Drawing Lessons : How to Draw Common African & African-American Features


Hi. I’m jay French from jayfrenchstudios.com.
and I’m going to show you how to draw an African and African American features. The biggest
place to start, of course let’s get our head in here. There’s a tendency for stronger jaws
in most features of African descent. That’s a good place to start. So your basic egg shape
for your head will be a little less tapered on the bottom half. Let’s get our basic diagram
of the face down. And then we’ll start talking about how it’s different. O.k., the placement
of the eyes. Usually it’s half way in between the middle the vertical center point and the
outer edge of the head, where you have your center of your eyes. But in African features
they’re actually a little further apart. They have a tendency to have something of a cat
like shape. This is mostly caused by the strong triangular cheek bones that come this way.
They come up so strongly across the edge of the eye that they tend to make that cat like
feature, that cat like shape to the eye. This is not always the case, this is just often
the case. Of course Africans usually have a tendency to have dark eyes, although this
is not fool proof, I’ve discovered through trial and error. Note the heavy lids also.
And there is a tendency for heavy lower lids as well. And you may want to take that opportunity
to account for those strong triangular angled cheek bones. Noses are broader in African
features generally speaking. Although the bridge of the nose tends to be less prominent.
So you may not even fully shadow the bridge of the nose. Noses are broad but not prominent.
So in profile the nose won’t stick out very far, generally speaking. But on a straight
on angle, they get a lot more breadth, a lot more width. There’s a roundness generally
seen in African features.
You’ll want to get fairly prominent brows. Although you’ll see a lot more prominent as
far as dark and thick eyebrows on African features, whereas African American they tend
to have thinner,
less prominent eyebrows. There’s usually a lot of shape to the mouth. And one of the
important things, that is often missed, it is thought of that the lips are thick but
you don’t want to make them just like regular Caucasian lips where it just looks like someone’s
puckering. One of the strongest features to capture is that the lips begin to raise very
immediately at the corners. Another words in a mouth you might draw of a Caucasian,
you would have much more of a taper toward the corners, as it raises in the center, that
you want to get almost a squareness to the corners on African features. Although the
lower lip is thick, it can be almost any shape. Where this face went, we need to get it a
little lower. They usually have strong prominent chins and jaw lines. And there’s your basic
lesson in how to draw African features.

100 comments

  • lame

    Omg u literally drew me im black Irish and Native American tho

    Reply
  • Zallen

    Those lips are a little to big

    Reply
  • Maralyn Adlin

    Thank you!

    Reply
  • naynayakarenee91

    I do like your drawing. But Africa is the most genetically diverse continent in the WORLD eventhough the vast majority of inhabitants are black!! Fact.. Africans (including those of African descent) don't all look the same. And if you are familiar with African people, you can even tell who's from what country and what tribe just based on their facial features and how they look. A West African looks different to a south African for example. Even in Nigeria, you can tell a Yoruba from a Hausa. A person of Asante will look different to a Fulani or someone from Zanzibar. There are differences and variances and not as basic as the drawing. Remember Africa is a continent, not a country. Its almost like saying how do you draw an American face with American features, even though there are ethnic differences such as native Americans, Mexicans, Brazilians etc. But yh, although this is a drawing, it is very basic and almost stereotypical and it is NOT as common either if you put every black person in perspective. MAYBE those of west african descent, but its not common for everyone in Africa.

    Reply
  • Xclusiv Clan

    What kind/brand pencil was he using

    Reply
  • Tanai Battle

    Great Video!

    Reply
  • Majid Mehmood

    looks llike marrtin luther king juniure

    Reply
  • ItssaLyssa96

    thank you so much, all drawin tutorials usually are white features and i can finally make some that looks like my people,

    Reply
  • hot cocoa

    wtf is not all African American people look alike

    Reply
  • hot cocoa

    oh this is expert village no wonder

    Reply
  • Si :0

    whenever black people are involved there's almost always complaining and arguing, hes not illustrating all black people. just doing their common features.

    Reply
  • lex s

    Thank you, Jay. This helped a lot

    Reply
  • PatInSpats

    Holy shit you're left handed!

    Reply
  • Dessi Dime

    Man, did a better job than me 😭 great job though! Looks awesome

    Reply
  • burdi asdfghjkl

    really helpful! thank dude

    Reply
  • Sway Low

    thank you

    Reply
  • Mayumi Garcia

    I love this!!!!

    Reply
  • Al-Weaboo

    das waicist

    Reply
  • King T

    no one looks alike my eyes aren't cat shaped

    Reply
  • Zalyia Carr

    The character looks like a well drawn Black person and there's no mistaking that I think that's what he's going for. And after describing each feature he always said generally speaking. Calm down folk.

