How to Draw the Head from Every Angle: Part One

How to Draw the Head from Every Angle: Part One
They say the head, especially the facial expression, is the most important part of a character drawing. So, learning how to draw a character's head is a popular topic when teaching character illustration. In this 15 minute Skillshare course, Nina Rycroft teaches her students her technique for drawing character heads and facial details in different views, including front, side and back views. She reduces the head to its basic shapes, which is the first step in her technique and then uses several types of guidelines for placing the facial features on to the basic head shapes. This course is the first part of a three part series.

Rycroft begins by discussing the basic structure of the front view of the character's head. She digitally removes the details such as the eyes, eyebrows, nose, lips, ears and hair. Once she has only a plain sphere shape for the head, she adds a smaller oval to indicate the flat side of the head and discusses what parts of the head that these two shapes represent. She then demonstrates how to divide these shapes further in to smaller sections, by adding a few specially placed lines. She uses these lines to indicate the position of the jaw bone and brow line. She ends this first lesson by adding back the facial details to the head.

In the next few lessons, Rycroft begins with an actual egg to demonstrate how to draw an egg-shaped head. You may recognize this familiar combination of a circle inside an oval. Once she finishes drawing the front view, she draws the side view. She then adds a few new guidelines, dividing the shape into thirds. These new guidelines indicate the position of the hair line, brow line, tip of nose and chin line for both the front and side views.

Rotating the head on the Y axis at 45 degrees is the next subject covered in the following two lessons. Rycroft uses three character heads, which are a girl, boy and baby, and demonstrates how to rotate the head at 45 degree increments. This results in the heads positioned in five different angles, which are a front, right-angle, side, left-angle and back view for each of these three heads. She discusses which facial details are visible and which details are obscured when rotating the head at each of these five angles.

Nina Rycroft is a successful children's book illustrator, with more than a dozen books published. She has several other popular courses on Skillshare besides this three part series.

How to Draw the Head from Every Angle: Part One by Nina Rycroft (affiliate link)

Disclosure: As a participant in the Skillshare affiliate program, some of the links in this article are affiliate links. However, my opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

Screenshots used by permission of Skillshare, Inc.

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