Drawing In The Face Of The 3/4 View Male Head


Thanks to these trusty Guide Lines, drawing in the facial features of our superhero is going to be easy peasy. So let’s get straight into it, starting with the eyes.


Eyes are one of those areas of the face that seem to encapsulate the attention of the viewer before anything else.


That’s because, in the real world, when we converse with another person their eyes and mouth, being the most expressive of all the facial features, are what we’re focused in on. And so the audience, being the socially savvy creatures they are, will naturally attempt to connect with your character by focusing in on their eyes first and foremost. 


Try it out for yourself, the next time you see someone for real observe where your eyes click into focus.


In saying that, ensure that the eyes of your character are correctly spaced, shaped and sized. You don’t want to leave a bad first impression on your audience now do you?


On the ¾ view angle both eyes are drawn slightly differently due the distortion of their shape in perspective. But in terms of size and proportion they’re very much consistent with the front and side views. The distance between each eye is one eye width apart as is their distance from either side of the head.


Seems easy enough but be warned. Fudging up on these distances might leave you super hero looking more like a super space cadet.

How to Draw Comics | How to Draw Head Portraits 1
How to Draw Comics | How to Draw Head Portraits 1

Another common mistake to make when drawing eyes is to make them too big. This tends to make your character appear cute or cartoony, which is okay for younger characters but for our big shot super hero here, it’d be bad news. If you’re running into this boggly eyed obstacle, address it by drawing the eyes on smaller then you think they’d normally be.  


When it comes to accurately drawing the shape of the eye, remember that the eye ball itself sits inside the sockets of the skull. What we’re actually drawing is the opening created by the surrounding eye lids.  


From the front and side views of the head, drawing on the nose is a walk in the park. Turned on a ¾ angle and it becomes a little trickier.


Because depending on the perspective, the ridge of the nose could cover part of the far eye and its angled form can make it difficult to tell where the top should start and the tip should end. It’s not that the nose itself is hard to draw; it’s just getting it to sit right at an angled perspective. 


Luckily for us, there’s an easy solution here. If you can think of the nose as a simplified, primitive form, drawing it from any angle becomes less of a struggle.


So let’s break it down to nothing more than a tapered block, stuck onto the front of the face. 

How to Draw Comics | How to Draw Head Portraits 1
How to Draw Comics | How to Draw Head Portraits 1

At the top of this block the ridge of the nose joins onto the ridge of the brow, tapering outward as it extends down to the Nose Line. The size of the nose will determine the sloped trajectory of the ridge. 


Once you’ve worked out how the basic nose shape is going to fit onto your characters face, simply define the contour lines by drawing in the ridge of the nose and angling it back around the base at the bottom.  The nostrils can be laid in with a few stokes.


It’s as simple as that. Getting the perspective right for the nose is really the hardest part. 


Now let’s move onto the mouth of our character. The mouth is made up of three different parts, the opening of the mouth, the top lip and the bottom lip.


If you think of the opening as being shaped like a trapezoid, the top lip makes up the roof and side walls, and the bottom lip takes care of the base.  

Begin with the opening of the mouth by defining it as a single contour line running horizontally between the mid-way point of each eye.


You’ll notice that this line isn’t drawn in completely straight across, but more like a bow, with a small dip in the center.


This is due to the anatomy of the top lip, appropriately labeled the Cupid’s Bow. Keep in mind though that depending on your character

How to Draw Comics | How to Draw Head Portraits 1
How to Draw Comics | How to Draw Head Portraits 1

that dip’s deepness can vary, some having a completely straight ridge to the roof of their top lip.


The rest of the mouth consists of the outer edge of the lips, which for men are merely suggested with a few swift strokes. The top lip has an adjacent dip to the roof of the opening below, and is partly outlined from corner to corner. The bottom lip will also be defined as a subtle stroke that casts a heavier shadow below it.  

How to Draw Comics | How to Draw Head Portraits 1


Next let’s give this guy some eye brows. Start out by laying in the overall shape of the eye brow first. It too can also be thought of as an elongated trapezoid. Once that’s done, add in some rendering to indicate the individual strands of the brows. Keep it rough here, and don’t be too precious.

How to Draw Comics | How to Draw Head Portraits 1

Lastly, take your eraser and erase into some of the strands that were created through the rendering. It doesn’t have to be any in particular, so keep it random.


When it comes to drawing eye brows for men, make them a little thicker, and a little lower than you would for a female character. 

How to Draw Comics | How to Draw Head Portraits 1

With that our dashingly handsome ¾ male head is now prepared for a final sprinkling of detail and refinement. But before we lather on the icing, let’s do a quick recap.


This head began as nothing more than a simple sphere, and from it a blueprint was constructed that took care of all the proportions and placement of the heads key features. It’s already been established that this step is indeed the most important one. If those proportions aren’t drafted up properly, the rest of the drawing is going to dearly suffer for it.


In the above section the facial features were placed onto the head using the foundational cheat sheet previously laid down. From there it was smooth sailing, all that really needed to be considered was the positioning of the features in relation to one another.  


Now the rest is just icing on the cake. Yes, I’m talking about the fancy sparkles, the crème brule’ – The Details!


There’s nothing more rewarding then when you’re detailing out your drawing because this is where you really begin to see it all come together. As you progress through the tedious rendering and lighting, your drawing will more and more closely resemble that of a finally polished piece of pro comic book artistry.


At this point you can relax more too. With the foundations taken care of, you’re really just drawing over and refining what’s already there, so you don’t need to think as much. As long as you’re keeping the shadows and detail balanced you can wind your brain down with some music, an inspiring movie, even chat to a friend or co-worker as you put the final polish into your art work.


I will say this though – detailing takes time. Yes it’s easier, yeah it’s fun, but adding in all the line weights, shadows and rendering is a rather tedious task that at times can take a lot of patience, and a majority of the man hours spent on the drawing over all.

Do you see now why it’s so important to make sure that initial draft is sound and solid?


Believe it or not that oh-so important, initial foundational phase is actually quite fast, and the thing is if you do make a mistake along the way, it’s no big deal. It can be easily fixed up and mended in a jiffy.


The details are all piled on top of that and they’re what take the time. So if the foundational drawing is all out of whack and you’re unlucky enough not to notice until the end… It’ll be kinda too late to save your beloved creation.


To fix a foundational mistake after the final detailing and refinement stage would mean going back and erasing hours of work. Because most of the time, a foundational mistake is a BIG mistake, likely to do with the proportions, pose or general composition of your drawing.


So what I’m really getting at here is make sure that foundation is as sound and solid as can be. Otherwise you might end up finding yourself in a world of hurt and tears.


The thing is working so closely with your drawing for an extended period of time can make it hard to spot out mistakes in the beginning. So a really great way to ensure everything is laid out correctly and to check for those hidden, less obvious hiccups is to flip your image using a mirror.


This gives you a fresh view of the art work, bringing forth errors that might not have previously stood out to you. Or alternatively, you can ask a friend or family member to give you some critique. Another pair of eyes will do the same thing, seeing your image from a perspective other than your own. 


When you're good to go, hit the NEXT button to enter into the detailing and refinement phase. 

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