View Full Version : How To: Draw an Elven Face

09-26-2002, 05:00 PM
I was brought to my attention that a tutorial would be nice in this forum, on how to draw an Elven face. So I thought I would tackle the challenge.

I want to say that by no means am I an expert on this. I have only seen a few Elves in my lifetime, and then only in remote places. (they seem to keep to themselves) The first thing that you need to know is that a face is a face. All faces have the same basic ingredients: eyes, nose, mouth, ears(pointed of course), and the like. I have enjoyed the many sketches that I have done on elves, and yet they are mainly for my pleasure. I just happen to let you guys see them, and now here we are having a tutorial.

First thing. Find a piece of paper, get your favorite drawing tool, and just practice drawing the basic shape of an elf head. Remember first, that Elves have a slender head, so make a slender oval to get the feel of this. Now, without posting pics, I am just going to go over the basics, then I will post progress pix so that you can do this too. But for now we will talk about the things that make up an Elven face.

An Elven face, as I said earlier has a slender face. In most elflore, the males have a feminine look about them. Soft features. I still like to maintain bushier eyebrows though. Just my choice. Blonde hair is the general rule too. Mind you anything I say here is subject to each personal choice, so don't write this in stone! The ears seem to be the hardest for some people to do. I try for the most natural looking ears that I can muster. Too large and they look fake, too small and you don't notice them. Have fun with them though. They are like a personalized thing. Each set of ears should not be like any other ears.

This is just the begining. I will start doing some basic drawings and post the progress. I hope that this will serve as a tool for those who want to do an Elf. Later if I can do it justice, I will do the body of an elf too.

Keep that pencil moving!


09-26-2002, 07:32 PM
Nice intro Terry :) Will look for your progress pics :D

09-26-2002, 07:33 PM
Are you going to do a full WC tutorial/article? You really should. We need one for this forum. :D

09-26-2002, 07:37 PM
Originally posted by Elankat
Are you going to do a full WC tutorial/article? You really should. We need one for this forum. :D

I agree with LeAnneKat :clap: :clap: Excellent idea Cap't

09-26-2002, 11:21 PM
Great idea Terry, Thanks!


09-26-2002, 11:50 PM
lol - has Junior been bugging you to??? Great Idea! I'll be sure to keep coming back and checking out your progress and the completed tutorial :D

09-27-2002, 07:52 AM
This is good for a elf/fairy newbie like me Terry so keep it comin'

Chook:D :D :D

09-27-2002, 10:31 AM
Okay, we have gotten familiar with our elf, (not that way) and we know the basics of the face. Narrow, feminine like, and blonde hair. Now letís get to some drawing! I have skipped the basics in drawing the head. I am assuming we have that part down pat. I will say that if you are not sure how to draw a head at all, then I direct you to the many books available to the beginners. At any rate, letís say we have the basic shape of the head, and it is divided into the sections needed to place the eyes, nose, mouth, and so forth. What is needed to bear in mind at all times is what we are drawing. An Elf can look like a normal human in basics, but letís also make him more like an elf with the simple things like a thin nose, softer bone structure, and donít forget the ears!

While we know the eyes and all the oter key components have a basic placement, the hair is not as confined. But in order for it to look right we must make sure to have the right stuff! An Elf would normally be out in the woods, or in some brush and bramble trying to make his way to conqure a troll or something of the like. So the best day for an Elf would be the worst hair day!! You can place the hair on top of the head, but donít lay it right on the skull. Let it float above the head, give it volume. This is a good time to decide whether your elf is going to wear hair pieces. Some will want to keep it simple by letting it toss in the wind. Other elves are more inclined to pull it back and tie ti with leather strips. Whatever you decide, do it now, and rough the hairpiece in place so you can allow for it. Get creative! Hairstyles help define your elf. You donít want all elves looking like they came from Cost Cutters!

This first picture is showing the basics. This is where you should be for the first bit of drawing. Once you have studied this picture, we will move on to the next step!

