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What is a Portrait?

Drawing a Face

There are some basic rules you can follow to help you draw faces. Follow these simple steps to draw the front view of a face (the measurements can be easily adjusted to create your individual portrait or to draw an angled face).


image showing how to draw a human face with guidelines
Guidelines for Drawing a Human Face

  1. There are many different facial shapes, but the basic shape is an oval. You can adjust the oval to make it more square, round or heart-shaped according to your sitter (the person that you are drawing). Start by drawing this shape.
  2. Divide the face into two vertical halves, this will help you position the nose and the other features.
  3. Then divide the oval into two horizontal halves, this creates the eye line.
  4. Draw another horizontal line halfway between the eye line and the bottom of the chin, this is where the bottom of the nose will be and shows you where to position the ears.
  5. If you draw another line in the centre of the bottom quarter, the mouth will sit a little above this line.


Finer Details

  1. To position the eyes, divide the width of the face, along the eye line, into five. There is usually one eye width between the eyes.
  2. The base of the nose is often as wide as the space between the inside corners of the eyes.
  3. If the sitter is not showing any particular expression, the corners of their mouth will line up with their pupils.
  4. Ears sit from the eye line to the bottom of the nose, so make sure they are big enough!