In this tutorial, I will be teaching you how to draw a lady. More specifically, I’ll teach you how to draw a lady who is eating a breakfast bar. This might seem oddly niche, but the techniques that I will teach you in this tutorial can help you figure out how to draw women in various settings who are engaging in different behaviors.
First, we will need drawing paper and pencils. For this drawing, a mechanical pencil with 0.5mm and 0.7mm lead was used, as well as a 7B pencil. An eraser may also be handy just in case you make mistakes along the way. Once you’ve got all your supplies, continue along with me to learn how to draw a woman eating a breakfast bar!
Draw the Outline and Shade the Eyes
First, draw an outline of the shape and size of the head. The head should take up just about as much space on your paper and it does in the reference photo.
After you’ve drawn the outline, create two lines for where the eyes and mouth are placed, and add a basic outline of the hand.
Draw all of this as light as possible with a 0.5mm pencil.
Outline the woman’s basic features, such as the fingers, fingernails, hair, mouth, eyes, and nose in proportion to the size of the head.
Feel free to use something to measure out the right location of all of these features. Also keep in mind that the woman’s head is slightly turned away from you, so the eyes and other features won’t be directly in the middle.
Focus more on drawing the eyes in their proper location and draw some more detail around them. Make the outlines darker to indicate simple shadows and draw an extra line just above the right eye for the eyelid. Above that, draw the eyebrows.
Contour the eyes and eyebrows in more detail by shading around the eyelids and in the inner eye, and by darkening the eyebrows. Color in the iris, but leave a small white section on the left of the pupil for the shine spot. Further, create some soft lines under the eye.
After the eyes are positioned properly and shaded, turn your focus to the nose. The nose must be in the right position in relation to the eyes and mouth, otherwise it will look a bit strange. If you already outlined it in the right position, make the lines a bit thicker and add some shadow on the left side and where the nostrils are located.
Add in darker lines for the clothes and body shape. At this point, you should clearly define where the woman’s shoulders, blouse collar, and undershirt collar are located. You should also add in the suggestion of the shoulder seam on the woman’s shoulder and the lines created by her arm.
Add Detail to the Hair
Create the outline of the woman’s hair. Follow the shape of her hair and its natural waves around the face and shoulders according to the reference picture. However, remember not to distort the face while adding this and always keep the pencil lines soft.
To create depth within the hair, start adding several lines to indicate how the hair is moving around the face and shoulders. These lines should also be kept relatively soft and can be done rather quickly. Don’t worry too much about this part; the lines are just to help guide you during shading, they aren’t final.
Shade the Hand, Breakfast Bar, and Mouth
Switch to a 0.7mm pencil and start contouring the hand. The darkest shadows will be on the thumb just below the breakfast bar and under the fingers. Shade around the fingernails, as well, to create depth and add some shading to show where the woman’s wrist is and where her palm is creased.
Continue adding shadow to the hand by drawing in the crease lines at the base of the thumb. The center of the palm also needs more shading to show where it creases and the fingers all need shading to appear three-dimensional. You can should also start adding some shading to the breakfast bar near the woman’s fingertips.
Keep shading along the breakfast bar as you get closer to the woman’s mouth. There should be a line roughly one-fifth up from the bottom of the breakfast bar. This indicates that the bar is 3D as opposed to it being a two-dimensional object.
Start on the woman’s mouth. Shape the lips first and make sure they are in proportion with the face. The ends of the mouth should be roughly in line with the lines coming down from the woman’s nose.
Next shape the teeth. You’ll have more top teeth to draw in than bottom teeth. And the top teeth should be longer than the bottom ones.
After the mouth and teeth are outlined, begin shading. The lips are dark because the woman in the reference picture is wearing lipstick. They may be lighter if you are drawing them with no lipstick. Meanwhile, the teeth are lightly shaded around the edges and along the gums. Don’t forget to shade the inside of the mouth.
Shade the Head and Neck
Place slight shadows on the neck underneath the woman’s chin. These shadows should be very light – we’ll darken it later on. Also shade the woman’s ear. Most of it is covered by her hair, so you just need to shade darkly under the earlobe and around the earring.
Go back to the hair and add in more lines. These lines should be closer together and may vary in darkness. It is often best to begin with smaller portions of hair, such as the hair below the ear and the hair on the woman’s right side. Also add some shading to the woman’s undershirt and her chest. Make sure the shirt’s collar is clearly visible.
Keep adding lines to the hair. Check where the hair is placed in the reference picture and add lines according to how the hair is arranged. For this section, it may be best to start at the part, which should in the middle of the woman’s face. The hair at the center of the part should curve downward slightly to indicate that the hair is parted.
Place lines completely throughout the hair. Keep the lines of the front strands darker than the lines in the back, but make sure you make some lines a bit darker around the curls in the woman’s hair. Once you have all the hair strands drawn in, most of the shoulder line should be covered.
Return to the eyes and add more contrast. Make the pupil and eyelids darker, but keep the highlight that you placed in both irises earlier. Lengthen the eyelashes a bit to make them more visible and add shadows around at the edges of the eyes and in the inner corner around the nose.
Finish Shading the Rest of the Picture
Places shadows throughout the entire picture. This includes adding some shadow around the nose and bridge of the nose, on the cheek and on the arm. You also need to shade around some of the creases in the woman’s clothing.
At this point, you can stop drawing and you’ll still have a beautiful picture. However, the next several steps really help add detail and shading.
Switch to your 7B pencil and begin darkening some of the shadows. Place darker lines throughout the woman’s hair. And go back to some shaded areas to make them appear closer to black.
Return to the hair and start adding volume and depth. Fill in the entire area with darker strands, but make sure you have some contrast so the hair doesn’t look flat. The hair in the very front should be slightly lighter to indicate light.
Do this on the other side of the head, as well. All of the hair on this side should be kept dark since the woman’s face keeps in in shadow. However, some areas are darker than others due to overlapping. For example, the section of hair right on the shoulder is darker than the curl just above it.
Go back over the entire picture and make the shadows on the head, neck, and arm more visible. As you add more shading to the face, remember that the area facing farthest from you is dark, so the shadows around the mouth and nose should be darker. Also add some shading to the woman’s clothing, particularly around the creases and folds created by her arms.
At this point, you can start adding in the darkest blacks. Shade in the hair more by creating some dark black lines along the back. Add a few in the front, as well, so the hair doesn’t look two-toned. Color the undershirt black and darken some of the areas around the woman’s mouth and eyes. For the highlights in the irises, use a white pencil to create contrast.
Add more shading in accordance to the reference picture until you have a final drawing that you are happy with. I added more shadow around the woman’s face and forehead to create a more 3D appearance. I also shaded the breakfast bar more completely and added more depth to the hair.
And there you have it! A lesson about how to draw a lady.
As I mentioned earlier, the techniques that you learned in this tutorial will likely come up again as you continue to learn how to draw people. Even though this tutorial taught you how to draw a lady, don’t be afraid to apply these techniques to other drawings, including animal or landscape drawings.
Before I go, let me add a few quick tips for next time:
- If you had some trouble getting the shading right with this tutorial, consider printing out your next reference picture in black and white. This makes it easier to see the shades you need and helps create a more accurate photograph.
- Work with natural light to get the most accurate shades.
- If you are right-handing, let the light come from the left side.
- And, while you draw, place a paper under your hand. This keeps you from smudging your drawing and keeps your hand cleaner.
Note: I would like to thank artist Lumjete Havolli for contributing her drawings and tips for this tutorial!