How to Draw a Face Sideways

Updated April 17, 2017

A person's face as it is turned sideways is referred to as the profile. Drawing a profile of a particular face does not have to be a difficult task no matter what one's skill level may be, but patience and practice can assist in realistically recreating this image. However, using a picture of someone's head turned sideways is a hands-on technique that will provide the artist more information about how each section of the face is constructed.

Sketch out an oval to get a basic outline for the face you will be drawing. Because you are drawing from a profile perspective, the oval should be drawn slightly wider than it is tall.

Check the picture of the face you are using as a reference guide and draw the hairline of this particular person. Start at the peak or top of this individual's hairline and work down the side and eventually to the back of the head. Use light pencil marks through this section until you are confident with the basic shape of the hair.

Draw an oval-shaped circle overlapping the hairline, positioned slightly below this area. The circle should be drawn slightly taller than it is wide. This oval will represent what will later become the ear.

Sketch out a rounded triangle on the outer portion of the head, or the front of the person's face. This triangle should be situated on the face so that the slope of the forehead moves inward to the bridge of what will be defined as the nose. Check the structure of the nostrils in the profile image you are using as a reference guide.

Draw the eye between the nose and ear on the face as it is pictured. From this angle, the eye appears cone-shaped because of the way the human eyelids close around this facial feature. Use light pencil marks to sketch the eyelids and pupil of the eye to reflect the realistic image. Add eyelashes using small strokes while creating the eyebrow with carefully placed lines.

Move to the mouth and chin area of your profile, as this featured section moves into the face along the same vertical plane as the forehead. Use the picture to guide you through the necessary lines to form the lips down to the chin of your person's profile.

Trace all of the pencil lines with an ink pen slowly and as smoothly as you can. Make sure you do not smear any of the ink as you carefully pull the tip of the pen over each of the intended pencil marks. Let the ink dry before you erase any remaining marks, as the ink can easily smear.

Use the pen to create cross-hatched lines to create a three-dimensional look to your drawing of a face turned sideways. Areas below the nose, underneath the eyes, behind the ears and just under the lower lip should be darkened to accent these facial features.

Things You'll Need

  • Drawing pad
  • Pencil
  • Pen
  • Eraser
  • Pictures of profile faces
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About the Author

Matt Wooddy has been a freelance writer since 2006. His work has been featured in local and national audio magazines. Aside from graphic design and illustration work, he has also taught several classes on painting and drawing basics. Wooddy is also a DJ and technical engineer.