Face drawing | the profile


If you got here from face drawing, the basics this tutorial is the perfect continuation of the previous, otherwise I suggest you to follow that one first.

After drawing the face from the front we’ll be dealing with the face seen from the side, the profile.

We’ll use a trick to make things easier, we’ll use the frontal drawing of the face, or one very similar to that used in the tutorial face drawing, as a guide to set the proportion of the side view.

What I would like you to take from this tutorial is the actual structure of the face seen from the side and to notice ho compressed toward the front all the facial features are.

Let’s get started!

Draw the front oval of the head then trace from the top and the chin two horizontal lines. Trace also a line passing through the middle of the head like in the picture.

Now I wont you to notice here, before moving further, the two main shapes that form the head from the side: an elongated circle and a triangle.

We are not going to analyze this now but keep them in mind because they will be useful to draw the head at different angles and degrees of rotation.

You can roughly position the facial features on the frontal drawing first (eyes, eyebrows, nose and mouth) then trace their relative position onto the side view using tracing lines as shown.

This is quite a big leap but follow me and you should be able to get a similar result.

So basically here you have to create the indent of the forehead and the nose to start defining the profile of the face. You do not need to do it identical to mine but try to get it similar. Luckily the obtuse angle formed by the forehead line and the nose line has its vertices at the same height of the eye (green line).

Notice how the lower curvature of the nose naturally causes the vertical jaw line to back off a few millimeters (red arrow).

Another very important construction line is a vertical line that establish where all the facial features are confined (red line). See how eyes, mouth, eyebrows and nose do not “bleed” across the line. Notice also how frontalized are the human features compared to other animals.

Draw the eye (seen from the side) and if you do not have any idea how it looks, try looking at yourself in the mirror, or give a look at our tutorial on eye drawing.

Finally sketch in the eyebrow. You can also start smoothing out the jaw line.

Isn’t face drawing fun?

Let’s refine this face drawing. See how I have “cut” the chin? That cut will give it a more natural shape eventually.

Position the mouth slit and the ear exactly between the eye-line and the nose-line.

So far not really a big deal. Draw the two general shapes that make the profile, trace the indent of the forehead and the nose, draw the eye and mouth slit; remember to cut off a piece of chin.

[quote_box_center]Reality is that all these are just guidelines. They will serve the purpose of giving you a guide but you should and will use them wisely, not being trapped by them. For example you could have left the long chin there! That would have definitely confer to the character an unusual mood and characteristic.[/quote_box_center]

Nothing really fancy here, just keep smoothing the lines of the profile as you go on with the drawing. Add the hair line to give the face that added visual balance.

Try to draw the lips as best as you can. As you should have learned from the face drawing tutorial, few millimeters can make a big difference in terms of general facial appearance and mood. In this case the lower lip is just slightly more prominent than the upper lip. I’ll modify this in the next drawing. Try to notice the difference between the two profiles.

This is the last step of our face drawing tutorial and I have dedicated a few minutes to refine this profile for you. Try to draw the nose for yourself, I’ll soon dedicate a full tutorial to nose drawing. What matters now is that you got the proportion of the side face right.

As I told you I have modified the position of the lower lip which is now less prominent than the upper lip. See if you like it better this way.

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial on face drawing, stay tuned for more to come, and do not forget to leave a comment on the Contact page, we would appreciate that!

Feel free to comment the tutorial or contact us for questions in the Contact us section of the site, We would love to hear from you.

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