Author Topic: HAN101: Basic head (front view)  (Read 4924 times)

Pa Kalsha

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HAN101: Basic head (front view)
« on: July 03, 2016, 11:21:09 AM »
Drawing a head immediately puts us into the territory of character design - you can play with the relative height and width of the skull and the shape of the jawline to indicate sex and age, to create different characters, or indicate temperament, a character's role within a group and a host of other features. We'll be addressing all that in future lessons but, for now, this tutorial will walk you through the construction of a generic adult head.

The basis of the head is a ball. Add a cross to the ball, following the curve carefully, so you know which way the head is looking - in this case, that’s straight out at us, so you just need to divide the ball into quarters.

From the front view, the head isn’t a complete sphere, so we need to slice off a small bit from the sides of the ball, two-thirds of the top and two-thirds of the bottom.
The face itself is easily divided into thirds between the hairline and the chin, with the brow and bottom of the nose marking the divisions. Happily, the hairline and base of the nose in line with the top of that slice we made in the last step, and the horizontal line marks the position of the brow, so the chin is the same distance below the nose as the brow is above it.

The mouth is at the same level as the bottom of the sphere and the jaw, which curves around from the extremes of the head, starts to narrow at the same point. Drop the lines for the side plane down to the same level and bring them in towards the chin. Depending on the type of face you’re drawing, the width of the chin and prominence of the jaw will vary - we’ll discuss this in more detail in future tutorials on sexual dimorphism and character design.

By dividing the distance between the base of the nose and the brow into quarters, we find the location of the eyes.

The cheekbones mark the transition between front and side planes of the head. Although they're covered by muscle and fat in most people, they're an important landmark for artists; indicate them by drawing a slightly curved line between the brow-line at the edge of the ball and the edges of the chin.
You'll also notice that I'm using the outer curve of the ball to help place the ears. Ears leave the head at the level of the eyes, curve up until they're about level with the brow, and rejoin the head around the level of the bottom of the nose.

And that's the head from the front (ventral view, for you anatomy scholars). Inking over the construction lines gives us a mannequin head we can use as a blank for creating characters:

It bears repeating that this is a template; you’ll need to vary it in order to create visually distinct characters. The best way to do that is to apply these guidelines to drawing real people. By seeing how, for example, a longer or shorter nose or a squarer or narrower jaw affects the placement of features you’ll start to develop an understanding of how to create unique characters and, through that, your own identifiable style.

Three common mistakes:
  • Nose too low - not enough room for the mouth
  • Placing the eyes on the brow-line
  • Making the chin too pointed
« Last Edit: September 11, 2016, 10:37:31 AM by Pa Kalsha »