The Head

Although this is not a book about portraiture, it is still a book about drawing the figure, and no figure-drawing book is complete without taking a close look at drawing the head. There is probably no other part of human anatomy that is viewed more than our heads, and there is probably no part of the head that is more sought out by others than the eyes. The head is the central element of countless works of art. Whole industries, such as beauty salons and cosmetics companies, are devoted to enhancing the beauty of the head.

Drawing a great figure drawing of the body is wonderful, but if you can't put a decent-looking head on the figure, your drawing will almost immediately fail. People tend to search out the head and eyes of a person in a drawing before they look at anything else. It is kind of like the opening chapter in a book. If you can't grab the viewer's attention with a well-drawn head, you will most likely lose the viewer.

To draw the head well, you need to learn how to construct the head and how to place each feature in its proper place. Like everything else, begin from the inside and work out.

Anatomy of the Head

The head gains much of its shape from the skull. Although the skull might appear to be a single bone, it is in fact made up of several bones that are completely or partially fused together. The areas where the bones are fused together are called sutures. Some of the bones are fused at birth, but others fuse together as a person grows to maturity. Figure 4.10 shows the human skull from a side view, showing some of the sutures that divide the bones of the skull.

The bones of the skull form a protective layer for one of the body's most important and delicate organs, the brain. If you feel along your forehead and back over your head, you will notice that the bones of the skull are very close to the surface of the skin. If you press your fingers against your forehead or scalp and move them around, you will also notice that there is a little give in the skin because it is more loosely laid against the bone than in other location on the body As a person ages, the skin become looser and begins to sag.

Figure 4.10

The bones of the skull fuse together as a person matures.

Figure 4.10

The bones of the skull fuse together as a person matures.

Figure 4.11 shows the skull from the front.

The skull can be broken down into two parts—the cranium and the mandible. The cranium includes all bones of the skull except the jawbone, which is called the mandible. The jaws are powered by two muscles on either side of the jaw that are attached to the skull under the zygomatic arch. Other muscles of the head stabilize the bones and produce facial expressions.

Figure 4.11

The skull is near the surface on the forehead and scalp.

Figure 4.11

The skull is near the surface on the forehead and scalp.

Proportions

Proportion in figure drawing is a term used to describe accurately defining relative distances between physical features of the human body. This means that when drawing people, all aspects of the body are related to each other so that no part is drawn too small or too large.

Proportions of the Head

The proportions of the head are rather simple if you take the time to study them. Figure 4.12 below is a drawing of a head from the front and the side.

Figure 4.12 A head from the front and side.

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Although there are individual variations, most heads fall within some general guidelines.

^ The face can be divided vertically into four sections. The hairline is in the top section. The top of the eyes and the eyebrows are in the next quarter section. The bottom of the eyes and the nose are in the next lower quarter, and the mouth and chin are in the bottom quarter (see Figure 4.13).

^ The distance between the eyes is about one eye-width, as shown in Figure 4.14. Notice that the nose is also about an eye-width wide. Noses vary in width quite a bit, so this is not always the case.

^ The width of the mouth generally falls inside the distance between the pupils of the eyes, as shown in Figure 4.15.

^ The ears usually are as high as the top of the eyes and extend to near the bottom of the nose, as shown in Figure 4.16.

Figure 4.13 The face can be divided vertically into four quarters.
Figure 4.15 The mouth is usually inside the width between the pupils.
Figure 4.14 The eyes are about one eye-width apart.
Figure 4.16 The ears are about the length from the top of the eyes and the bottom of the nose.

^ The ears usually fall in the back half of the head, as seen from the side (see Figure 4.17).

^ The ears usually fall in the back half of the head, as seen from the side (see Figure 4.17).

Figure 4.17 The ears are more than halfway back on the head.

Figure 4.17 The ears are more than halfway back on the head.

^ When measuring from the tip of the nose to the back of the head, the base of the front of the neck falls at about the midpoint, as shown in Figure 4.18.

Figure 4.18 The front of the neck starts about halfway back on the head.

Figure 4.18 The front of the neck starts about halfway back on the head.

Construction Guide for the Head

With these principles in mind, you can now create a construction guide for drawing heads. To help them accurately draw in 3D space, artists use construction guides as a framework for placing features. Here is how it works. First, start with a circle. The circle will act as a guide for most of the skull.

The bottom of the circle will generally fall somewhere between the mouth and the nose, and most of the time it will come just below the cheekbones, as shown in Figure 4.19.

Notice that the circle extends out from the head on either side, past the ears. This is because the head is not a perfect circle. When drawing, you need to remember to bring the sides of the head inside the circle.

Split the circle in half both vertically and horizontally. The head is fundamentally symmetrical. The vertical line defines the center of the face. The horizontal line is used as a guide for placing features.

Once you have established the circle, draw in the jaw line. It will extend down below the circle, as shown in Figure 4.20. Extend the vertical line to the bottom of the jaw.

Divide the head construction with horizontal lines for the eyes, nose, and mouth, as shown in Figure 4.21.

