You may have your best pencils and drawing techniques to hand, but there's no getting away from the complexity of how to draw a head. Because of this, it's a good idea at first to simplify as much as possible, starting with simple shapes and then slowly adding features.
Here's a breakdown of my process:
01. Define the outer shape
It's good to start by observing the key landmarks, especially the top, sides and bottom of the head. Using the landmarks as a guide, I then design something that captures the general shape I see. For head shapes, oval, square and combinations of both work well.
02. Locate the crosshairs
To place the crosshairs, I look at the centre of the face and the centre of the eyes. This gives me the accurate tilt and rotation of the head. Next, I look to the hairline, brow ridge and bottom of the nose to help accurately place the features.
03. Define planes
Using planes helps to make my drawing feel solid, three-dimensional, and also aids the rendering process. I begin by first breaking up the head into top, side and front planes. Then I carve into the planes to refine the drawing as appropriate. Once that's done, I begin tackling the features by constructing them, also in planes.
04. Features and details
I complete the drawing stage by refining the features and other small details, before going on to refine my original constructions until I achieve a likeness. For greater accuracy, I use the natural rhythms in the anatomy to help place the features. This also helps with proportion and adds gesture to the drawing.
05. Light and shade
I begin the lighting and shading process by first separating the light from shadow. I'll often draw out the shadow pattern and then fill it with a mid-value tone. Then I'll continue the rendering process with half-tones and conclude with the dark accents and highlights.
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