There's no getting away from it: drawing a head (opens in new tab) is a complex process. As with learning how to draw (opens in new tab) anything, it's a good idea at first to simplify as much as possible, starting with simple shapes and then slowly adding features.
So if you want to some tips, grab your best pencils (opens in new tab) and follow this 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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