Drawing The Foundations Of The 3/4 View Male Head
DRAW A SPHERE
Let’s get the ball rolling by drawing just that – a ball!
I don’t mean to make this sound so overwhelmingly simple, but no matter what angle the head is drawn on; the Sphere will always serve as the foundation from which the rest of the head is built out from.
As such, is also comes in mightily handy as a true and tried measuring tool that’ll help you nail down the size of your superhero head from the get go.
When all is said and done this ovoid shape will wind up forming the top half of the skull, also known as the cranium.
DEFINE THE FRONT OF THE HEAD
To ensure our superhero ends up with a properly proportioned head, we’re going to use an assortment of guidelines to help draw everything snugly into place.
The first guideline will define the front of the head by creating a central division that encircles the Sphere on a vertical axis. Since the head is being drawn at an angle here, you’ll notice how the center line conforms to the curve of our cranial ball.
Next create another horizontal guideline for the brow that divides the Sphere into two equal halves around the equator.
Visually the brow guideline appears to run straight across, from one side to the other. But if you were to view it any higher or lower it too would be drawn on a slight curve as it trailed around the surface of the Sphere.
DEFINE THE SIDE OF THE HEAD
So far the front of the Sphere has been established, but unlike the portrait and profile views of the head, at this angled perspective, both the front and side will be visible.
To define the side of the head, lay down a third vertical division, set at a 90 degree rotation from the front. This line will also have a curve to it to help portray the spherical form, like a red marker drawn around the surface of a queue ball.
You should now have a Sphere with three separate guidelines dividing it up into quarters. Unlike the side and front views, these guidelines clearly describe the three dimensional surface of the sphere on three different axis.
FLATTEN THE SIDES OF THE HEAD
The human head is more or less a dome with a block tagged on the front for the face. So a Spherical form fits perfectly as the foundation of your characters skull.
But it’s not completely circular.
In fact a more accurate, simplified representation of the cranium would be to take that Sphere and slice off the sides; effectively creating the temporal areas of the skull.
So go ahead and lop of the sides of that cranial ball by cutting an oval shape into the side of it.
Keep in mind that the amount to which you bring in the sides of the Sphere will determine how narrow or wide your character's head appears to be.
DRAW IN THE EYE LINE
The next addition to our set of proportional guidelines is the Eye Line.
It’ll run horizontally across the front of the Sphere, parallel to the Brow Line just above. Of course it’ll be used to place the eyes of your character, but it will also set the midway point of the heads overall length.
DRAW IN THE CHIN
Next we’ll define the overall length of the character’s head and then proceed on to laying in the rest of the feature Guide Lines.
Starting from the brow line, take the central division of the head and extend it all the way down to the bottom of the chin.
This is where the Eye Line comes in handy for more than just placing the eyes of your superhero. Because it falls almost exactly around the middle of the head, you can use it to help measure how far down the chin needs to come.
DRAW IN THE FEATURE GUIDELINES
With the overall length of the head set and ready to roll, it’s now just a matter of placing in the proportional foot notes to hang the rest of our features on.
Let’s take care of the Nose and Mouth Guide Lines next. To properly place them, simply break up the bottom half of the face’s central divide into equal thirds, between the Eye Line and Chin Line.
This will give you two new Lines, the top locating the placement of the nose and the bottom establishing placement of the mouth.
DRAW IN THE EAR
Placing the ear onto your character’s noggin is a walk in the park in the ¾ view, its co-ordinates landing smack bang on the side line division of the skull. And of course, as with any other angle, the ear lobe sits comfortably on top of the Nose Guide Line, with the Brow Line levelling it off at the top.
As far as the shape of the ear at this angle goes, well it’s similar to the side view, except slightly more skewed along the horizontal axis thanks to the warped perspective.
DRAW IN THE JAWLINE
Now it’s time to draw in the jaw line for our comic book compadre.
We all know that the shape of the jaw is akin to that of a horse shoe, wrapping around the skull, swinging from two hinges at either side of the head.
