Portrait – Profile View

Hello people!

Despite everything going on at the moment, I hope you’re fine and doing good. Due to the ‘time difference’ of me writing it, and the article actually being published, as you’re reading this, things may already have gone back to almost normal. Should this not be the case, let’s remain calm and confident. We can do this! And, well, since you’re advised to go outside as little as possible, all the more time and reason to get into this tutorial!

So today, we’re doing portraits, profile view. A tutorial for front view is already online, and though it is in Luxembourgish, the drawings provided should be able to give you a good enough idea of what to draw.

But, now, let’s begin!

1. First, draw a circle. Plain and easy.

2. Then, draw a vertical line all the way through the circle and a little further down.

3. One third up starting from the bottom or the circle, draw another, now horizontal line.

4. Follow this up with a third one to the left, touching the side of the circle, crossing the horizontal line.

5. Now draw a line touching both the horizontal and the outer left one, creating a more or less 35° angle with the latter. I promise this is actually going somewhere and not just some weird geometry course.

6. Finally, we can begin with the actual drawing! Rejoice! 😉 Starting from where the outer left and the horizontal lines cross, you draw the nose, then the lips, and eventually the chin or your portrait – all while staying within the slightly slanted line we so carefully placed before.

7. Next, we’ll draw the jawline, reaching from one vertical line to the other (see, it’s all good for something after all). You may choose yourself how sharp you want that to look.

8. Let’s get to the skull. Therefore, simply follow the upper part of your circle. Stop, once you’ve reached half of the first/right quarter on the bottom side.

9. You can follow this up with neck, shoulders, chest,… I don’t use guidelines for this, since everything depends on who you paint. Man, woman, giraffe-human-hybrid,… The possibilities are endless.


10. For the eye, one the other hand, there is a little trick on where to paint it. Use your horizontal line as guide to where to start from and come back to (unless, maybe, you’d draw slanted eyes). Upper and lower lid don’t touch when in profile view and are connected by the eyeball. 

When it comes to the eyebrow… Again, you can go wild on this one. Just keep your character’s mood in mind. It’ll be impossible to make someone with for- and downward tilted eyebrows look sad, for example.


11. Almost done! Give your person an ear and best place it in the right corner of the four the horizontal and the right, vertical line created. I’m not very good at drawing ears. Basically, all I can tell you is that they’re oval-shaped and larger at the upper than the bottom part. It’s rather hard to explain how to draw the inner ear, too, but the image provided should give you at least some kind of an idea what we’re talking about.


12. Step 12 is probably the most fun!
Chose a hairstyle for your character/person. As you might see, this will really change how whomever you’ve drawn will be perceived. It’s a great way to further underline whichever characteristics you want to communicate purely visually.

13. I went for a rather strict up-do and a black turtleneck shirt but gave her a few rebellious strands as well as a small bow-tie hair-tie.


14. And there she is, coloured in. I chose the background colour and thought that it would look best paired with a muted, grey-ish blue. I tried to give her a normal, human skin-tone, but she just HAD to be blue. Like, entirely blue. So… There we go. Maybe she’s an alien, maybe the lovechild of a human and a smurf – however that worked out. 😉 Let’s stay open-minded.


And that’s it. Here another profile I drew a while ago. Her neck is probably a little too long but overall, I think she looks okay. Those peonies were a truly unpleasant pain in the butt to draw though.


If you go ahead and follow this tutorial, I hope it’s the least bit helpful and if your piece doesn’t look the way you’d like it to right away, don’t give up. Try again. Most good drawings have at least five ‘ugly’ sketch predecessors. Keep practicing. The next and final portrait ‘episode’ will be about 3/4 view.

Until then, happy drawing and painting, have fun, and stay healthy and creative.
Stéphanie K.

Stéphanie K.

Hi, my name is Stéphanie. I'm Luxembourgish, in my late twenties, and a passionate artist. I paint and draw since what feels like forever. Though I do occasionally crack open a tube of acrylic paint, my favourite traditional mediums are a watercolour and alcohol markers. I also do lots of digital pieces. My motifs include all possible things, such as food, plants, characters, and animals, whereas my art style depends much on the subject and reaches from cartoony to semi-realism.

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