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Drawing in the Face

Step 12. Eye Placement

Now it’s time to draw a face onto our nicely proportioned head. We’ve already laid in the guidelines for the facial features so placing them in will be a breeze!


Before we begin, let me ask you a question… What is the first thing you ‘see’ when looking at another person’s face? …


Their EYE'S of course! When we look into someone else’s eyes we open up an immediate, sometimes intimate connection with them. Eyes are the window into the soul, literally bringing a character to life. Which is why if a character’s eyes are covered with a mask, or sunglasses, they suddenly become anonymous, mysterious or even unsettling.


What this means is that when someone looks at your head drawing, chances are the first thing they’ll notice is the eyes of your character. If they recognize your face drawing as a face, subconsciously they’ll look to the eyes instantly in an attempt to make a connection or relate with it on some level.


This makes the eyes one of the most noteworthy features of the human head, and it’s important to give them their due attention.


Begin by drawing in the eyes onto the eye line, found mid-way down the head. To figure out how large your eyes should be drawn, keep in mind that the width of the head is roughly five eyes wide. 

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

The distance between each eye is one eye space apart, as is the distance from the sides of the head. Messing up these distances can produce some strange results and might end up with your lovely lady character looking more like an extra-terrestrial. So look out!

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

Although they are drawn in a similar way, male and female eyes do have their own unique differences.

Because femininity and youthfulness are associated with larger, more rounded eyes, draw them a little larger then you normally would for a man. If you’d rather a mysterious, sultry look that lends toward more sex appeal, try closing the eye lids slightly. 

After you’re done with the eyes, draw in a nice set of feminine eye brows just above them.

Men’s eye brows are usually lower, thicker and heavier. But you’ll find when it comes to drawing eye brows for the ladies you’ll want to go for something more elegant.

So keep them a little more raised, thin, slick, and stream lined for an extra feminine potency.

How to Draw Comics | How to Draw Head Portraits 1

Step 13. Nose Placement

That’s the eyes sorted, now let’s work our way down.


The first of the two lines dividing up the bottom half of the face is the nose line. To make the nose easier to understand, and thus draw, let’s break it down into its simplest geometrical form.


The nose is basically a tapered, four sided block glued to the face. Although it’s hard to tell from the front, the top of that wedge is joined to the protruding brow. As it extends down, it extends outward until it reaches the ‘nose line’.


Besides the two nostrils on either side, that’s all there is to it.


As for the proportions, a classical nose is about one eye width wide.


Now when it comes to mannish and lady-like noses we’ll go with the same trend we’ve been following throughout the tutorial. For the men you’ll want to draw a nose which is larger, more defined, and rigid. As for the ladies, we’ll scale it back to be smaller, softer, and less defined.


In fact, it’s completely fine to leave most of the nose undefined for a woman, especially around the vertical ridge. By 'undefined' I simply mean that rather then drawing every contour line in to define the nose, those details can instead be 'suggested' with a few simple strokes. The mind of the viewer will fill in the blanks.

How to Draw Comics | How to Draw Head Portraits 1

Step 14. Mouth Placement

Okay, onto the mouth. Here, we’re going to use a simple, three part process. This same process can also be used for gentlemen as well.
Start by drawing the opening of the lips, defining the top, and then drawing in the bottom. The edges of the mouth should extend to the mid-way point of each eye.

For anime and manga styled art, sometimes you can take the mouth as far as this and it’ll be perfectly fine.

Now that the opening of the mouth is taken care of, the next step is to define the lips. Starting and ending at either corner, the top lip arches over the mouth, sharply indenting at the centre. It’s larger, and actually hangs further forward then the bottom lip when viewed from the side.

Lastly, draw in the bottom lip. It can be defined with a simple stroke.

When it comes to drawing lips for women, the fuller the better! There is a reason why collagen lip implants are so popular amoung the ladies and it’s because full, luscious lips are super SEXY

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

Step 15. Draw in the Hair Line

Define the hair line, using the guide you placed in earlier.

Because women don’t typically suffer from hair loss or receding hair lines, you don’t need to worry about the variances you might see on male characters. 

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

That is unless your female character has a rebel streak in her and decided to go to town with a set of clippers and wax in an attempt at the next crazy hair-do statement...  

Step 16. Draw in the Hair Bangs

The EASIEST way to draw hair is to simplify it from the start by ‘clumping it in’ instead of drawing the individual strands.


These clumps are called ‘bangs’ and if you’re a fan of anime you’re probably already familiar with them.


Just like bangs are used in anime to make the animation of hair easier, we’re going to use them here to help us mould and style the hair of your character.


Roughly sketch in the hair bangs, layering them on top of one another. As you draw, think about the direction and flow you want for the character's hair style. 


The extra details and rendering will come in later on to achieve a finally polished end result...  

How to Draw Comics | How to Draw Head Portraits 1

So that is that for the basic set up of the human, female head. I know, I know…She doesn’t look like the prettiest picture in the world… YET!


What you’ve accomplished up until this point is actually the most difficult part of the entire drawing.


Everything that you add to your image from now on will be built on top of the structure you’ve defined. If that structure doesn’t hold up, the entire picture will collapse in on itself.


Before you travel on any further down this road take a minute to look over what you’ve already drawn with a critical eye. Because you’ve been working with this picture so closely, you’ve become very familiar with it, making it hard to spot mistakes.


To get a fresh look at my drawing, I like to hold it up in front of a mirror. This reverses the art work; flipping it horizontally and allowing the mind to observe it from a different perspective. Any mistakes in the image will now become obvious and easy to spot.


What you’re really looking for here are issues with the perspective, proportions, gesture, and composition. Smaller things such as the individual facial features don’t matter as much because they can be easily corrected later on.


If something is looking off about your drawing, but you’re not quite sure what, another thing you can try is to get a friend or family member to take a look over it for you.


Again, because you’ve been working so closely to your art work, it’s hard to tell where the errors in

your drawing are. That’s why a fresh look through the eyes of somebody else can be incredibly valuable in telling you what needs to be fixed.


Now the reason it’s important to ensure that everything that can be fixed is fixed before moving on is because trying to correct errors later may become increasingly difficult.


You see, the base structure is fast to construct. It’s the part of a drawing that takes the largest amount mental brain power but it is the least time consuming. Details on the other hand, such as line weights, rendering and shadows aren’t. They may be easier to pull off, but they take the longest amount of man hours.


If you accidently make a mistake with the details it’s not the end of the world. You just erase whatever went wrong and move on. The problem with leaving mistakes in the underlying structure is that most of the time that mistake will be a much larger issue. Like for instance the entire head being out of proportion. When something like that is missed, you may as well completely start over.




Take advantage of the fact that nothing is yet set in stone. What you’ve got right now is a draft that can be tweaked as needed. And if it does need to be tweaked, make sure you TWEAK IT NOW


Because no amount of icing is going to make a bad cake taste good once it’s baked.


If you’re happy with what you’ve got then let’s move right on to final stage of refinement and nail down this sucker!

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