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Portrait with paper hat

Standaard gezichts verhoudingen.

Just as there are standard proportions for the body, there are standard proportions for the face. These standard proportions serve as aids in drawing portraits. Few faces will match these guidelines exactly. Another point to keep in mind when drawing portraits is that the two halves of a person's face are generally not exact mirror images of each other. It is precisely these small differences that give a face its personality.

Portrait proportions straight from the front

The standard proportions are as follows:

  • The eyes are located exactly halfway down the face. Halfway between the top of the head and the chin.
  • The top of the mouth is about halfway between the eyes and the chin.
  • The bottom of the mouth is about halfway between the bottom of the nose and the chin.
  • The corners of the mouth are located below the centers of the eyes.
  • The top of the ears is at the same level as the eyebrows.
  • The bottom of the ears is at the same level as the bottom of the nose.

Portrait proportions from the side

A few other important points for portrait drawing:

  • From the side, the eyes are located some distance from the profile line, not on the profile line.
  • The forehead protrudes slightly forward.
  • The lips protrude slightly forward.
  • There is a hollow between the lower lip and the chin.

Basicshape, two eggshapes


  • When drawing a portrait, use the ears and eyes as guides. Draw a line between both ears, and you have a handy guide to judge the angle of the head. This helps to position the nose, eyes, and mouth correctly.
  • Viewed from the front, the head has an egg shape.
  • Viewed from the side, you can represent the shape as two overlapping egg shapes.
  • Do not start with drawing details, such as the eyes, nose, and mouth. First, make sure the shape of the head is correct and that the various guide lines are in the right place.