In the latest part of our anatomy drawing series, Chris Legaspi passes on his advice for drawing heads accurately, either from life or observation
Because head drawing is so complex, I try to simplify as much as possible, starting with simple shapes and then slowly adding details such as the features.
I like to begin by first making good observations and looking for key landmarks, such as anatomy, and the gesture of the head. I establish the outer shape, looking at the extreme edges of the face and hair. Then I draw an outline that captures the general shape.
Next, I begin to place the features by locating the crosshairs – the vertical and horizontal centre of the head. This defines how much of the face you see and the direction of the model’s gaze. I indicate the features by defining the rule of thirds, which places the hairline, brow ridge and the bottom of the nose.
To construct the head, I like to use boxy forms and planes. Planes work well in head drawing because they define corners and direction changes. I like corners because they make my heads feel solid and three dimensional. Once the planes and structures are established, I complete the drawing stage with the features, and other small details, like the eye openings, nostrils, ears and hair.
To finish the drawing, I add light and shadow. First, I use mid-value tone to block in the shadow, making sure to group dark objects (such as hair) as well.