Learn to Draw People - Measuring the Profile




Starting the Profile

Drawing people does require the ability to draw, but it also requires lots of measuring which is a very right-brained, logical thing to do. Even if you're not going for total realism in your drawing, knowing some basic facial measurements will help you to make your drawing look more like a face. Everybody knows the placement of the various facial elements - the eyes are above the nose, which is above the mouth, but how far above?

We're looking at the profile of the face because it's a bit easier to draw than the face when it's straight-on. Usually, when you look at a profile, the eyes, nose and mouth are the first things your vision gravitates to even though, comparatively, those elements are a small percentage of the total head. The cheek, ear, and back of the head are much more prominent than the face, so when we draw a profile, we have to keep that in mind.

We'll draw this profile

The "lopsided" egg

Let's draw this old mugshot. Get your lap desk out and put a sheet or two of paper on it and get comfortable in front of your computer. Sharpen your 5B pencil and have your eraser handy. If you'd like to print out the photo we'll be working with go ahead. To start a profile drawing you might want to lightly draw a "lopsided egg" shape to get the placement and general size down on your paper.

The eye is halfway between the bottom of the chin and the top of the skull. So the eye will be an excellent place to base our measurements from. So you might want to lightly draw a straight, horizontal line through you egg at it's midpoint. Use your pencil to measure from the top of the "egg" to the chin to find and place the line.

Rather than drawing the eye first, you might want to start with the nose. We'll draw the contour of the nose. Measure the length of your subject's nose from the bridge to it's tip and lightly draw an angled line that has all the bumps and curves of your subjects nose. It won't be a straight line, because your subject's nose isn't straight. Hold your pencil's eraser vertically at the tip of your subject's nose so the tip of your pencil is pointing up, see the angle that is created between your pencil and the nose? Look at the angle that the nose creates in comparison to the straight vertical edge of your paper and try and approximate the nose angle you measured. You're going to have to eyeball the length of the nose because you don't have anything in your drawing to measure it against.

The nose and the bumps of the lips

Now with the nose lightly drawn in, move down and draw the contour of the lips. They'll be two curved "bumps", the top one may protrude out a bit more, and also be a bit smaller than the bottom lip. But of course, the sizes of any element on the face depends on the face you're drawing. But as you look at the photo, you'll see that the top lip is slightly smaller and does indeed protrude out a bit further than the lower lip. That's actually pretty common because most peoples upper teeth sit in front of the bottom teeth when the mouth is closed.

Page    1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20   21   22   23   24