09-27-2002, 10:34 AM
If you have come this far, then you will enjoy some of the next things in store! Letís finalize the ideas that we have in our head by just getting the ďgoodĒ lines defined, and the ďbadĒ lines we need to get rid of them. Try not to darken your ďgoodĒ lines too much. You may need to alter them later. One of the biggest mistakes in starting a drawing is that we tend to draw hard the first time, then struggle to erase the lines later when we donít need them. Draw like you were using a feather. You can always deepen the lines later.

Here is the key point to being an elf. Pointed Ears! So how does one draw a pointed ear? Well, how about drawing a human ear first? Letís say that you have drawn a human ear, and that you want to convert it into a pointed one. First put a point somewhere up and to the back of the ear. Not too far away, or it will look fake. There are natural lines on the top of the ear sweeping towards the back, and at the bottom of the ear sweeping upwards as well. These two lines must meet at some point. ( thatís how we get pointed ears!) Ahem, anyway let the top line start sweeping towards the back fo the ear, but let the line curve ever so slightly. Donít just make a straight line. As for the bottom line, let it sweep upwards letting it curve on the way up. This allows for the possibility of pointed ears to exist.

Here is a close-up of the ear and what it should look like. Once you takle that, letís move on to the eyes and nose!

09-27-2002, 10:37 AM
This section is really just a recap for those who know how to draw the eyes and the nose. I really want to just let you see how I approach this. Letís first start with the nose. Placement of the nose is crucial. Too high, and it looks wrong. Too wide, no good. And the nostrils them self are not just two dots under the nose. Pay close attention to how the opening of the nostril fades into darkeness of the nose membrane. Ooooh! Just to think that you have your pencil up this elfís nose! Donít make him mad!! The nose is made up of a group of spheres, and a tianular bridge. I want to stress that in order for this elfís nose to look as if it is sticking out from his face, we have to think in 3D! So we may be drawing circles, but we are thinking spheres. Again the nose needs to look dainty (for the lack of a better work) Once you have accomplished the nose to your satisfaction, move on to the eyes!

Eyes to me are the most important part of the face. I know there are arguements to the contrary, but I am not addressing that issure at this point in time. My reason for saying this about the eyes, is that when you are doing an elf,the look in his eyes will tell what he is thinking! You can have a seemingly non-exsistant expression, but the eyes can go deep into the soul! For that very reason, you need to really work the eyes out! The type of eye is up to you. You can do heavy lids, or hidden lids, or just anyway you want. I like to play around with the look of the eye. Most importantly, the eyes need to be looking in the same direction. Some doís and doníts: Donít draw each individual eye lash. Donít make all the hairs in the eyebrow sweep in a uniform direction. Do have fun with the eyebrows and make them have expression! Do make sure you have that glint of sparkle in the eye. That gives it life!!

Okay, any questions so far? Yes , you in the back. (Pause) No we donít have an elf model. Maybe next week!

Okay letís move on!

09-27-2002, 10:39 AM
This is what we have so far! We did the nose, ear, eye, and hair thing....( Feel like Iíve been to a specialist!) Now letís see what we have if we put it all together. You may be aware at this time that I am recreating the elven face that I posted in another thread, I felt it would help you see what you were getting yourself into. At this point we have the essentials for our elf face. The thing that is going to be next on our list is the little features of the face. The laugh line, the little dip under the nose, yes and I know we didnít do the mouth, but you can see how we approacked it. If there is any questions on the mouth, I will elaborate. Even the lower lid of the eye. Itís important to address all of these little details from the start. I will help define your elf. You donít know how you want your elf to look? Okay, get a friend to model for you. They would be flattered! (Trust me!) That is the fun part. Taking someoneís face and turning them into an elf! I do it all the time! I am, after all. Elftaought! (Sorry, I just couldnít resist that!!) At any rate if you have the face to draw from, give a couple of tries until you have basically the same thing I have here. Don't be shy, many drawings will improve your skill. So donít stop at one, draw lots!!!

