In this tutorial, we will draw Mitch Grassi’s likeness in outline, applying the following principles:
- Work large to small.
- Measure proportions.
- Look for shapes and angles.
We’ll keep it simple by using a reference photo where Mitch is directly facing the viewer.
We will work large to small: start with the outline of the head, placing guides as we go, and then draw the facial features within it. We want to make sure that everything is essentially in its place before we add details, because fully detailed features are more difficult to move than simple outlines.
1. Head Outline
Now, we measure proportions: How does the width of the face at eye level compare to the height? I’m seeing the width as about 2/3 of the height. And where is eye level relative to the top of the head and bottom of the chin? Quite near halfway. If there’s more height above the eyes than below, it’s because Mitch’s hair is sticking up in this photo.
As I study Mitch Grassi’s face to draw it, I’m struck with how perfectly his facial proportions match the general guidelines set forth in Jack Hamm’s classic guide: Drawing the Head and Figure. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in drawing people well; it’s more in-depth and broadly applicable than my tutorials.
Let’s add a few notches to the guides to help us place our face outline and later the facial features within. Hamm advises dividing the line below eye level into fifths: the nose is at 2/5, and the mouth, at 3/5. Mitch’s face conforms to this.
Now, look for shapes and angles. I see an oval in the shape of the top of Mitch’s head, connecting through the cheekbones to the mouth.
Drawing this oval had me noticing that I’d set the width guide too wide, so I brought it in a little.
Slightly below the mouth and a little bit in from the head’s full width, the corners of Mitch’s jaw. (This will vary depending on the face angle on the photo reference.) Mitch’s chin has some rounding, but his jawline is quite angular; I’ve tried to draw what I see.
2. Facial Features
Measure proportions: eye breadth. Mitch’s face conforms to Hamm’s triangle rule: the corners of the eyes and the center of the mouth form the points of an equilateral triangle. (I moved the mouth slightly down during this step, as it looked too high.) The eyes, as usual, are one eye width apart, and the nose is one eye’s width.
Look for shapes and angles. Now that I’ve drawn in the eyes, I’m placing the imaginary eyebrow guides. Now I’m better prepared to place the hairline, which I saw was about halfway between top of head and eyebrows. I’m going to let the hair stick up a bit from the top of the head as I draw it. I’m refining the head shape as I go.
I add the ears: with how Mitch’s head is angled in this photo, they go from a little below eye level to a little below nose level.
3. Check Your Work
Time to remove the guides. I’m leaving in part of that oval below eye level, for Mitch’s cheekbones. Now let’s see if there’s anything to move before adding details.
I’ve brought in the sides of the face a bit, and adjusted the placement of the mouth and chin. I also went ahead and added some detail to the eyes.
Now shaping the eyebrows, nose, and mouth. Mitch has quite an expressive mouth; pay close attention to the curves and draw what you see.
This outline is essentially complete. I see some places where the lips and sides of the head don’t match the photo; I’ll adjust those as I add details.
Mitch’s angular bone structure tends to cast dramatic shadows, so I’ll show a quick-and-messy example of shading Mitch’s face.
I went ahead and made corrections to sides of head and mouth as I went. Adjusting proportions is a continuous part of the drawing process; keep an eye out for anything that’s keeping your drawing from looking like Mitch.
Here’s a recap of the steps:
This post is part of a series on how to draw members of Pentatonix: