Learn to draw a portrait / face in the front view

In this online tutorial I would like to give you tips for drawing portraits. The guide is mainly for beginners who want to learn how to draw portraits. Therefore we begin with the drawing of a face in the frontal view.

Tips and tricks - drawing portraits

Many artists are fascinated by drawing other people and faces. However, for drawing beginners, a certain sense of frustration often occurs when the drawing looks not as desired. In most cases, this is because they lack important basic skills in drawing portraits. In doing so, you often have a few small tricks to consider when drawing faces.

It is important to know some rules of the proportions of the head and the face. These proportions, of course, are not the same for every human being, so the rules of proportion presented here are to be understood just as a guide to the drawing of portraits. For example, you'll find a slightly different - easier - procedure in this guide: Lear to draw a portrait

How to draw a portrait
The division of face and head - Learning to draw a portrait

Proportions - Head & Face - Method 1

The first method I present in this online drawing guid is one of the most common teachings about the proportions of a face in the frontal view. This method can be used by drawing beginners to learn to draw a portrait and can be seen as an aid to orientation and drawing exercise.

Proportions of a face in the height

How to draw a face
Subdivision of a face to draw a portrait

Let us first look at the face from the front (drawing above). The face is here divided into three equal parts, corresponding to the height of the nose, plus a fourth piece representing the hairline.

The three main parts therefore have the length of the nose as a basic measure. The first part is the height of chin up to nose. The second part corresponds to the nose, or goes from the nasal tip to the eyebrows. The third part is the forehead. The fourth, smaller part is - as already written - the hairline. It corresponds to half of the basic dimension (= half the length of the nose). As a result, we can as well divide the head in seven sevenths as shown in the figure below.

Division of a face to draw a portrait
Division of a face in seven sevenths to draw a portrait

Other tips for the proportions of the face of the height

• The ears lie in the area of ​​the 2nd part of our subdivision and also correspond to the basic dimension in height.
• The eyes lie on the center line of the head.
• The lower end of the lower lip lies on half of the 1-part or between the first and second seventh.
• When the first part of the head is divided into three parts, the mouth is at the level of the second third.

portrait drawing
Example of a portrait drawing in the front view

Proportions of a face in width

The orientation is even easier in width (see figure above). The face can be divided into five parts. Each part corresponds to the width of an eye. Here we unmask two very typical character errors, which many beginners make when drawing a portrait:

1. The part between the eyes is broader than in the first approach. This part is as wide as an eye.
2. The area on the side of the eyes - the temples - are also as wide as an eye. This part is often drawn too narrow.

What is also noticeable in the proportions of a face in the width is that the chin has the width of one eye as well. But this is also only an orientation and can differ from person to person. In general, it is also noticeable that the chin is wider at men than at women.


If you do everything right, the portrait drawing looks like the picture below.

Portrait drawing in the frontal view
Portrait drawing in the frontal view

If you draw a portrait yourself, you can draw the described orientation lines in a preliminary sketch right at the beginning. Then you draw the face step by step in the front view. When the drawing is finished, the auxiliary lines can be removed.
Now I would like to recommend the other tutorials for drawing portraits and act. There you will also learn how to draw portraits in other perspectives.

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