Learn to Draw People - Finish drawing the profile




The Profile - the Head

We'll draw this profile

If you measure the full distance of the profile you have drawn, from the top of the forehead to the bottom of the chin, and take that measurement and put it horizontally starting at the bridge of the nose, the other end of the measurement should give you a rough idea of where the back of the head will fall. Measure that on your subject to verify it. Then measure it out on your drawing and make a mark where you measured. Because of your subject's hair, you'll have to guess at the shape of the skull. Lightly draw a curve representing the top of the skull that connects the forehead line to the back of the head mark you made.

If you measure the space between the back of the head and the ear measuring at at the bottom of the ear, you can find another point and continue the contour of the back of the head. This point at the back of the head, by the way, is about at the point where the neck meets the skull.

Now you should have the head almost done, only the neck isn't drawn. Continue the back of the head contour line along and draw the back of the neck of your subject. Where you left off with the jaw line, continue that line down and finish the front of the neck.

Some measurements you should look for in profiles

Before you draw in the hair, you should tighten up any measuring you need to do. For example, measure the width of the eye you drew and gauge it against the height of the ear you drew. Compare these measurements with your subject. If the measurements are off a little, try and correct them by re-sizing and re-drawing the ear or eye. Measure from the lower lip to the bottom of the chin and gauge it against the lower lip to the bottom of the nose. Does a vertical line connect the tip of the brow with the tip of the chin? What about the top of the forehead and the point where the jaw turns to neck? Is this exactly vertical? Doing measurements like this will tighten up your proportions and negative spaces. Getting likeness in a drawing is all about getting the right proportions and negative spaces. To review proportions and negative spaces browse the DRAWING BASICS section of this site.

How to draw a profile - step by step

You've got a bald profile head. Now, if your subject is bald, you're just about done, but if not, you have to draw the hair. You have to find the hairline. Do this by measuring your subject horizontally starting at the bridge of the nose and going across until you get to the hairline. Make a dot marking that point. Now slide up the forehead a bit and take another measurement at the line of the forehead to the hairline and make another dot. Then, right on your forehead contour line, mark off right were the hairline meets the forehead. Using these three points you can connect the dots and draw a contour of the hairline. If your subject has long hair that goes over and below the ear just add more dots you can connect, doing the same horizontal measurement starting at some point on the profile contour. Now just guess as far as placement, and draw the outside contour of the hair all around the skull.

Finally, erase any construction lines (like the lopsided egg), add any missing details like the few lines to make up the inside of the ear and the line indicating the mouth in between the lips. Draw the nose lobe and the nostril. Does the nostril look a little like a sideways teardrop? Draw it that way, then. That's about it for a simple profile! Not so simple? It will get easier the more you practice!

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