Adding the Nose and Mouth

Continuing our discussion of portrait drawing, let’s move on to add more features.  Once the eyes are located we can add the eyebrows.   Whether they’re close over the eyes or higher above them depends on your model.  Eyebrows differ with everyone and often go a long way in defining the likeness. Look carefully at your subject to draw in the exact shape and placement.

83 eyebrows

Where the eyebrows are located on the head reveals the location of the nose because the end of the nose is, usually,  half the distance from the eyebrows to the tip of the chin.  Look carefully and you will also discover that the width of the nose is the width of the space between the eyes, or the width of an eye.  This can vary a bit, a broader nose will extend slightly beyond that width.

83 nose

When it comes to the mouth, I have found it to be generally about a third of the way from the nose to the chin.  This too can vary, and may be as low as halfway between the chin and nose.   Hold your pencil up to measure to get it in the right location.  The placement of each feature is such an important part of the whole.  And the slight variations of features are what makes each of us unique.   One final relationship:  the width of the mouth extends from the center of one eye, to the center of another.

83 mouth

These quick  line drawings are all very well to show the relationships of the features, but let’s take a look at a real drawing.   This face is slightly turned, but it still shows the position of eyes, nose and mouth as I’ve described them.

83 darrell

I have found that when something looks off in my drawings, I check the basic relationships.  So often it’s because one feature is slightly out of place.  When the eyes, nose and mouth are properly positioned, the likeness appears.


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