    Reply
  • Tommmyyy

    I'm black and I didn't even think this was racist at all

    Reply
  • Simon Nagy

    You're not a special snowflake, people's genetics and background is a determining factor in how you look. And from that, A LOT of people look similar. So stop it with the 'Not everyone has –' rebuttle. Pure fucking idiocy.

    Reply
  • Stratahoovius

    So much has changed since 2008. There's no way you could do this video nowadays! SJW's would crucify you haha

    Reply
  • Dani Carven

    heyyyyy, you drew my uncle

    Reply
  • Annika Block

    Thanks ! I want to draw more semi realistic black people ! All I draw is white people no tutorials on black people !

    Reply
  • MaDMaLi ™

    criiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnggggggggggggeeeeeeeeeeeeyyyyyyy

    Reply
  • bkminchilog1

    black people look like cats. alot of us look like cats. wide smiles cat eye strong jaws tired eyes large skills wide noses plump lips with usually intensely far away state, like something else is always more important than what you are currently saying to us.

    the person he drew looked very young. blacks are plump while young but when we age our features tend to think out. thinner lips and stronger eyes as we age. we go from looking past you to looking through you. my people are complicated to draw

    Reply
  • simplyuneeke

    Thank you very much. But can you please stop zooming out especially when doing vital steps.

    Reply
  • Alphonce Wadenya

    this was a helpfull video

    Reply
  • Stacy Beckles

    Amm not all African Americans have these features that doesn't mean that I don't see myself as beautiful

    Reply
  • Dreamer Jewel

    I love this video. I remember watching it when I was younger and it really helped me draw people who have more features like me.

    Reply
  • Chloe Queen

    I'm black African I look nothing like that at all

    Reply
  • Bruh

    I love this

    Reply
  • Aja Gaines

    Thanks for this video because I can actually draw a person with features like me BLACK PEOPLE. I have thick lips unlike my sister she has a thin top lip and a thick bottom

    Reply
  • Victoria zhuravlev

    what kind of.oencil is this? it's sick!😍

    Reply
  • temera calidora

    this is not true i have seen them and the dont look like that

    Reply
  • L.j is here

    I live in a prominently white county and we never learned stuff like this in art. Love you videos

    Reply
  • DestroyerX Offbeatmoss

    Offensive

    Reply
  • Sylvia Ford

    You are messy

    Reply
  • Lord Spen

    Just what I needed. Thanks man.

    Reply
  • diamondogs1

    Hm

    Reply
  • D Ed

    thank you im white and i can draw really good black women but no so much guys thx so much

    Reply
  • mary molokwu

    ??? Cool ain't bad😂

    Reply
  • Itz TaeBoss

    A cat like feature man get your ass out of here

    Reply
  • Amanda Mitchell

    this was helpful because all I saw was Caucasian tutorials

    Reply
  • Nanaue

    Very Helpful. Great Job!!!

    Reply
  • Danigirl

    Can you do Native features? Thanks.

    Reply
  • TaKyra Allen

    How are somw people offended😂 how did awesome. Of course we dont all look the same but it definitely look like a black boy to me. (Im a black girl).

    Reply
  • ctina323

    I'm black…what kind of pencil is that?? what grade??….lolol

    Reply
  • The artist Devil

    https://youtu.be/BhBH_gPfqR0

    Reply
  • Kappa Sigh

    Black people, do not take this video as offensive. Most of these comments are all like “ I️ don’t look like that”, Well no dip Sherlock, it is not directly pointing towards you. I️’m black and some of these things I️ can definitely relate to, like the rounded noses, and the lips. But seriously, all of these hate comments are people taking this WAY to seriously. They think they are drawings of themselves.

    Reply
  • Theft arts Designs

    Y’all butt hurt but when I see black artist this is how they’re characters be looking. I see nothing wrong with the way he represented us. You mfs always tryna stretch shit out to start something.

    Reply
  • Monalefae

    Jay French…I’m gonna need you to read some audiobooks for a living, your voice is sooo soothing. 🙌🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾

    Reply
  • Bleach 2.5

    I’m Afro Latina or latinx

    Reply
  • Afternoon Delight

    I was hoping to see a contrast drawing that would show the features of African Americans…

    Reply
  • Adrian Collins

    Hello Jay, This is my second time viewing this video: I'm having a challenging time rendering a 3/4 birds-eye profile of Jamylah, of @JamylahandtheGiants on Instagram. Your tips are exceedingly helpful. Thank you! Adrian

    Reply
  • Doodle Draws

    Thank you sooo much for this! I am a beginning artist and I want to start including all types of people in my characters and drawings. This helped a lot and helped me see some mistakes I have been making when I draw African and African-American people.

    Reply
  • The Real Jumin

    I’m black too

    Reply
  • Crafty Malaika

    Thank you for that simple and straight to the point tutorial. I'll be trying it! That's exactly what I was looking for…

    Reply
  • i .candy

    And now to try to stylize this for my anime art style…….drawing be hard yo:P

    Reply
  • Stopdabbingkids -.-

    Some kids at my school would be like, "OMG WTH?! YOU SAID AFRICAN AMERICAN OMG LIKE HOW RACIST." And yet they're white and the we are like lol, that's are race bro.

