Trace that Face

By | May 24, 2012

Today’s Daily Create is to FACE TRACE! I use this ALL THE TIME! So much that it’s worthy of a blog post.

Daily Create Instructions: Use a photo of a face. Use a draw tool or your finger to draw all lines of the face on top of it. Delete the photo leaving the tracing.

I started by importing a picture of my very lovely daughter onto my iPad using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.


cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by giulia.forsythe


cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by giulia.forsythe
I changed the opacity of the photograph on the layer before and added a new layer. All my drawing is done on the top layer. I cannot emphasize enough how much I LOVE and LIVE for layers. This is the main reason I don’t like 53 Paper NO layers! (that I can find, unless that’s some kind of extra in-app purchase?

I’m using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro but Taptrix Brushes works well too. In fact, sometimes Brushes is better because it records your brush strokes, as you will see from Tim’s excellent face trace.

In fact, Tim’s video reminded me that last week someone asked if I ever record video of me drawing. Dean Shareski made a short video at unpluggd but other than that, no, I never even thought that would be interesting.

I always aim to please, so here you go:

I sped the video up 400% using iMovie so you wouldn’t have to sit through all 7 minutes.

6 thoughts on “Trace that Face

  1. Alan Levine (@cogdog)

    This is awesome! The video gives us such an idea of the attention to detail that works so well in the final drawing, And it shows how important those eyes are in drawings.

    Wow, it makes me want to try this one again.

  2. Martha

    This is so awesome. Thank you for taking the video and sharing it. Watching the process is so instructive!

  3. Shannon

    Yes! Thanks for sharing the video. It is always helpful for me to see people who know what they are doing. We learn by imitating, right? 🙂

  4. Doo Wop Girl

    Didn’t think the video would be interesting? Hahaha, everyone loved it. It really is very instructive and your drawing is beautiful. I bet dropping the opacity of the photo you’re tracing is extremely helpful for capturing the right details, the essential lines that make the face. Often in traced drawings people trace every line they see, but in a line art drawing that can make a person look older and more wrinkled because the lines don’t vary in tone and shading the way photo does. You captured the essential elements of your daughter’s face so beautifully. Thanks for sharing your process!

  5. Phil

    Thanks for aiming to please! I’ve passed excellent this blog/video on to several friends who were asking how I did tracings in Sketchbook.

    BTW for anyone who wants to know the differences between the free Sketchbook Express and the ~$4.99 Sketchbook Pro: it’s the ZOOM that makes all the difference. Watch how how Giulia does her daughter’s eyes. It’s virtually impossible to draw those details without the zoom function. It COULD be done — but given the iPad’s screen sensitivity and the fatness of any stylus (or finger), you’d have to do a lot of eye-squinting, finger cramping, deleting and re-doing. Much better to spend the $4.99, which also provides a variety of other nice features.

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