Spheres and guidelines

A sphere with guidelines is a popular basic shape for drawing heads. While it is not as important as the other sketching techniques, you are going to see it a lot throughout this tutorial, especially in the chapters about animal anatomy and anthros.

Now a sphere is easy enough; you grab a compass, draw a circle, there's your sphere. However, we'll also need some guidelines, and that's the tricky bit. Here, take a look at some examples.

Human Figure Drawing
Figure 1.18. Spheres

As you can see, I've drawn three lines on the sphere. A horizontal one, and two vertical ones. Also, there's arrow sticking out. This indicates where the nose points to. We're going to use these guidelines to locate the facial features, and make sure our characters don't end up looking like a Guernica reject.

A guideline on a sphere will look like an ellipse if it turns away from the viewer. Drawing an ellipse takes some practice, and I'll show you a couple of things you'll need to keep an eye on. First of all, there are six points on the sphere's surface where the guidelines cross each other. The point where the arrow is sticking out is one of them. A straight line between two opposite intersections passes through the middle (where you put the needle of your compass). You can see that in the next figure on the left:

Figure 1.19. Intersections are at the opposite ends

On the right you see something similar, but this time it's for the points where the ellipse touches the outer circle. Again, a straight line through two opposite points goes through the middle.

The ellipse must also be symmetrical. Check if the distance to the center is the same on both sides:

Don't sweat it, though. These are just a couple of things you can use to judge your ellipse by eye. You shouldn't go and break out a ruler to get it absolutely perfect.

Okay, let's do something useful with it. The horizontal guideline is used often for placing the eyes. You already know in what direction your character is looking, so all you need to do is to place the eyes at the same distance from the center. I've indicated the measurements in red, and the eyes themselves in blue:

Figure Drawing The Human Face
Figure 1.21. Placing eyes symmetrically

Using the two vertical guidelines, we can do the same for ears. Again, the red arrows show the measurements taken to make sure everything is symmetrical.

Human Figure Drawing
Figure 1.22. Placing ears symmetrically

This was only a quick introduction to drawing faces, there's much more to come in chapters 3 and 4.

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  • proserpio
    What are the guidelines for drawing human figures?
    1 year ago

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