figure drawing class portrait drawing lessons model poses for artists

How to Draw the Head – Side View

August 28, 20124 Comments

If you prefer to read, here is the transcript:

In this episode we meet our new friend, the SIDE view.

Just like the front view, the side view is a flat angle. You are looking directly at the side plane of the head. The process is the same as 3/4 and front view but I’d like to show you an example just to make it even more clear.

Start with the ball for the cranium and chop off the side plane. Notice that this time the side plane is a perfect circle instead of an oval and it’s in the middle of the cranial mass because we are looking directly at it.

Now let’s indicate this head looking slightly upward with an angle from ear to brow. Make sure that this angle is in the center of the side plane. Not up here, or down….. Right in the middle. Establishing the angle from one brow to the other is tricky, since we can only see one side. But keep in mind that if there is a twist, the angle will follow. Also, notice that the side plane is lower on the cranium when the top of the head is pointing at you and higher when its pointing away. I’ll go into more depth next week. For now, I’ll keep it straight and make the brow horizontal.

A perpendicular vertical line is helpful on the side plane. We will use it later to find the jaw. This should be close to the angle of the front plane of the face.

The curvature of the front plane varies from person to person. Sometimes it will be straight and sometimes curve out from the forehead to the chin. Also, sometimes the chin will be closer to the back of the head, or protrude out from the face. So pay attention to the angle from forehead to the front plane of the chin, as well as it’s curvature.

From the bottom of the ear draw that same angle over to the bottom of the nose. Find the hairline and chin using the rule of thirds.

Now add the jaw.

The cranial mass at the bottom back of the head is actually a bit higher than the perfect ball indeicates. So, I’ll make that little correction. And add the neck. When someone looks up, the chin goes away from the body and the back of the head gets closer. So we need to show the neck stretching in the front and squashing in the back.

OooK! here’s a little advise on the features… From the side, its hard to draw the features accurately just by following the contour. I like to observe as many angle relationships as possible. Brow to chin, brow to nose, nose to chin, nose to top lip, top lip to bottom lip, and so on. Plotting these points first makes it a lot easier.

Filed in: Portrait / HeadVideos
Tagged with:

Comments (4)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Manny says:

    Hey bud, thanks sooo much for these videos. I have a Bachelor’s degree in art, and I work as a designer, but my dream job is to be an illustrator. These videos are so incredibly helpful. It’s what I’ve been looking for, for a long, long time. Thank you! P.S. I can’t wait ’till you start the body!


  2. Kevin says:


    Great videos! I’m learning a lot. I’m wondering though, this method: won’t all ‘heads’ from different subjects then tend to look the same? Different facial features, but the craniums and jaw proportions will always be the same. But in life, craniums and jaws can vary quite a bit. Also head feature proportions (distance between eyebrow and nose etc) will vary with age. In my figure drawing class, most students are much better than me but I’ve noticed that the figure heads often do not look like the subject’s head but do often all seem to look alike especially at the blocking in stage. It’s like they’re drawing a ‘generic’ head. I wonder if they’re using the Loomis guide? I’ll have to ask! Thanks again .

    • Yes, if you follow the measurements exactly all the time you will get the same generic head. But that’s not the purpose. This gives you a framework to go from. If you see the person has a larger jaw than the average then make it larger. The average proportions that we study are very useful because they give us something to compare to. We notice subtle variations in proportion if we are familiar with the average.

  3. I simply could not go away your weeb site prior
    to suggesting that I actually loved tthe usual info an indivifual supply for
    your guests? Is gonna bbe back incessantly in order to check out new posts

Leave a Reply

Back to Top