Portrait landmarks

Providence RI: I am teaching an 11 week roving watercolor sketch course on Thursday afternoons starting February 1.  Click here for more information and registration.

Below are portrait landmark notes made in my oil painting class.

portrait landmakrs 1 copy.jpg

Portrait proportions after Sargent’s Lady Agnew of Lochnaw.  These are the landmarks I think of when drawing a human head.  Please note the measurements only hold true when looking directly at the subject at eye level.


I tend to think about the portrait landmarks in this order

  • Vertical center line
  • Top of hair
  • Top of head
  • hair / brow line
  • Eye Brow level
  • Eye level (I measure at the tear duct)
  • Bottom of nose
  • Tops and bottoms of ears
  • Line where the lips meet
  • Bottom of  the chin