Using gestural drawing techniques to draw faces

I’ve recently been doing quick gestural drawings of whimsical faces using my non-dominant hand in my sketchbook. They’re an easy way to warm up before your painting session. And drawing with your non-dominant hand gives these portraits a raw, expressive feeling that’s almost impossible to mimic when you use your dominant hand.

Gesture drawing faces

Portrait drawing can be intimidating for most of us, especially if you’re relatively new to trying your hand at drawing faces. But it doesn’t have to be – it’s actually pretty simple to draw whimsical faces once you know how. You can take a look at my step-by-step tutorial for drawing faces here.

When you try to draw a face with your non-dominant hand, though, it can feel even more intimidating, because you don’t have much control over the movement of the pencil.

But drawing with your non-dominant hand {in my case, drawing with my left hand} is what helps you to sketch beautifully expressive, raw portraits. And for some reason, that’s been my jam these days!

Easy gestural drawing

Here’s a quick little whimsical mixed media portrait that I sketched in my art journal recently using gesture drawing techniques with my non-dominant hand.

I’ve sped this video up a bit, but in case you’re wondering, this one took me a total of 15 minutes {with most of that time spent looking for and cutting out the words that I collaged onto the portrait at the end}.

Mixed media girl in black and white, charcoal, pastels, Inktense pencils, collage. Non-dominant hand drawing, left hand, the other hand, gestural drawing.  Raw, expressive faces.

Supply list:

Inktense pencil: Black

Black charcoal pencil

Pastel pencil: Sepia

Mungyo oil pastels: white

Mini mister by Ranger {or any spray bottle}

Glue stick

Found words

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, and that you’ll give this quick gesture drawing technique a try.

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Posted in Art tutorials.

I’m an artist and art educator, podcaster, tarot reader, and writer. I share my discoveries along the path to inspire you to live a more creative, soul-centered life. Receive my love letters for more of my musings on life and creativity. P.S. I love Instagram - join me there?


  1. wow i should really try drawing with my non dominant hand and make it useful too. Thanks for the tutorial. it was really nice to learn something new.

  2. Wow this is amazing. My little one is highly interested in learning gestural drawings. Will share your videos with her. I m sure she will love it.

  3. Loved your video, Shinjini. You made it look so easy but I can pretty sure, I won’t be able to make such a portrait even with my dominant hand. Amazing artwork!

  4. This was really something different that I came across. You made it seem so easy but for me its would nt be possible to even draw a straight line with my other hand.

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