This being Friday, I will stop the tutorial here. This will give you time to get to this point and feel good about it. We will begin next week by blocking in the areas on the hair for shading, and also on the face. We will also look at toning down the lines and making our elf solid! If this is something that is helping you, feel free to post here or PM me and let me know. I will be happy to continue on with the Elven body, and maybe even some accessories!!

Have a great weekend, and keep drawing those elves!!!

09-27-2002, 12:26 PM
Excellent Coolray.....thank you so much for doing this....it is really helping me with my drawing.

Exits quickly before the elves catch site of me:D

09-27-2002, 12:45 PM
No problem Chris!

If anyone has any questions feel free to ask away! I may not have the exact solution, but I will try me best!!

09-27-2002, 01:19 PM
Excellent! This is a really good start, though I agree with Elankat about making this an official tutorial for this forum. That way people will get just the tutorial and not the comments from the peanut gallery. :D

09-27-2002, 01:26 PM
Okay, can someone please tell me how to make this a tutorial for this forum?

I'm game!

09-27-2002, 02:35 PM
Originally posted by coolray
Okay, can someone please tell me how to make this a tutorial for this forum?

I'm game!

Hi Terry, I think the easiest way is to use the article publisher The Article Publisher (http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/Publisher/) and choose fantasy forum as the place you want it to be seen.

09-27-2002, 03:12 PM
Thanks Animal!

09-27-2002, 03:55 PM
Okay guys and gals!

I am working on an article for this forum. If it all works out, it will be published soon!!!


Coolray the Great Elf (bronzed and chiseled)

09-30-2002, 08:31 PM
*oogling at his bronzed and chiseledness* Thanks coolray. This will be an awsome tutorial/article. Of course we now need to see some more of your artwork too :D

09-30-2002, 09:37 PM
Thank You "Oh Bronzed and Chiseled One"
I look forward to it :D

10-01-2002, 04:01 PM
I spent the weekend working on the article. Needless to say I felt that I had not done the best in describing the process, so I rewrote the first part, and I am now adding some basic construction pics to help with the drawing of the head.

I like how it is going, I just hope you will get the jist of how to draw an elven face when I am done. I am already getting the elf body together as well.

More later, as I finish this article!

Coolray the Grand Elf (chiseled and bronzed)

10-02-2002, 05:53 PM
I now have a near complete article. I will be putting it in the publisher soon. All those who are waiting patiently, it will be ready soon!!


10-02-2002, 06:22 PM
Thank you for letting us know 'chiseled and bronzed one':D
I really look forward to the article:clap: :clap:

10-02-2002, 11:20 PM
Good! This forum needs more articles. I thought about writing one as well, since I thing I can describe thing well, but I donít know what to make it about. Any requests? Ha ha. P.S. coolray, did you see my elvin face? I think we share a similar view of how elves look.


uhmm... dont know how to make that a link, oh well..

10-03-2002, 12:55 PM

Yes I saw your Elf. Very nice! I loved the markings on her face.

I hope to have the article finished on Monday. So everyone be on alert!! (this may be the flop of the year!) *chuckle*


10-08-2002, 02:08 PM
Just about ready!

I am finalizing the text and images for the article. I will then put in the article publisher as soon as I proof read.. I hope you guys enjoy this. I didn't want to bore anyone, but I did go back and start with the basics.

Keep looking.


10-08-2002, 09:19 PM
Originally posted by coolray
Just about ready!

I am finalizing the text and images for the article. I will then put in the article publisher as soon as I proof read.. I hope you guys enjoy this. I didn't want to bore anyone, but I did go back and start with the basics.

Keep looking.


Sweet. I have been waiting mostly patiently.

10-09-2002, 05:59 PM
Tis most gracious of you to wait. It shant be much longer! I am actually having fun with this. Just not having as much time to do it as I had hoped for, but it's getting there.


03-10-2005, 10:39 AM
:wave: Hi,
cant wait............ :clap:

11-19-2008, 10:48 AM
Just something to point out: although often portrayed as such, elves do not necessarily have to sport caucasoid features. Here's an example: