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How to Draw the Head from Any Angle

August 14, 201218 Comments

 

If you prefer to read, here is the Transcript:

Well hello there! My name is Stan Prokopenko, I’m going to be doing a series of video tutorials. Hopefully there will be some interest and I’ll continue making more of these for you guys!

In this first video I’m going to *attempt* to summarize and simplify Andrew Loomis’ approach to drawing the head. Here we go..

So, if we remove the eyes, nose, lips, and ears from the head we are left with 2 simple masses. A ball for the cranium and a boxy shape for the jaw.

The cranium is spherical, but with the sides flattened. So, chopping off a slice from both sides gets us a very close representation of the cranial mass.

When drawing the head, I’ll start with this ball and an oval to indicate the flat side plane. The sizes are important here. Make sure the ball is a perfect circle. Don’t be sloppy. The oval is a bit more tricky. The height will always be the same, no matter what angle you’re drawing the head from. It’s ⅔ of the height of the circle. From the center and top of the circle, divide that area into thirds, and this will give you the top of the oval. Do the same at the bottom.

The width will depend on the direction the person is looking. Compare the size of the front plane to the size of the side plane. The top portion of the oval falls on the corner of the forehead, where the front plane meets the side plane. This area is usually rounded and so it’s open to the artist’s interpretation. I’ve found that it usually lies near the end of the eyebrow.

We indicated the left and right turn of the head by the width of the oval. Now we need to find the up and down tilt. This is indicated by an angle along the side plane. If the head is tilted up, the angle will point up and if the head is tilted down, the angle will point down. The degree of the tilt will determine how steep to make this line. I like to use the angle from the ear to the brow.

From there, I’ll continue that line over to the front plane. Since this line represents the brow, pay attention to the angle from one brow to the other.

Then, draw a curve identical the the first one, this time starting from the bottom of the oval. This represents the bottom of the nose. Drawing the same line again from the top of the oval, bring you to the hairline.

Since the face can be broken down into nearly perfect thirds, chin, nose, brow, and hair, we can use the measurements we’ve already found, to find the chin.

Observe the general shape of the jaw and draw in the major angles starting from the brow and ending at the side plane of the head. It’s usually about halfway into the oval, or a little bit further back.

Now that we have the foundation of the head established we can finish it by putting in all the features! Don’t worry, I’ll explain this step in more detail in another video. Each feature deserves it’s own episode.

Let’s go through that one more time.

  • Start with a circle for the cranium.
  • Oval for the side of the head
  • Angle to show the person looking up or down. I’ll go with a subtle down tilt this time.
  • Draw an identical curve to find the nose
  • And double that distance to find the chin
  • Attach the jaw and you have a 3 dimensional representation of the head ready for the features.

This approach is really good to establish the perspective of the head. A good exercise is to try to think about the head as a simple elongated box. The angles on the front plane of the face such as hair line, brow line, nostrils, lips, and chin will be the same as the angles on the front plane of the box. The angle from brow line to ear is the same as the angle on side plane of the box. These angles are really important cause they establish the head as a 3-d form in space.

 

Drawing the Head and Hands – by Andrew Loomis

This video summarizes this book. The full version is a great resource.

Filed in: FundamentalsPortrait / HeadVideos
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Comments (18)

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  1. Susan B. says:

    Excellent. I hope to see more of these videos. I’ve watched the first eight? several times, and learned something new every time. I’m not a new artist, but struggle nonetheless. Please keep these coming. Thanks.

  2. Glenn Doughty says:

    Stan I want to thank you for your “drawing head, eyes, nose” series. They are excellent and deeply appreciated. How kind and big of you to freely share this with the public. I sincerely hope that all leave you a donation, which I will do shortly.

  3. Jan V says:

    I recently subscribed to your email newsletters and have just watched this video for the first time. It is excellent, detailed but not too long to absorb. I love the smiley face and music and that you imposed the lines over your face. great work. great communication. Thankyou.

  4. Keith says:

    Excellent stuff!
    Determining the width of the sideplane is obviously important for drawing an anatomically accurate face. How do you determine that though, other than making an educated guess? Also, when does it touch the back of the head, disappear around it, or make it show?

  5. Excellent, very nice tutorial, thank you.

  6. Jaylene says:

    Very well explained. Thank you.

  7. Buckler says:

    Great stuff Stan! I’m greatly appreciative of all of the sources you put out for us aspiring artists. Thank you!!

  8. Buckler says:

    Do you ever find yourself using the oval before the circle?

  9. Chester Micek says:

    Your instruction is the best I have found on the internet; however, I’d like to see more exercises that develop the lesson. Put another way, this lesson is an excellent quickie precis of an hour lesson. It’s good; I watched it seven times and I was able to pause it. Still, for me, it was as if the lesson were on fast forward. To put my comments in perspective: compare the first lesson on the head to the first lesson on the figure. I bought them both because they are both good, but the figure lessons are better subdivided, better paced, and have better examples. The first draw a head at any angle was too past and information thin for me. Still, it is the best bang for my buck.

    • Chester, thanks for your feedback. I’m glad you like the content. I try to make the best content on the web and glad you think it is :)

      You’re right, the figure course has much more content and examples for each lesson than the Portrait course. I made the figure course after the portrait, and so I made a lot of improvements in my format. Really that’s why the Portrait course is half the price. I started by uploading a few short tutorials on youtube and it grew into something much bigger. Though it’s a bit overwhelming, I’m not complaining.

      I want to possibly make a supplemental portrait course with more details and more examples. I have so many ideas of things I want to do. So little time!!

  10. DL-Draw says:

    How can I download these videos in case the internet stops :)

  11. These supplemental plans are labeled A through N, and cover
    different things for different amounts. The other part of the study that I
    liked was the fact that Dr. Providing a lower price to VIP customers and empowering women and men with an incredible business opportunity to change
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  12. Tana says:

    Hi Stan,
    I’m loving your tutorials, the best around that I’ve found anywhere.

    I’d like to ask also if you could get out a supplemental portrait course with more details and more examples. It would be great to have examples of all the heads to download with the notes you give us.

    Thanks and blessings!
    Tana

  13. David bryant says:

    stan im having trouble keeping the portions of the head balanced when i draw them at different angles any tips on this. I was able to do this correct on your to views of the head but i become lost when i try to angle the head . thanks for all your videos im a premium member and love it !!

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