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Character head shapes


When trying to draw a character, often times we find that we can get hung up at the very beginning. We know our character in our minds, but how can we show this character to someone else?

Well, if we have some ideas about the basics of our character’s head, this character can start to come to life quickly.


These are the basic head shapes you can work with. It is important to think of these shapes as 3-dimensional, rather than flat. So, rather than thinking of drawing a circle, picture the head as a sphere.  As for the other lines, you want to add:
– a vertical center line that follows the sphere’s shape.  This will tell you where the nose and center of the mouth sit;
– a horizontal line, again following the sphere’s shape, in the middle of the sphere. This is the eye line.

Some things to notice about the differences between these head shapes are…

Child:  a normal sphere. No real push or pull in any direction. Young characters tend to have round faces and chubby cheeks.

Teen/tween:  as little sprouts grow up, their faces begin to lengthen vertically. They are still young, so their chubby cheeks are still there, but they start to stretch. An egg shape with the slightly larger side on the bottom works well for this.

Grown female:  grown-ups differ greatly between the male and female genders when it comes to head shapes! Females maintain many soft features, and can be easily represented as a slightly larger egg than the teen, but with the larger side of the oval on the top.

Grown male:  males grow more angular as they age, and their features become harder rather than softer. To exaggerate that difference between male and female characters, we can draw a rectangular box for the head shape of a gent! I like to put a bit of a “bend” in the rectangular box shape to loosen it up, but it’s not always necessary.  Even though this head is not a sphere like the other head shapes, the guidelines are placed similarly.  A man’s chin, especially one who looks really masculine and heroic, will be much larger. Leave some room for the chin, and put the mouth right on it.  You can add cheekbones by carving a line in slightly below the eyes.


With our head shapes all clarified, we can now add some features. The guidelines will tell us where the eyes, nose, mouth and ears sit, so we just need to put them in!


—By Scoble


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