Another sequence complete! I had such a great time drawing these lovely ladies up. I think the destination always mirrors how much you enjoy the journey. If you really don’t like what you’re working on it’ll look forced. But if you loved every moment of it, your art is going to shine.
These gals are featured in the ‘How To Draw Women: Female Heads’ Course to help illustrate the importance of why it’s so darn critical to be able to draw the female head from all angles – not just the front, side, and ¾ views.
As a comic book artist you become the director! You choose the framing, composition and perspective of the shot within the panel. And being an effective visual storyteller, you understand that each angle can be leveraged to produce a certain feeling, context and sense of drama throughout the story.
For example, in the first panel of this sequential line up we’re looking up at the character from below. This produces a feeling of power and dominance as the character looms over us.
In panel two we have an almost opposite effect, as the camera looks down at the character from a higher vantage point. If not for her quietly confident expression, she might seem more submissive or in need of protection.
Point is everything makes a difference when setting the stage for your scene, and the way its shot can have major implications on its context.
But it’s near impossible to enrich our stories with the countless ways a character could be framed for dramatic effect if we don’t have the ability to draw dynamically. And although we’re focusing on the female head here, this really goes for the entire character. In fact we’ve got to take it up a few notches for maximum effect, giving our characters different expressions and poses to really bring them to life and make our comic books that much more immersive.
So there’s a lot of elements that come together to compose even a single panel. It can seem overwhelming, yet at the same time the sheer depth of what makes a good comic work gives the whole process of creating it more substance. There are so many tools you can learn and harness to create an incredibly riveting experience for your readers. It’s exciting!
That’s why I really wanted to take the time to do up a few examples showing how the skill to draw the female head from multiple angles might actually be applied. These can be so darn tricky to pull off correctly, even for me. Up until not too long ago, there were many occasions where I’d attempt to draw the head from an angled perspective – but it’d just end up looking weird. Even though I thought I had the structure right, there was something I was missing. And I know that when I first began posting these panels many of you wrote in expressing similar feelings.
One of the reasons these dynamic angles are so hard to master is because as we turn the camera to look at the head in a different perspective, its proportions become foreshortened. The shape and dimensions of the head, placement of the eyes, the nose, the mouth and the ears all become skewed. So it’s easy to see why many of us would feel that’s it’s almost impossible to learn how to draw the female head from these different perspectives and have it look right.
It’s hard. But luckily not impossible.
The good news is that although the proportions of the head might seemingly get thrown out the window once it's drawn in perspective, they’re still actually there. The size, distance and scale relationships between each of the facial features along with the structure of the head in its entirety still exist – it’s just that they’re now foreshortened in our point of view. But they’re foreshortened uniformly, meaning that everything still remains relative proportionally.
So the trick is learning how the proportions of the human head are scaled as it looks toward or away from us; whether we’re looking at it from below or above. As we practice drawing the female head in multiple view points, this is where our attention should be. We want to ensure that we develop the ability to plot out the placement of the facial features, according to how their proportional anchor points are foreshortened from view point to view point.
And if you know the basic rules of perspective, this makes things easier. As we know, the closer something is to us, the larger and more spread out it gets. The further away it is, the smaller and more condensed it becomes.
The railway analogy is a perfect way to describe this effect – if you stand directly in the middle of a straight railway line and look off into the distance, the rails will converge closer and closer together as they pull away – while the beds become ever more condensed until you can barely make a distinction between them. The same applies to the proportions of the head in perspective, they scale up and down uniformly depending on the angle it’s being drawn on.
To do this effectively we must become extremely familiar with the proportions of the head in the first place. That’s what the less dynamic views are good for. On the front, side and ¾ angles we get an almost diagrammatic look at the exact placement of the facial features and the shape of the head by default. The good news is that as well as having symmetry, the head is easily divisible and we’re able to find the placement of one feature often times in relation to another. Essentially the head can be used to measure itself out if we know what those measurements are.
If we can get good at drawing the head in these ‘standard’ views first, ultimately learning do so off by heart through repetition, then it becomes that much easier for us to comprehend how the dimensions of the head, its shape and features will change when we begin turning it in space.
Of course there’s a lot more to it than that – way more than the scope of this modest little blog post I’m afraid. But then that’s why I’m creating the ‘How To Draw Women: Female Heads’ Course. I’ll be packing it to the brim with every ounce of knowledge I possess on drawing the female head and I can’t wait to share it with you!
I’ve had a few people ask me where they can get the ‘How To Draw Women: Female Heads’ Course, and the sad news is you can’t get it anywhere just yet as it’s still in development. I’m working hard on it though, so don’t worry, you’ll have it soon. In the meantime if you’d like to be kept in the loop on the course’s progress, any major updates on the release and where you’ll be able to find it when it comes out – be sure to sign up to our e-mail list at www.howtodrawcomics.net.
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the drawings! I had a fantastic time working on these girls – and hopefully I’ll have more beauties to show you soon.