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22 December 2023

Facial portrait

To begin with, we will draw some conventional figures that will help us determine the size and shape of the head, then make a marking of the height and width of the face, so that we can more easily cope with the location of parts of the face (eyes, nose, mouth, ears). After marking, we will make a light sketch of the drawing of the face, and then on its basis, refining the details , finalize the drawing.

Our first drawing will be in the front. Since we will be using auxiliary lines in the first stages, draw very lightly, without much pressure, so that the lines don’t become too black.

Let’s draw a vertical line down the middle of our sheet and divide it into three equal segments. Two of them will be the diameter of the circle we need to draw



Now find the center of the entire vertical segment, this will be the level of the eye line. And now draw another smaller circle from the eye line to the bottom edge. As a result, we got two circles, which will help us with the definition of the mass of the head and also now we know where to draw the eyes later.

find the center of the whole vertical segment

Now you can join the top and bottom circle into one silhouette by outlining with a light sketch line.

connect the upper and lower circles

At this point we have found the dimensions of the head, but now we need to find the size of the face, it will be smaller in height. We need to indent from the top about 1/7 of the entire height of the head, you can make a marking as in the diagram by dividing the height of the head into 7 parts, but note that the marking should be barely visible. According to this scheme, one segment from the top we will find the hair growth line (HGL), the rest of the space is occupied by the face. And now you and I need to memorize the simplest formula – the face vertically is also divided into 3 equal segments. It is very simple – the upper section starts from the hairline to the eyebrows, the second – from the eyebrows to the base of the nose, the third – from the base of the nose to the lower chin line. By the way, by now you can very roughly estimate the silhouette of the ears, which will be equal in height to the second segment.

I need to find the size of the face


The next step is to find the size of the eyes and their location. Horizontally divide the width of the head into 5 segments. The middle segment will denote the distance between the eyes, the two segments on the sides denote the width of the eyes themselves. By the way, the distance between the eyes will also tell us the width of the nose at the bottom of it.

find the size of the eyes and their location

Now you can outline the outline of the nose and eyes and immediately after that we will make a marking of the lower segment (from the base of the nose to the chin) Divide it into 3 parts, and the line cutting off two thirds from the bottom will be the middle of the lips.

outline the nose and eyes

Now we’re going to outline the lips. You can also refine the ears a bit and outline the eyebrows. How to draw parts of the face, we will discuss in separate lessons on drawing parts of the face.

Now we're going to outline the lips

Now it’s time to get your hair done. Keep in mind, the hairstyle has extra volume, so we need to step back a bit from the silhouette line of the head and draw the silhouette of the hair with a slightly jagged line.

Now we just need to map out the hairstyle

We have an outline of the portrait, it should turn out light and conventional. If your drawing looks messy at this stage, I suggest lightly brightening the lines with an eraser. And then you can proceed to the final part – to clarify the silhouette of the face, to draw a little more detailed parts of the face and you can very delicately outline the shadows.

On this portrait can be considered ready, we have drawn a male portrait and sorted out the method of marking the proportions of the face and its parts. This method is universal, it can be taken as a basis for drawing any person adding to it small refinements in accordance with the proportions of a particular person you draw.

At this point, the portrait can be considered finished



Three-quarter portrait

Now let’s try to draw a portrait of a person from a three-quarter perspective. Since this angle is more difficult, we’ll need to do a little more calculations to build the structural part of the head and face well, but we’ll manage. First we will also use the method of two circles, it will help us roughly calculate the masses in the silhouette.

let's try to draw a portrait of a person

Now you need to show the center line of the face in the drawing, it will be shifted slightly to the right. Similarly, using the method of dividing the height of the head into 7 segments, find the hair growth line and also mark three segments to determine the eyebrow line and the base line of the nose.

Now we need to show the midline of the face in the drawing

Now the most important thing is to correct the midline of the face. From the brow line, it will vary. We should draw a “book of eye sockets” thus showing the hollow inward. The spine of the “book” will just be the level of the eye line (remember, this is the middle of the head vertically).



In this perspective we can see that the nose has a rather distinguished independent volume, so we need to constructively outline it, not forgetting to refine the midline. In the same way we make a marking of the lower segment (from the base of the nose to the chin) and thus find the location of the lips. Don’t forget to refine the center line, don’t leave it out, it’s very finicky.

Don't forget to clarify the center line

Somewhere near this picture place the scheme of drawing the nose and the text: The nose at the base has the silhouette of an elongated trapezoid and expands to the bottom. Similarly, in the end part of the nose, we can see the silhouette of a trapezoid tapered towards the tip of the nose.

nose chart



Sketch the lips, eyes and eyebrows. Remember, the distance between the eyes is equal to the width of the eye itself, although in this view it is already difficult to simply divide the head into 5 equal parts horizontally, as we did in the front view. So no one has canceled the ability to use the eye gauge either, a good eye gauge will not pump itself.

Sketch out lips, eyes and eyebrows

Now we can outline the silhouette line of the hair, creating a hairstyle rhythmically and slightly jagged sketching lines. We can also outline the neck and the beginning of the shoulder girdle, and the nose can be slightly refined and made more anatomical.

silhouette the hairline

Almost everything is ready, but the silhouette of the face remained too constructive, so we refine the silhouette by manifesting the zygomatic bone, the upper protruding corner of the eye socket, the small volume of the cheek and the protruding mass of the chin.

cheek volume and chin mass protrusion

The final stage can be considered the work with shadows, setting accents and refining details. It is advisable not to sit too long with one portrait, it is better to draw a larger number of short duration drawings.

working with shadows, accentuating and refining details

If you still want to draw the face in more detail, refine it by using a stroke overlapping its shape, drawing the anatomy of the parts of the face. This way the drawing will be more detailed, contrasting and structurally distinct.

This way, the drawing will be more detailed, contrasting and structurally pronounced

We have figured out how to draw a man’s face of a man in the face and three-quarter view.


sketch of a woman

Now let’s talk about how drawing a female portrait is different. The proportions of the female face are very similar to the male, but the differences are still there, and the approach in drawing should be different. The drawing technique should be much softer, the strokes neater and lighter the general character of the face should be less constructive and detailed than a portrait of a man. It is not necessary to draw the anatomy of the parts of the face in too much detail and then we can convey the soft surface of a woman’s skin.


age profile

There are also specifics
of drawing portraits
of the elderly. For example, muscles deplete by age and form noticeable creases along with the skin. The protrusions of the cheekbones and chin are more clearly visible, and overall the face looks more bony. The cartilage of the nose and ears gets bigger by old age, and facial expression lines appear on the face. It’s also thinning hair and gray hair.

The methods we have studied for constructing the head and drawing the face are universal, you can start any drawing with them and adjust them to your style, proportions and individual features of the person whose face you want to draw.


In this article, we have detailed“How to draw a person’s eyes“.


Detailed video lesson “How to draw a portrait of a person”

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