The head in proportion

As part of my application I may be needing illustrations of scenery and characters to deliver information visually to the user, so it is important that the illustrations are of a high quality, otherwise my application will not be attractive or effective visually.  There are two ways to approach this problem; one is to commission the services of a highly skilled artist or illustrator to provide me with the imagery I need and the other is for me to attempt to Improve on my existing skills and try to teach myself how to create the imagery.

I have decided to start by concentrating on learning how to draw the head and face, I am looking for techniques and rules that will help me to understand the basic shapes, sizes, positions and principles involved in making visual recreations of heads and faces.  I will be doing this not with a pencil but my images will be created using Adobe Illustrator, this is the tool that will be used to create the majority of the imagery within my application.

To start the process of acquiring the knowledge needed to draw heads and faces I have been following online tutorials and reading the book “A Complete Introduction to Drawing by Barrington Barber”.  The approach that I have decided to take is backed up by Barber (2007) as he explains why concentrating on the head independently is a valid process:

“Treating the head separately is rationale because this is the part of the body that everyone relates to most strongly.”

I am taking this one step further though; I will be looking at the individual elements of the face and any particular guidelines relating to those elements, in the hope that when I have learnt and practiced the individual pieces I can then form them together to create an accurate whole.

I began by looking at the proportionality of head, as suggested by Barrington Barber I made note of the basic proportions by looking at the diagrams he uses (Barber, B. (2007) Complete Introduction to Drawing P.152) and I also found a useful guide on a blog that can be located here:

I then created my own diagrams to illustrate the proportions of the head to help me to remember and practice, see below:



I then realised that I may need to draw characters from different angle and the book was not a great deal of help, so I searched the web and came across this great blog:

The blog starts off with the head’s basic structure so I did the same, I then practiced and created my own heads from different angles, see below:




As I mentioned earlier I am concentrating on the individual features; the first feature I chose was the mouth, I combined information from (Barber, B. (2007) Complete Introduction to Drawing P.223) with some other information that I discovered below:

See my mouth imagery below:


Moving on to the eyes I followed (Barber, B. (2007) Complete Introduction to Drawing P.222)

I also looked at the Youtube tutorials by Karl Gude, former Graphics Director at Newsweek magazine, see below:

See my drawing eyes imagery below:




Moving swiftly forwards to the next facial feature I chose to work on and as you can probably tell there is no informed reasoning in the order of facial feature development that I chose, other than the one I felt like working on at that particular moment in time, otherwise known as going with the flow.  The flow led me to the ears; see the result of my endeavours below:


The nose was my next mission, I think subconsciously I must have know that this was not going to be an easy task, which is why I left it until the latter stages of my process.  Although I followed the work of Barber (Barber, B. (2007) Complete Introduction to Drawing P.224) and also followed a nose tutorial on deviant art it is the one element of the face that I am not happy with, see my nose imagery below:


The final piece of the puzzle was hair; whether it is on the top or sides of a head, above the eyes or below a nose, I needed to work out methods of creating hair that work with my other images.  I soon realised the book was going to be of little use in this task, so I found a few tutorials offering different methods for creating vector hair, see below:

Here is the work I did following these tutorials:



Having looked at and considered the individual features of the face and head in detail, I knew I was going to have to combine them into one image in the hope that the pieces would fit together to form a whole that complemented each other.  I have only produced one face from one angle and I am reasonably happy with the results of my work, see below:


I believe with further practice and experimentation I can produce the imagery that will feature in my application and this process has been interesting, informative and rewarding.

Whilst discussing the stages of preparation for drawing portraits, Barrington Barber (2007) says:

“One practice that you will have to make regular is to look at all the features of the face in some detail.  Before you start drawing you need to check how the features of the face work together”

Understanding the individual features has been incredibly useful to me; this is hopefully going to be a useful tool to add to my skill-set, although further practice is still required.

Barber, B. (2007) Complete Introduction to Drawing. Great Britain: Arcturus Publishing


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