How do you go about getting the proportions of the face correct when you're freehand drawing/painting something? I always feel like i'm drawing the nose too big, have too much of a space between the eyes, etc..
Well there are a number of rules I use when painting/drawing faces. However all of which can be broken, I just use them as a starting point. First off, the eyes are exactly one eye width apart, and the nostrils are as wide as an eye. The corners of the mouth should line up with the center of the eye. The top the ear should align with the eyes, and the bottom should align with the nose or mouth… So on and so forth. There are hundreds of rules, but just know everything is about relationships. And this all changes if the person you’re drawing/painting isn’t facing forward, which more often than not, is the case. So, there is a technique I used to use in high school and college, and hell even sometimes today, where you use your brush and your thumb. It’s a bit difficult to articulate but I will try.
Draw something as perfectly proportionally as you possibly can, let’s say an eye for example. I’m not saying render it fully, I’m saying sketch it out where the proportions are pretty spot on, and for the rest of the drawing/painting assume what you drew on that eye was correct. There are going to be times when your brain or eye is telling you you’re wrong along the way, but ignore them trust that you drew it right the first time.
Once you have your eye drawn, extend your arm fully and use the end of your brush and your thumb to measure the width of the eye. Hold that spot on the brush and measure that so something else, like the width of your second eye, or length of the nose, or distance to the hairline. Once you use that unit of measurement, look at your drawing and do the same thing. The width of the eye on your drawing should be your unit of measurement for everything else. Does that make sense?! Like I said it’s a bit difficult to articulate so I’ll make a video and post it so you can see exactly how I do things. I hope this helps until then.