Technique Demonstration:
Face Proportions (Front View)

You will need:

  • Drawing paper (scratch paper is fine)
  • A ruler
  • Design® 3800 drawing pencil or uni-ball® Vision pen

Many artists want to make realistic portraits that show how someone looks. To do this, you have to learn about face proportion. (You may want to practice drawing the basic face shapes first.)

Are you ready? We’ll start with a front view. (When you are done, you may want to try a profile or three-quarter view.)

1. HEAD. Draw a large head shape on your paper.

Step 1: head

2. EYES. Eyes are halfway down the face. So use your ruler to divide your head in half with a horizontal line. Draw lightly (you may want to erase it later).
Step 2: Eyes

Step 2: Big Chin!This will look a little alien until you add eyebrows and hair. But don't draw the eyes too high!

Carmine with 5 eyesStep 2: EyesIf you look at someone face on, they will have room for five eyes across the front of their face! You can divide the horizontal line into five equal spaces to figure out how big to make the eyes.

Step 2: Eyes
Now draw the eye shapes—you can draw five to start with to help you remember the size and spacing.


3. NOSE. The size of the nose depends on the person. The bottom of the nose is often as wide as the inside corners of the eyes. So you can draw two lines down from the inside corners of the eyes.

Step 3: Nose

Usually, the bottom of the nose is halfway between the eye line and the bottom of the chin.
Step 3: Nose

Now you have a "nose box"—draw the nose!

Step 3: Nose

4. MOUTH. Draw another line half way between the nose and the chin.

Step 4: Mouth Step 4: Mouth

Mouths are right above this line. The width of the mouth depends on the person’s expression. But the corners of a relaxed mouth line up with the middle of the eye. Draw two vertical lines down from the pupils of the eye.


Now draw the mouth!

Step 4: Mouth

5. EARS. Ears are bigger than many people think! They stretch from the eyes to below the nose. Use the horizontal line you first drew for the eyes to line up the top of the ears. They will end between the bottom of the nose and the mouth.

Step 5: Ears

6. EYEBROWS. Eyebrows tell a lot about a person’s mood. They come in all different sizes and shapes (and some people pluck them out!) A gentle arch over the eyes should do for a relaxed face.

Step 6: Eyebrows

7. NECK. Most people draw the neck too thin. A head weighs eight pounds so necks are big and strong! Start at the ears and gently curve in then out again.

Step 7: Neck

8. SHOULDERS. If you have room on your paper you can draw shoulders or part of the shoulders. We actually have room for three heads on our shoulders!

Step 8: Shoulders

Make the shoulders wide enough so you could fit another head on each shoulder.

9. HAIR. Last but not least, HAIR! You could stop now if your subject has no hair. But if he or she does, remember where the hairline is.

Step 9: Hair

Good work! Now you can draw front-view portrait! Draw another and another and another until you don’t need to draw the guidelines.

Forward to face shape Lesson

Back to Lessons on line