Drawing Profiles
Some Tips on Drawing Profiles.

female profile in pencil Pencil sketch of woman, by J.R. Dunster

There are some special tricks to drawing a profile correctly.  I see some of the same mistakes made over and over again in "newbie's" artwork (and sometimes in more experienced artists too) and I have made them myself.  So I oughta know, right?

Profiles are sometimes easier than full-view or three-quarters view.   (You only have to draw one eye, for instance!)  However, they have pitfalls all their own.   I thought the best way to show some of the more common mistakes is to do a drawing of them...

wrong wrong wrongWhat is wrong with this drawing?

Well, where do I start?  There isn't enough forehead.  There isn't enough space in the back of his head - it looks like he doesn't have enough room for his brain.  This is a common error in drawing profiles.  I guess that the artist is so busy drawing the features, that they forget to focus on the proper proportions of the other parts of the head!  Don't neglect to get these proportions correct.  Make sure you measure and double-check the spacing and proportions of the face's features.  You'd be amazed at how easy it is to get something a little off on a drawing.   Incorrect proportions will give your drawing that "newbie" look.

Another thing wrong with the drawing?  The eye looks like it is drawn more from the front view, not the side view.  This is another common error.  The eye in profile sort of has a "triangle" look to it.  Look closely at the eye in profile before you draw it.  Measure how much space is between the eye and the bridge of the nose (don't get the eye too close to the bridge of the nose - the eye is usually "set in" a little.)

male ink profile  female profile

A few ball-point pen drawings from my sketchbook.

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