Heads will naturally vary in measurement and proportion. However, any artist will find it most practical to carry in his mind as basic measurements a scale of proportions, built on averages and simplified. The front view of the head fits quite well into a rectangle that is three units of measurement wide, and three and a half deep. This scale leaves a little space beyond the ears on each side. The half measurements of these units locate the eyes and nose and help in placing the mouth, and also put the line of the eyes at the halfway division of the whole head from top to bottom, as it should be and as it averages out in a large percentage of actual faces. This method of unit measurement locates the hairline and the three front divisions of the face. The side view of the head fits exactly into a square three and one-half units in each direction. You can establish your own unit; it is the proportions that are important.
These proportions, shown in Plate 18, have been worked out after a great deal of research and are offered to meet the need for a simple and practical scale that is readily usable. This scale fits perfectly with the ball-and-plane approach.
PLATE 18. Proportions of the male head
The standard proportions for a man's head are worked out here for the front view and the side view. The scale may easily be memorized. The head is three and one-half (optional) units high, nearly three units wide (to include the ears), and three and one-half units from tip of nose to the back of the head. The three units divide the face into forehead, nose, and jaw. Ears, nose to brow, lips and chin arc each one unit. So you may start in this way to draw a head in any size you wish, using your own unit of measurement.
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