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Drawing The Head

Extract from Sketching 365 • By Katherine Tyrell • Published by Apple Press


$ $ $ $ $
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35 mins

Sketching 365
Faces are one of the most enduring subjects for drawing. The selfie has also become one of the popular images in recent times.

Images credits:

The approximate proportions of the head.
A Child by Julie Douglas (Charcoal pencil); Note the differences in size of a child’s features. If a child does not look right in a drawing, check that the proportions are correct.

Benj by John Smolko (Coloured pencil); The more mature man has a fuller face, although the features stay in the same place.

Three Perspectives of Ben by Katherine Tyrrell (Pen and ink); Drawn from life; I moved my chair three times to create this drawing in the two hours available.

Personal Profile by Alan Coulson (Graphite)

Posted by Apple Press Published See Apple Press's 26 projects » © 2022 Katherine Tyrell / Apple Press · Reproduced with permission. · Sketching 365 - Build your confidence and skills with a tip a day by Katherine Tyrell. Published by Apple Press, £12.99.

You Will Need

  • How to create a portrait. Drawing The Head - Step 1
    Step 1

    Features of an adult head:

    While no two heads are ever exactly the same, there are basic proportion rules and similarities that can help you to draw one. Look at a head in profile:

    Observe just how small the area is that contains the features that most people focus on, and note that there’s a lot going on outside the triangle of eyes and mouth.

    Capture facts (e.g., the angles of the skull and neck) and impressions (e.g., the sense of the hair – you don’t need to draw every hair.)

    A man’s face divides into thirds: Above the brow, from the brow to base of the nose, and from the base of the nose down to the chin.

    The eyes almost always line up with the top of the ears.

    The eyes are halfway between the top of the head and chin.

    The front edge of each ear is about halfway between the front and back of the head.

  • How to create a portrait. Drawing The Head - Step 2
    Step 2

    A child’s head:

    The proportions of a child’s head are different from an adult’s. For example, a child’s forehead and eyes are larger, and their nose is typically smaller. When drawing a child, avoid heavy lines. Draw in a light and sensitive way, and avoid overworking details.

  • Step 3

    Draw every aspect:

    Keep moving round your subject, and look at him or her from different angles. Work on the same paper and leave space for alternative views. This technique works well in a life class, provided you’ve got room enough to move around without getting in the way of other people.

  • Step 4

    Draw a series of self-portraits

    Where better to start when learning how to draw than with your own self-portrait. The big advantage of the self-portrait is that the model always turns up. All you will then need are some mirrors and some interesting lighting…

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