There's a number of these guides floating around, but the more I get asked about how I got my elves looking so naturally attractive, the more I feel this is necessary to get here. I always took this stuff as being totally obvious as I'm an artist by trade, but I figure it's worth sharing!
Human (and demi-human) women's beauty isn't about how much makeup you can cake on or how sleek her hair is or how powdered and pristine her skin looks. Those certainly contribute to it if observed through a specific beauty standard, but by far the most important is accurate, realistic facial proportions.
I'm going to show you exactly how it's done. It's not rocket science - it's observation and proper thinking, mindfulness of the ratios between the elements of the face. And a little geometry and mathematics, but the easy kind.
Bear in mind that these are only meant to be taken as general guidelines to help your character editing - not as the end-all be-all rules of what they HAVE to look like. Variations and small deviations from these norms are a major part of human biology.White lines:
Vertical ratio. The head is divided into quarters, from top to bottom: Top of the head to the forehead/hairline, forehead to the eye level, eye level to between the lip and the nose, and from atop the lip to the point of the chin.Green lines:
Eye width and spacing. The space between the eyes should be the width of one eye.Blue lines:
In idealistic proportions, the nostrils' width is the same as the space between the eyes. A straight line should be able to be drawn from the middle point of the lips, passing the sides of the nose and running through the pupil of the eye to the highest point of the brow. This is something of a textbook case of perfect facial proportions.
Roughly all of the female EEO presets have been built to fit into these guidelines. It can be daunting to try and internalize at first, but it should be taken as more of a set of mental notes to help better observe your character's features and plan for an aesthetically pleasing whole.
Cinching the eyes downward, enlarging them, shrinking the nose and reducing the space between the nose and lips makes the face childlike. This is also often combined with making the nose too small for the rest of the face. This can work intentionally for very young characters, but can result in freakish looks for one with otherwise adult bodily proportions.
Spacing the eyes and nose too far apart is something I observe a lot of people doing. This is usually doubled with pressing the lips and nose very close to each other and recuding the chin. You should now be able to tell at a glance how disturbing this looks, deviating from the natural proportions.
As a general tip, I see many people choosing very flat, 'powdered' skins that look very lifeless as they don't really exhibit any signs of blood circulation in the face. A big part of realistic looks is visible signs of subtle hues in the ears (Neck slider for female EEO elves), the tip of the nose and on the cheeks. A small, barely visible dusting of freckles can also help make your character more lively if you don't want to be as outrageous with them as my elves tend to be.