Some tips for drawing or sketching people are to use the right pencil hardness, avoid using flash for portrait-drawing photography and using sketch guidelines to draw the proportions correctly. Additional tips are to practice shading and to choose the right type of paper.
Number 2 pencils are usually too hard in density for drawing. Using a pencil that is too hard results in sketches that appear pale. For sketching people, use a B, 2B or 4B pencil to create darker shading that adds depth to the picture.
When using a portrait photograph as a drawing reference, it is best to avoid flash photography because it flattens features and distorts the perspective. Use natural lighting for portrait photography, and have the model turned slightly to the side with a natural facial expression.
Sketch guidelines help with the placement of facial features and other body positions. Many beginning artists are afraid to use black when shading. However, this results in a lack of depth in the picture. Practicing different types of shading can help an artist be more comfortable with using black tones in a drawing.
Paper quality is also important when drawing because cheap paper has a smooth surface that doesn't properly grab the pencil lead. Use a basic office paper or paper made specifically for sketching.