Aleksandra Bzdzikot




How to draw a face on example of Sophie Marceau

Are you sometimes wondering what makes a good portrait?

Would you like to learn how to draw faces at a slightly different angle than just faces looking forward? 


If yes, then I have good news for you. I have made for you a short tutorial on how you can effectively sketch a face at a 3/4 angle. 

I know that it sounds a bit difficult, but it is not. As soon as you acquaint yourself with the underlying structure of the face (proportions), you will be able to draw a nice portrait. 


So, let's start!


For my model I took a beautiful French actress - Sophie Marceau. For sure, some of you know her from James Bond movies.

I will start off by saying that drawing portraits is not a piece of cake, but with a bit of practise and knowledge about proportions, it then somehow becomes automatic. 

Quite often we see a portrait and we feel that something is off, that something is not correct. I'm not saying here about the variety of the shapes of noses or lips or even eyes. To avoid this 'off' feeling we need to acquant ourselves with proportions. 





Today we're going to take a look on how to draw a face at an angle, like below. First, we need to draw the head. Then we proceed with drawing 5 lines:


1. Hair line

2. Eyebrows line

3. Eyes line

4. Lips line 

5. Nose line (the only vertical line)



Placing simple shapes, like the lines and the circle will make it easier for drawing the more detailed elements of the face. 



When viewing a face at a 3/4 angle, we are able to see much more of one side of the face than the other. We can see one eye completely, but the second one is a bit hidden or is smaller and a bit further away from us. We see the full nose and lips. When drawing, you need to remember that you need to show believable facial elements. That's why the key here is proportion. 





As soon as you have finished with your circle and basic lines you can proceed to drawing the face elements such as eyes, eyebrows, nose and lips.

My portrait of Sophie has also a hairline - I wanted to draw a fringe. Sometimes, you can leave the forehead clear of any lines. In case you prefer your model to be without a fringe.



Make sure you have an eraser with you and don't worry if the eyes are not perfect. Erase  them and start fresh. Only practise makes perfect :-)

If you are still not sure how to draw the facial elements, you can always give yourself a little help and google out some photos of the people. Then observe. Compare. Even print the photos out and draw on them the 5 lines .


Then, you should become more confident in drawing. 






Time for shadowing! Now, you can play with your pencil, colored pencils or even paints. This is my favourite part. It's a bit like putting a make up on a woman's face.

Make sure you don't exaggerate with the shadowing. Do it delicately. Don't press the pencil too hard. For shadowing I recommend using B pencils and for drawing the 'face map' - HB pencils. In my drawing of Sophie Marceau I used blue ink, pencil, bronzing powder and crayons. 


You are free to use any materials you like. Just remember that acrylic or oil paint can be 'too harsh' for the drawing and the effect can be disbalanced. 

Your personal style is very important and don't just copy other artists. Be yourself. Have fun with drawing and smile!



I hope you enjoyed this short drawing tutorial.  Don't hesitate to ask me any questions and let me know how your drawing practice goes!


See you next time,




10.07.2018 14:59:41

Sophie Marceau is my fav actress. She is chic and natural at the same time. Maybe one day I'll sketch her. Beautiful. Hugs from Paris, Marc

30.05.2018 16:40:31

Aleksandra - thank you so much for this great article. Amanda

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