Friday, June 26, 2009

Constructing the Head

Drawing the head was a always hit or miss situation for me. If the model happened to be 'easy' to draw then I would be able to get a decent drawing, but if the model wasn't, then, my drawing was doomed. I was completely controlled by whoever happened to sit for the pose.

Well, after years of hit or miss drawings I decided to go back to the beginning and revisit how to construct the head. I now know that there is never a reason to blame the model, only the lack of knowledge I had. Drawing the head is a multiple step process. Below is a list of the process I most often take in order of steps.

1) Circle for cranium - "V" for jaw
2) Construction lines and abstractions of the planes
3) Lay in shadow shapes
4) work edges - Form shadows vs cast shadows
5) work shadow shapes until likeness is achieved

Above are handouts for construction, abstractions, and proportions and below is a list of proportions of the head most commonly used.

1) Tear Ducts = 1/2 point of head
2) space between eyes = one eye length
3) 1/3's = hairline to brow, brow to base of nose, nose to chin.

Coming next is an example of a step by step head drawing, then we'll get into shadow shapes.


  1. Like a great drawing, this blog distills all of the important information into simple forms. You could write the worlds smallest and greatest guide to drawing the head and figure. I would love to see a diagram of the planes of the figure, similar to the diagram you posted above that shows the abstraction and rhythms of the human head.
    Thank you

  2. I see that many illustrators use in their classes in portrait drawing these models that you put on the blog. Please tell me which book you drew those pictures?
    Thank you for posting.

  3. JUST seeing this one now, 3 years later! Wonderful,thank you. Judy