This here's the angle I mean:

enter image description here

The face-turned-down-eyes-looking-up angle. It makes for a wide variety of expressions, from innocent to intense to creepy.

It's something I'd like to master, but it never looks right to me when I draw it, especially from a full front perspective.

I think it's something about the neck\shoulders that I'm doing wrong, but I'm clueless how to adjust it. Here is one of my attempts.

My attempt at drawing.

  • The image, I believe, is of the dancer Maddie Ziegler from the Sia's Chandelier video. May 28, 2017 at 2:13
  • Yes, I know @JohnVukelic :)
    – Numi
    May 28, 2017 at 2:16
  • Do you have an attempt you would be willing to share? It is easier to help you with your issue if we have a better idea of where you stand. Might get more focused answers that way.
    – Matt
    May 28, 2017 at 3:57
  • OK, I did just that:)
    – Numi
    May 30, 2017 at 1:56
  • 1
    Probably doesn't help that the manga style already has oversized eyes, when the chin is pulled in like that, if they are looking forward, you have to really open your eyes wide, so the eyes need to be taller... which I think is similar to what @Willeke is saying. Try it... put your chin down to your chest and look straight ahead... you can feel the stretch in your eyes to look forward... or do the same with your face forward and try to look at the ceiling... you have to arch your brow somewhat to do it.
    – Catija
    May 30, 2017 at 20:51

2 Answers 2


Here are some key differences I noticed between the reference image and your drawing:

  • The relative location of the pupils. If the subject is looking up at you, the pupils should be at the top of the eyeball, so there should be more white showing at the bottom of the eye.
  • The relative locations of the mouth/nose/chin. Since you are viewing the face from an oblique angle, the nose and mouth should be closely spaced and near the chin. The nose line will also seem longer than when faced head-on.
  • The position of the shoulders: in the image, her shoulders intersect at the level of her nose, about halfway up her face. In your drawing, the shoulders are at the level of the chin. Try moving them up.

The hair line looks good to me! At this angle you will see a lot more hair than usual, since you're viewing most of the top of the head.

Now for techniques: When drawing poses like this, I find it very helpful to sketch out a "wireframe" of the head. I use a roughly spherical shape for the cranium (pinched a little where the chin goes, like a rounded teardrop), then place the eyes on the equator line and the nose about 1/3 up from the chin. There are more "formulas" for these and other facial feature proportions you can search for if you're interested, but since your character is already stylized you can probably just eyeball the rest. (Sometimes I even use a wireframe method on the eyeballs themselves, if they are detailed enough! It helps me place and shape the eyelids as well as shade accurately.)

The neck and shoulders are probably trickiest to place. Remember that the neck connects at the back of the head near your ears, so when you rotate the head downwards, it will be from that connection point. That is, you're not just rotating the head-sphere around its center (and keeping it in the same position relative to the shoulders), you're flopping it forward over the shoulders.

Here's a very rough example of what I mean (sorry for MS paint.. limited options on my lunch break!):

wireframe example

The initial shape is black, guidelines are red, and features added afterwards are blue.

All that said, I strongly recommend finding reference photos as you have done here, and trying to copy them - not tracing, just studying as you recreate it. The suggestion in the comments to attempt the pose yourself is a very good one too! Many artists (animators, famously) keep a mirror at hand so they can check how a particular expression or pose looks.

And as always, practice makes perfect - as you draw more faces in more poses, you'll develop a better intuition of where to place features without needing to think about it as much.

  • The hair line is the only thing about this angle I find easy. Also, thank you for such a detailed answer!!!
    – Numi
    Jun 2, 2017 at 10:30

Angled views of objects are called "fore shortened" and present challenges to understanding that often stymie the artist trying to capture an image. Since you have a picture and probably have a printer, I suggest using a grid.

On the printed image draw lines across the paper at every inch point. That will give you an 8.5 x 11 graph over layered onto the face. With a pencil and a lite touch, duplicate an 8.5 x 11 graph onto your canvas or paper and fill the corresponding squares with those on the photograph. The graph on your canvas may be larger or smaller than the printer copy, as you will have to fit the image to a proportionately different surface. It's not very hard, even for the math challenged. Similar techniques have been used for centuries by some very famous artists.

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