Drawing a person at profile presents a few challenges for the beginning as well as the advanced portrait artist. The sideways position of the person makes it a little more difficult to draw the features in relation to one another --- a common technique for drawing faces. To compensate for this, however, an artist can use several techniques to render an accurate profile..
Select a photo of a person in profile. Make sure it's a photograph that measures at least 8 inches by 10 inches and that you can mark on it with a blue or black ballpoint pen.
Create a grid on the photograph by marking squares measuring 1 inch by 1 inch with your ruler.
Recreate the same grid on your piece of drawing paper. The grid must possess exactly the same measurements as those on the photo, because you're going to use the grid to replicate the features of the face in relation to how they fall on the grid squares.
Draw the eye and the eyebrow. In order to find the correct placement for these features, count the squares on the grid on the photo. If the eyebrow is located seven squares down and three squares in from the edges of the photograph, locate those same squares on your drawing paper. Notice how the lines that create both the eye and the eyebrow intersect the grid. It may be that the curve of the inner part of the eye falls about three-quarters of the way down the left side of the grid square and curves up to about the middle of the top line of the same grid square. When you're drawing these curved lines of the eye, replicate these curves exactly. Do the same thing when drawing the eyebrow.
Replicate the process to create the nose. Artist Lee Hammond writes in "How to Draw Lifelike Portraits from Photographs" that the nose plays a key role in the overall look of the rest of the face, because it helps to provide scale to the rest of the features. Make sure that the proportions of the nose you draw help to balance out the eye and the brow.
Create the rest of the face as well as the hair and clothes, using the grid.
Erase the grid lines on the profile, leaving the picture of the person behind.
Fill in the shading. Shading is the play of the lightest lights and the darkest darks on a picture, which gives it a feeling of depth. Create shading by laying your pencil on its side, making even strokes. Start by laying down light strokes --- even the areas that will be very dark eventually start this way, because it allows you to see where to place each area of shading. Darken the darker areas, building them up with gradual, even strokes.
Things you need
- Picture of a person in profile
- Drawing pad
- "Sketchbook for the Artist"; Sarah Simblet; 2005
- "How to Draw Lifelike Portraits from Photographs"; Lee Hammond; 1995
- "Coloured Pencil Portraits"; Ann Kullberg; 1999
- "How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way"; Stan Lee and John Buscema; 1978
- Arty Factory: Proportions of the Head
- Portrait Artist: Drawing Profiles