the whys and whens of using primers and mediums
  • How to Incorporate Mixed Media and Collage elements
  • Where do I go from here?
  • Pinterest drawing and painting Inspiration

I know there will be a lot more additions to this list too, just like today’s post.  I’m a classically trained artist and I’ve been drawing and painting for 15 years now so there will always be extra bits of info I remember while I am creating my tutorials.

If you have questions go ahead and leave a comment so I can answer them & add them to the tutorial.

Have fun drawing!

<3 Kat

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