Creating basic head shapes

Designing a head shape requires a familiarity with basic shapes and how to draw them. Though you've probably been drawing circles and squares since grade school, you may not know how to relate them to certain head shapes and the stereotypes associated with each. All you have to do is draw the basic head shape and then add the facial features you want to match your character's personality (check out the sections later in this chapter for clear directions on drawing eyes, ears, a nose, and so on). This section looks at some of these basic head shapes and shows some simple faces that fit certain types of characters.

You may have noticed that, throughout the entire book, head shapes like ovals or circles have both a horizontal and vertical line drawn across them. These lines are known as the center guidelines and can help you place the facial features in a symmetrical manner. The placement of these lines changes depending on the way you position the character and the angle from which you draw the head. Center guidelines are important; don't skip the step of sketching them onto your basic head shapes from the beginning.

Round head shape

Round head shapes are often best suited for characters who have small bodies. Kids fall into this category — Charlie Brown or the kids from Family Circus, for example, have round heads. Other cartoon characters with round heads include Mickey Mouse and the Powerpuff Girls. All these characters have large, round heads and small bodies. Just draw a circle to start and then add the facial features you want to match your character's personality. Figure 6-1 shows an example.

Figure 6-1:

A basic round shape may be best for your character.

Figure 6-1:

A basic round shape may be best for your character.

Head Basic Shape

Ovat head shape

Another option for your character's head is an oval shape. You can draw an oval shape either tall and elongated or squatty and wide. An oval shape that's elongated can give the impression that your character is really goofy or nerdy; a wide oval shape suggests that the character is heavy. Experiment with the shapes and positioning of the oval shape and adding the different facial details. See Figure 6-2 for an example.

Figure 6-2:

An oval shape can add a goofy quality to your character.

Figure 6-2:

An oval shape can add a goofy quality to your character.

Shapes Square

Square head shape

You can also use a simple square to create your cartoon character's head. A square head is best suited for characters that have boxy body types or who are big, muscle body types like sports jocks. Sketch the square and then draw the facial details to match your character. Figure 6-3 shows an example.

Figure 6-3:

A square head shape conveys a character's physical strength.

Figure 6-3:

A square head shape conveys a character's physical strength.

Cartoon Head Shapes

Triangle head shape

The last main option you have for drawing heads is the triangle. The triangle head has multiple purposes. Like the square shape, the triangle shape is well suited for a character who's large or one who has a big jaw or neck area. In contrast, if turned upside down, the triangle can give a character a nerdy look. Determine the look you want for your character, draw the triangle, and then add the facial features. See Figure 6-4 for an example.

Freehand Sketching An Introduction

Freehand Sketching An Introduction

Learn to sketch by working through these quick, simple lessons. This Learn to Sketch course will help you learn to draw what you see and develop your skills.

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