how to draw side profile
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How to Draw Side Profile


Learning how to draw a side profile can be a fascinating and rewarding experience for both beginners and experienced artists. The ability to capture the unique features and expressions of a person's face from a side view can add depth and dimension to your artwork. Whether you're interested in drawing portraits, character illustrations, or simply improving your skills as an artist, mastering the art of drawing a side profile is essential. In this article, we will guide you through the step-by-step process of drawing a side profile, providing helpful tips and techniques along the way.

Understanding Facial Proportions

Before diving into the specifics of drawing a side profile, it's crucial to understand the basic proportions of the face. By familiarizing yourself with these proportions, you'll be able to create accurate and realistic side profiles.

1. Head Shape

Begin by sketching the shape of the head. Remember that the side profile of the head is not a perfect circle but rather an oval shape. Pay attention to the angle of the jawline and the position of the ear.

2. Facial Features

Next, focus on the placement and size of the facial features. The eye should be roughly halfway between the top of the head and the chin. The nose starts at the eyebrow line and ends around the bottom of the ear. The mouth is typically located halfway between the nose and the chin.

3. Proportional Guidelines

Using light guidelines, divide the face into equal thirds vertically. This will help you position the features accurately. The hairline should fall around the top third, the eyebrows around the middle third, and the bottom third will consist of the nose, mouth, and chin.

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Draw a Side Profile

Step 1: Sketch the Basic Head Shape

Start by lightly sketching the basic shape of the head using an oval. Pay attention to the angle of the jawline and the position of the ear.

Step 2: Add Facial Features

Once you're satisfied with the head shape, begin adding the key facial features. Start with the eye, ensuring it is properly aligned with the guidelines. Then, move on to the nose, lips, and other details. Take your time and make adjustments as needed.

Step 3: Refine the Details

Refine the details of the face, paying close attention to the subtle variations in shape and shading. Add depth by incorporating highlights and shadows to give your drawing a three-dimensional feel.

Step 4: Finalize the Hair and Neck

Complete your side profile drawing by adding the hair and neck. Remember to consider the direction and volume of the hair. Pay attention to the shape of the neck and how it connects to the head.

Tips for Drawing Side Profiles

  • Practice drawing different angles and perspectives to improve your overall skills as an artist.
  • Observe and study real-life side profiles to understand the unique characteristics of each individual.
  • Experiment with different shading techniques to add depth and dimension to your drawings.
  • Don't be afraid to make mistakes. Learning to draw a side profile takes time and practice.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: How can I improve my drawing skills?

A: Improving your drawing skills requires consistent practice. Set aside dedicated time to draw regularly, experiment with different techniques, and seek feedback from other artists or mentors.

Q: Are there any shortcuts to drawing a side profile?

A: While there are no shortcuts to becoming a skilled artist, following step-by-step guides and practicing regularly can help you improve more efficiently.

Q: Can I use reference images when drawing a side profile?

A: Absolutely! Using reference images is a great way to understand the proportions and details of a side profile. However, remember to always respect copyright laws and use references as a guide rather than copying directly.


Drawing a side profile is a valuable skill for any artist. By understanding the proportions of the face and following a step-by-step process, you can create realistic and captivating side profile drawings. Remember to practice regularly, study real-life examples, and never stop exploring new techniques. With dedication and patience, you'll soon master the art of drawing side profiles.

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