The tricky part about drawing it from this perspective warping angle is that the far corner of the jaw becomes invisible to the eye as it curves away from our line of sight.
So here’s how we’re going to tackle it. The nearest side of the jaw is drawn just as it would be from the front or side view, beginning from the bottom of the ear, and coming down to form the base of the chin. The key point to remember here is that the jaw line angles out on a sharp kink around about where you’ll find the Mouth Guideline.
On the other side of the head however, half of the jaw is hidden, so instead the opposing contour line will define the muzzle muscle and cheeks of our character. Basically, that line will run straight down from the eyeline to the chin on a slight curve, without any major kinks along the way.
To ramp up your male superhero characters to maximum masculinity, remember to keep their jaws angular, and chins broad. For the ladies and youngins, you’ll want to ease up on the testosterone by rounding out and softening up those chizzled features.
DRAW IN THE BACK OF THE HEAD
We’ve already chopped off the sides of the Sphere, but to create a really fine-tuned cranial shape for your character, the back of the skull needs to be brought in slightly.
Keep in mind that the top of the head remains unchanged here, it’s only the back that needs to be adjusted. So as the back is brought inward, the curve of the sphere will become tighter where it meets the top.
DRAW IN THE NECK
Let’s move onto the Neck. With all those muscles and tendons crisscrossing over one another this conjoining piece of anatomy can be a little confusing to work with. But just as with every other part of the human body, it too can be simplified down into some very simple key forms that make drawing it a cinch.
Think of the neck as nothing more than a cylinder that keeps your characters head attached to his shoulders. The top of that cylinder has a kind of ball joint that allows the head to swivel and move around in countless directions.
On top of that there’s a bunch of muscles that wrap around that main cylindrical form that help to hold up and support the heads mass.
The key suspects you’ll want to take note of here are the two thick bands of muscle that run down from underneath the ears to the center of the collar bone, forming a V-Shape as they angle in toward one another.
Then there’s the back neck muscles that extend down from the rear of the skull and wrap around the neck, ultimately joining onto shoulders. This creates a kind of concave formation between the collar bone, neck and shoulders.
Now when it comes to different genders, masculine characters are going to have a thicker neck with more defined muscle anatomy. Feminine characters on the other hand will usually have a thinner, longer, less defined neck to accentuate their elegance.
Finally, to separate the front and side planes of the face, draw in a new set of Guide Lines extending down from the brow and cheek bone to the chin. This will create a surrounding boundary containing all the facial features of our character within it.
Drawing in these guidelines also illustrates how little of the jaw can actually be seen as it bends around to the far side of the face. Again, it’s really only the cheek, muzzle and chin that defines the lower head’s silhouette from this angle.
DRAW IN THE CHEEK GUIDELINES
Well, that just about wraps up our little blue print here. Now I know it looks simple and to be honest kinda bland.
But the purpose of drawing out this foundational mannequin model is to provide a sound base for the rest of the head. With a solid underlying substructure there’s no further guess work to be made because everything is measured out and marked down. Now it’s just a matter of pinning on the facial features and refining what’s already there.
Let’s face it, who wants to spend hours on a piece of art work that only ends up being a dud due to a foundation that was flawed from the beginning? When you take this pre-planned approach to drawing, little room is left for error. That said, before moving on be sure to double and triple check the proportions of your head and the accuracy of the forms.
Ideally you’ll want to practice this simple set of steps as much as possible in the beginning not only to ensure your heads are correctly drawn each and every time, but so that the process becomes so second nature that it gets to a point where you won’t even have to think about it.
If you are consistent with that practice you’ll find that drawing heads becomes a breeze, and you’ll have the confidence of knowing that the heads of your superheroes are going end up looking ‘right’. Sure, these stepping stones can take a little getting used to, but repetition my friend, is the master of all skill.
With the overall shape and form of the head nailed down, this next section will focus on placing in the features, they’re basic construction and how they’re drawn onto the head in relation to one another.
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