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How to Draw a Person From the Side Step-by-Step

Updated April 17, 2017

The profile, or side view, or a person offers a different perspective to the facial features than with a front view. Drawing a person from the side view does not have to be a difficult process, no matter how much experience you may have. Select a picture of a person from this perspective to assist you in creating the basic shape and details needed for this drawing.

Draw a medium-sized circle in the upper half of the paper to designate the basic shape of the person's head from the side point of view. While the head is not completely circular in shape from this perspective, it will guide you through this drawing.

Sketch out two vertical lines underneath the head to represent the neck of your character. Be careful not to make this area too fat or too long, as it will need to be proportionally shaped to seem realistic. Draw half of a circle below the neck to reflect the rounded nature of the person's shoulder from this point of view.

Draw the side view of the person's body with connecting lines from the shoulders down to the wrist and hand of this individual. Notice how this person's chest, torso and legs are all connected in the picture from this particular angle. Use light pencil strokes to roughly define the shape of this person's body until you are confident in the basic proportions.

Create the hairline, starting from the forehead and working down to the back of the neck. Use long pencil strokes to define the hair more clearly. Draw an oval somewhat near the bottom of this hairline to represent the ear of this individual. Draw a small oval adjacent to the ear to represent the eye of this person. Check the picture for exact placement of the eyelids.

Add the nose to the side of the person's face. Make an indention down from the forehead, then draw a slightly diagonal line out from the head. Check the picture you are using as a reference guide to see how far out this person's nose sticks. Sketch a small line back into the face to complete the nose.

Sketch the lips of this person to form the mouth from the side view. Use small strokes, as the mouth is not very defined from this perspective. Move down from the mouth and round out the chin of the person's face as it connects to the neck.

Detail the shirt or upper clothing garment that the person is wearing in the picture you are using as a reference. Make sure the arms and hands are proportionally set, and add detail to each of these limbs and body parts.

Sketch the creases and defining shape to the trousers or lower body garments, as depicted in the picture. Be sure to appropriately position each of the legs, as the way these limbs bend is vital to creating a realistic image. Finish the drawing by detailing the shoes that the person is wearing, if any.

Trace the intended pencil marks with an ink pen, making sure you do not go over any pencil guidelines that helped you create this person. Let the ink dry, then erase any remaining pencil lines from the page.

Things You'll Need

  • Drawing pad
  • Pencil
  • Pen
  • Eraser
  • Pictures of people
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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.