Figure 4.19 Start the drawing with Figure 4.20 Draw in the jaw line. Figure 4.21 Draw lines for the a simple circle. eyes, nose, and mouth.

Figure 4.19 Start the drawing with Figure 4.20 Draw in the jaw line. Figure 4.21 Draw lines for the a simple circle. eyes, nose, and mouth.

Figure 4.24 Finish drawing the construction guide in 3D space.

Figure 4.23 Draw the construction guide as a 3D shape.

This is the basic construction guide for drawing a head from the front. Figure 4.22 shows the construction for drawing a head from the side.

Not every head you draw will be a front view or a side view. Often the head will be turned to one side or the other, or it will be looking up or down. Most of the time, you will need to create the construction guide as a 3D shape. Figure 4.23 shows the construction guide moved into a three-quarter turn with the circle, cross lines, and the jaw line drawn in. Notice that the cross lines are drawn as ovals, indicating the turn of the head to the left and the tilting of the head slightly down.

Next, draw in the lines defining the eyes, nose, and mouth, as shown in Figure 4.24. The lines going around the back of the head are lightened so you can better see how they work.

Figure 4.23 Draw the construction guide as a 3D shape.

Figure 4.24 Finish drawing the construction guide in 3D space.

The lines can now be used to define the location of the features. Figure 4.25 shows the construction guide over the face and the drawing once the guide is removed.

It takes a little practice to get the features in the right places using the construction guide. Remember that the construction guide defines the base of the nose where it protrudes from the face. The eyes, on the other hand, generally recess in from the line. The top cross line is just about the level of the eyebrows. The sides of the face do not extend all the way to the edge of the circle.

Try drawing a few faces on your own. Figure 4.26 shows a construction guide that you can copy and use to practice.

Figure 4.25 Use the construction guide to draw the face.

Facial Features

Drawing the head is easier if the artist is familiar with all of the features of the face. Each feature is unique, and understanding them can improve your ability to draw high-quality heads for your characters. A good way to understand how to draw the head is to isolate each feature and learn how to draw it. Try filling sketchbooks with eyes, noses, mouths, and ears.

Let's take a look at the individual features of the face and see how each one is drawn.

Eyes

The human eye is a spherical object recessed into the skull. We only see a part of it. It is covered by eyelids and protected by a ridge of bone that makes up the brow and cheekbones of the skull. Figure 4.27 shows the many parts of the eye.

Here are some tips for drawing eyes:

^ Eyelids have thickness on the top and the bottom. It is most evident on the bottom lid.

^ When drawing the lashes, plant the tip of the pencil at the base of each lash and release pressure on the pencil stroke as you draw in each lash.

^ The highlights of the eye are direct reflections of the light source. They are always the brightest part of the eye, even brighter than the whites of the eye.

^ There is often a fold above the eye that becomes more evident the more the person opens his eyes.

^ There is a cast shadow below the upper lid on the eyeball.

^ Remember to draw the tear duct on the inner side of the eye.

^ The pupil sits behind the lens of the eye, not on the surface of the eyeball.

The eye bulges from the skull at the center because of its ball shape (see Figure 4.28).

Figure 4.27 There are many parts that make up an eye.

Figure 4.28 The eye bulges In the middle.

Nose

The nose is often one of the hardest features for a beginning artist to draw. That is because the nose is a protrusion from the face and is indicated mostly by delicate shading along the bridge. Often the beginning artist will try to draw the nose using lines from the eyes. It is better to think of the nose as a protruding structure that blends in with the other structures of the face, as shown in Figure 4.29.

A nose is made up of bone, cartilage, and soft tissue. The bony bump often seen on the ridge of adult male noses is the transition between the skeletal bone of the nose and the cartilage, as shown in Figure 4.30. There are three pieces of cartilage in a nose, one along the bridge and then two at the tip of the nose. If you feel the tip of your nose with your finger, you should be able to sense the two plates and the small recess where they come together. With some noses this recess between the cartilage plates can be seen.

Both nostrils have a soft tissue flap that extends from the tip of the nose and around each nostril. The flap tucks in to the upper lip and often forms a slight outward bulge.

The upper lip often reflects light to the lower part of the nose. The more ball-shaped the end of the nose is, the more this reflected light is evident.

The highlight of the nose is usually above the tip of the nose.

Noses are generally larger on older people because the nose continues to grow throughout our lives.

Figure 4.29 The nose is a protruding structure that blends in with the rest of the face.

Mouth

The lips frame the mouth opening for the face, as shown in Figure

4.31. They are primarily fleshy tissue with underlying muscles that enable movement. They form the most dominant feature of the mouth and are divided into two parts—the upper and lower lips.

The upper lip is attached to the skull, and the lower lip is attached to the jawbone. Because of the two separate bone attachments, the mouth has the widest range of change of any facial feature.

The lips cover the inner mouth and derive much of their shape from the teeth. If seen from one side or the other, there is a pronounced arch from the sides of the mouth to the middle, as shown in Figure

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