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How to draw a female face in profile

There is more than one method to draw a face from the side. When I looked around on the Net I found at least three starting points, but in this tutorial I'll just show you two.



I prefer the first one, but those of you who have done this tutorial, might find the second one more appealing. If these two images don't make any sense right now, don't worry, you'll see what they mean later.

First off, let's find a pretty girl to draw.


Fotosearch to the rescue!

When you study the picture you'll notice a few things:

1. The fact that she's looking to the left creates all kinds of annoying wobbles on that side of her head.

2. You'll notice the ear is almost in the centre of the head.

3. Her eyes are triangles. You heard me, triangles. She's not some kind of alien freak, as far as I know this triangle factoid is true for everyone (unless they're a cartoon character).

4. She has fish lips. This is unavoidable, unfortunately.

5. Last but not least, she has purdy earrings.   (The list has to end on 5...I dunno why. Four points just seem so incomplete, don't you think? I knew you'd agree!  "OCD much?" Why yes, I do.)



Also known as "Monkey Face Method". Creative name is creative.


Step 1. Draw a circle and triangle like these. They'll serve as guides, so don't press too hard if you're using a pencil (er... and don't draw this in ink. Seriously. Don't.) Note: the bottom right corner where your triangle and circle meet will end up  being the jawline.


Step2.  Add brow ridge. Make an indentation where the nose starts, where the circle meets the triangle.

Congrats, you just drew a monkey.


Step 3. Compare your sketch to the original. Use a ruler to see if the chin lines up. Using this method I can see that my triangle's bottom corner (chin) is too far to the right. Correct it.

Step 4. Add the "wobbles". Since you already have the brow, it would be a good idea to work from there upwards. She has a flat forehead that goes straight up and then curves rather sharply at the top. Peek at your reference as you work, it's an open book test and you won't be penalized for looking. In fact we encourage it! When you draw the nose, work from the brow ridge down. It is going to protrude from your initial guideline triangle. Remember the nose is basically a triangle too. Don't worry too much about lip detail at this stage. (If you have read the previous face tutorial you'll know that the halfway mark between the nose and chin serves as a guide for the placement of the bottom lip.)

Step 5. In the face area, erase that annoying circle guide so you'll have a clean area to put the eye brow. Again reference the photo to see what the shape should be. It's basically a distorted new moon.

Step 6. Add the eye. Remember it is a triangle. The left side is in line with that indented curve between the nose and brow. The outer corner of the eye (right corner) is in line with the outer end of the brow. From the outer corner of the eye you can draw a straight line through to the inner corner of your eyebrow to give you an idea of the angle of the upper lid.

Step 7. Add nose details. (Nose tutorial)  Add fish lips. You can minimize the fish effect by making the lines less visible than the rest. The more visible her lip lines the more fishy she will look.



Step 8. Add a rough hairline. Use rough strokes.

Step 9. We're going to place the ear now. First compare your sketch and photo. Use a ruler to measure where the ear has to go. Notice that in this picture the ear will be lower than the eyebrow. Remember: the size of one's ear is generally proportional to the size of one's nose.)


Step 10.  Draw the ear. It's basically an oval that is open on the left side.

Step 11. Add hair. (Not sure how to go about it? Here's a hair tutorial)

Step 12. Erase guides and add detail.


Step 13. Final details. Clean up your lines a bit, add some loose strands of hair, give her some eye lashes, etc.


GAHHH, we ended on number 13!

Noooooooo! My head is gonna explode!

Oh wait, I know....




Step 14. Add mustach.

Step 15. Add beard.



 Ahhhhhh, that feels good. XD

Those of you who liked my other face tutorial might like this method since you can measure things out and calculate where everything should go.

Step 1. Draw an oval and divide as shown.  The horizontal line indicates where the eye will go. The vertical line (*) is entirely optional, but I find it helps me place the ear, it helps me find the edge of the face.

Step 2.  Divide again into thirds as shown.

You'll end up with this:


Step 3. Add wobbles.

Step 4. Add skull.


Step 5. Add neck and ear.  The ear is just above and behind the jaw. Suggestion: You could study your own jaw and ear in a mirror (or just feel it with your fingers where you are now) to get an idea of how your ear and jaw meet up.  Once you've placed the ear it should be easy to draw the neck. As you can see, if you were to extend the neck, the earlobe would be in the middle of it. This is true for this picture, but might not be true in other cases, as it depends on the angle of the photo and the build of the individual.


Step 6. Add eyes and nose. (See step 6 and 7 above).



Step 7. Erase guidelines if you have not done so already.

Step 8. Draw lips. Here fishy, fishy, fishy...


Step 9. Add hair. (Hair tutorial)

Step 10. Add finishing touches.

YAY, we ended on 10! Perfect! I can die happy now.



Here are some more profile sketches. Notice how each person is different. Some have round chins, others have big eyes, while other's have flat foreheads. Keep these things in mind when you draw your faces. Feel free to study these sketches and use the techniques in your own way.

[Photos are belong to]


There is never just one way to draw something. What I attempt to show you is how to study a subject yourself, to dissect it and recreate it in your own, unique way. Since everything consists of basic shapes, once you have a reference photo and you are able to break down your subject into circles, triangles and squares, you can draw ANYTHING.

You only need three things to become an great artist:

1. An interest (which you have, since you are here)

2. Knowledge (tutorials like these)

3. And Practice. "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit." -  Aristotle


About The Author:
BarakiEl's favourite things to do include creating digital art, listening to music, playing computer games and spending time with her husband. She works from home as a freelance desktop publisher, colourist and illustrator.
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Posted in: Art by on May 11, 2012 @ 5:14 pm


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