Learn to Draw People - More Portrait Measurements




More Portrait Measurements

Horizontal placement of the mouth

How to measure lip sizes

How to measure the chin

Measure the jawline

Finding the hairline

Measuring the face

Find the horizontal placement of the mouth in the same way as the nose. Hold your pencil vertically at the corner of the mouth and note where the line falls on the eye. Again, do the same for the other corner of the mouth and DO NOT assume the placement will be the same as the other corner.

The mouth can change in size and shape, but usually, when it's closed and not showing teeth, it's about one and a half eyes wide. If it's smiling with teeth, it grows to about two eyes wide. Lips also change shape, when the mouth smiles, the lips stretch and get thinner. but the lower lip is usually larger and fuller than the upper lip irregardless if the mouth is smiling or not. The size difference between the two lips isn't too much, if the lower lip is half an eye wide at it's widest point, the upper lip may only be one third of an eye. The ratios between lips sizes stay the same for both men and women. but female lips are usually fuller than male lips.

The chin is usually about half to one full eye long from the lower lip. Incorrectly measuring the chin is not good because you can make a face look too fat if the chin is too large, and too skinny if there isn't enough chin. A woman tends to have a smaller, more petite chin than a man, so a female chin may be less than one eye long.

if you measure the jawline by putting your pencil at an angle starting at the corner of the mouth and going to the jawline, this may be about half an eye long. When measuring for the outline of the face, measure each side because they most likely will have different measurements because of the asymmetry of the face. Also, measure the jawline at a few different points so you can get a good idea of the contour of the jawline.

Determining where the sides of the head are will vary from face to face. But on an average weight person if you measure the length from brow to chin and compare that measurement to cheekbone to cheekbone, you might find that they are equal.

You know that the eyes are at the horizontal midpoint of the head, so that gives you a general idea as to how long the forehead will be. But many people have a hairline somewhere on the forehead. To find the hairline, measure from the bottom of each eye to the hairline. Measure the distance from each eye so you can get a few points that you can connect to create the contour of the hairline. In fact, take more than two measurements so you can get more than two points, because sometimes the hairline can be a complicated contour to draw. Then when you have the hairline drawn, take several measurements starting at the hairline out to the outside contour of the hair. The outside hair contour can be really challenging, so after taking some measurements, just freehand draw in the contour. If you find it's incorrect in places, erase that section and redraw it.

To the right is an animation showing how to measure the face when you're drawing a portrait of a person. First, take a measurement from your subject then transpose that measurement to your drawing. It's best to start your measurement on an element that you have already placed on your drawing. So start the drawing by drawing the oval to get the general placement of the face on your paper. Then place the eyes on your drawing. Then, starting the measurement from the eyes you drew, place and draw the nose. Then, using the nose and eyes as a guide, place the mouth. Using the mouth, place the contour of the chin. And then using the eyes as your measuring starting point, measure to place the hairline.

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