    Reply
  • Bas Waaijer

    Thank you much for this video, you're so spot on with your explanation. I needed to know the facial features to pay attention to with black people for something else than drawing.

    It's an old video but nevertheless, thank you!

    Reply
  • Eme Elo

    I draw my black characters like this without realizing, tho not the eyes

    Reply
  • yakisoba

    Can you share how is your first drawing skill look like..? ^^

    Reply
  • •DiannaTV •

    I'm left handed too also great work

    Reply
  • BriaBria

    What's a common African American woman ?

    Reply
  • Mya Cole

    Where were the offended comments

    Reply
  • Jahsehs princess

    His voice super relaxing. I almost went to sleep 🤦🏾‍♀️

    Reply
  • Messiah E.N.T

    Keep it up! You doing the darn thing!!! 👌👌👌👌These comments are ridiculous.

    Reply
  • Claudia Cooper

    Thank you for this and I am African American btw!

    Reply
  • Heishiro Mitsurugi

    As a black person myself I am truly amazed that you are willing to create that are different from you. Good job because most people would just draw themselves all the time which takes the fun out.

    Reply
  • Angie Holmes

    As an African American I really appreciate this tutorial. It was so helpful. My sketch I completed while watching your tutorial came out exactly how I wanted it to.

    Reply
  • MrTommekiff

    Thanks a lot, Dude. I always had trouble drawning black people without making it look a like a rasist cartoon from the 30´s

    Reply
  • Carl D. Jones

    Good video

    Reply
  • Me Me

    Thank you for the lesson…i loved it so very much…😘

    Reply
  • Abigail_

    One out of ten to act like bob ross xD

    Reply
  • Kelly Muhangi

    I think lips that big are more of a West African feature, but it’s still mostly accurate.

    Reply
  • Amanda Howell

    Thank you for this video! I am african American and there were somethings I knew and some I didn’t realize! This will help with my illustrations !

    Reply
  • Rayne Jordan

    90% of these comments are talking about how black ppl need to stop being offended but bitch where are these comments that’s says this is offensive?! Y’all are just putting something in the comments bc you wanted to say something but just stfu! He did amazing for basic African American features

    Reply
  • onetime282

    Excellent Job. What kind of pencil are you using? If anyone know, could you please reply. Thanks.
    Much love.

    Reply
  • Woobalah Jackson

    Yuck!

    Reply
  • Elijah

    I'm black and as soon as a i clicked on this video i knew i would find comments stating how offensive this video is ughhhh

    Reply
  • Dean Jones

    Mills lane voice
    "I'll allow it"

    Reply
  • Aki

    watches vid for 5 seconds

    checks mirror

    watches again

    Reply
  • Turquoise Moon

    I am Black American and no one in my family Resembles that drawing at all.

    Reply
  • Erica Johnson

    your stupid dummy draw every thing in the wourld on a big poster

    Reply
  • John Jackson

    wtf

    Reply
  • Fadul

    I haven't even seen one comment saying he's racist what is ervryone talking about haha

    Reply
  • Barthelemy Lazerlips

    Anyone offended by this?… go fuck yourselves you dumb idiots

    Reply
  • Kyamckinney Gaming

    Really why is it a white guy drawing a brown person

    Reply
  • kilomech

    Can you do black hair?

    Reply
  • Polo Smith

    Look like u drew me 😂😂😂😂😂

    Reply
  • Polo Smith

    Thats for sure my big ass lips n nose just a lil bigger on the nose 😂😂😂😂😂 watch my videos on my channel. You'll see n that white guy dancing in my video (fuck a hater) I heard he's a b2k member 😂😂😂😂😂

    Reply
  • Carter LaCoste

    How you gonna tell a black man how to draw a black man?

    Reply
  • J 3

    Ethiopian American. Africana or whatever leo africana named them after him once he took over.

    Reply
  • Le'Evelyn Barr

    If you made a book on this for people to buy like other cartoon tutorial books, you'd help a lot of people. Can't find anything like it out they

    Reply
  • Theo Ming

    Finally

    Reply
  • Symphony Murray

    This helped me draw myself alot thanks

    Reply
  • Osiris

    Next: Common "Asian features", and combine Far East, Middle East, Southeast and North too! That's how ridiculously broad this is bearing in mind Africa is more diverse than Asia!

    Should have said West African seeing as most AAs are descendants of from that region.

    Reply
  • Son jay

    Even if this didn't look like me I can't do a realistic drawing anyways 😂 Also I don't see any rude comments so I don't get why people are telling other people to chill. Also after seeing you draw the nose I realized your drawing actually does look like me.

    Reply

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