Lesson on drawing the profile. Sketching the face from side view. Portrait tutorial.

Drawing Profiles

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Inspired by Leonardo

The profile on the left was inspired (loosely, loosely inspired) by a sketch by Leonardo DaVinci. He drew a profile with all these "alignment lines" on the face. I've loosely copied DaVinci's idea, and have added a few alignment lines of my own. (Click on image to see a much larger version.)

Notice how the bottom of the lip (top of chin) lines up with the jawline, at the spot where the jaw starts to curve up towards the ear. Notice where the outside (outer corner) of the eye lines up with the rest of the face, and where the outside edge of the eyebrow lines up with the rest of the face. Notice how far back the ear is placed.

Inspired by DaVinci

I've drawn some colored lines over this profile. This is to show you some basic angles of the face. See the two blue lines that follow the neck? This is to show you that neck comes out at a slant. It's not straight up and down.

Also notice the green lines that come from the eyebrow area and the bottom of the nose. Between these lines are where the ear should be placed!

The red line shows that the ear is tipped back, at a slight slant.

And, once again, I want to show you how the front of the eye lines up with the outside of the mouth (purple line).

See the orange arrow that is following along the jawline? This shows you that the jawline tilts up at an angle.

The big thing to remember when you are drawing a person in profile is to notice where these features line up. It is a huge key to getting the portrait looking realistic, and correct.

Bruno's head

Now here's another profile. This guy looks like his name should be Bruno. (I just made him up from my imagination, but a "Bruno" he is!)

Bruno has a big circle on his head. This pink circle shows us that even from profile, the head is pretty wide, and round. A big circle can fit into the head! There is a skull and brain at the back of the head, so don't get so obsessed with drawing the features at the front of the head that you forget to give enough room at the back. Note the position of the bright pink circle compared to the placement of the neck and other features of the head. (See Bruno without any circles on him.)

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