How can I get my character’s head proportions right?
Jennifer Fox, Sweden
I struggle with this myself, and I find that understanding the head as a three-dimensional form makes drawing it in any pose much easier. Andrew Loomis taught that one must place the features correctly on the head, or no amount of rendering will compensate. His popular method treats the head as a sphere with slices shaved from the sides, and a rounded rectangular form attached at the lower front.
If we draw axes on the sphere, then the “equator” line becomes the brow line, which then forms a cross with the vertical centre axis. This cross is the key element for placing all the features correctly.
Halfway from the centre of the cross to the sphere’s top is the hairline, and that same distance straight down gives the nose bottom. Twice that distance down gives the jawline. The eyes are just under the brow, and following the brow line a quarter way around the sphere gives the ear positions.
You can pivot this three-dimensional form according to your pose, and the construction lines will always help you place the features correctly.
Finding the “cross” unlocks the correct positions of the features, and helps you more easily place the face correctly on the head for any pose. Our faces are not flat, but by thinking of the head as a block form, it’s easier to find the construction lines for the features.