Drawing Heads from Different Angles


Drawing faces from different angles can be difficult to get the hang of. In this tutorial I go through a commonly used method that I employ in my art when drawing faces and share any other tips I have.

Mapping the Face (1)

The most important part of drawing the face is mapping it correctly in the beginning. Here, we mark out the brow line, nose position, hairline and in which direction the face turns.

We begin by drawing a circle and then sketching a smaller circle within the initial one. Also add a cross. The vertical line of the cross will represent the face's line of symmetry, and the horizontal will represent the brow line. Ultimately, this cross represents the direction the face is looking toward.

Next, draw a horizontal and vertical line down and across the face through the cross we drew earlier, ensuring they following the shape of the circle. This horizontal line is called the brow line, and the vertical is the line of symmetry. Following, draw a cross in the middle of the smaller circle that is parallel, level and connected to the the brow line and line of symmetry.

As seen in column 4, mark out the positions of the hair line and nose line. You can get a more accurate understanding of where these will be by placing them approximately where the smaller circle ends and begins. As a tip, the lip is located in the middle of the chin.

Finally, (column 4) we can draw the chin by marking out its position below the bigger circle as shown below:

It is also a good idea to begin drawing in some planes. Planes are when surfaces change directions and they can be useful for adding dimension to your paintings. Here I've draw the forehead, eye area and nose planes... I will talk about this more in depth later.

As a helpful tip, you can draw the chin as equal to the size of the nose and forehead areas. So ultimately, the face is split into three equal parts... of course this rule is not constant and many people's faces will vary with shape, size and angle

Mapping the Face (2)

Drawing the side and front views requires a slight alteration:

For the front view, we use the same approach, but this time, instead of drawing a smaller circle in the larger one, shave off the side of the face with straight lines and follow the steps below accordingly:

Drawing the Eyes in Different Angles

To draw the eyes you can use several shapes to produce a easy, formulaic approach.

First I draw the "eye-bed." This will be where the eyes sit and it generally looks either like a parallelogram or trapezoid depending on what angle you are drawing from. Following, draw two circles (to represent the eyeballs) that are about one circle apart. Next I draw the nose bridge between the two circles (use the picture below for reference) and a line. This line will be where the tear duct is located. It is pretty useful for positioning the eyelids...

Finally we can add the eye lids. For this, draw three lines for the upper lid, with the one labelled "1" as the highest, beginning at that straight line we drew through the middle of the eye-bed in the beginning, and as "2" as the longest. You can add a triangle at the end of this to represent the tear duct.

Next, add the lower lids by drawing two more lines as shown above. The first should finish around the connection point between the upper-lid's "1st" and "2nd" lines. After this, draw in the eyebrows with the arch located around where the upper-lid's "1st" and "2nd" lines are located. Concludingly, draw in the pupil, making sure that it takes up only around one third of the total eyeball.

For your reference, I've drawn a few more eyes at different angles, looking in different directions. However, if you would like some more, I'd suggest searching "Reilly Head Method Eyes Angles."

Drawing the Nose in Different Angles

Drawing the nose involves four steps. First, draw the nose bridge, a upside down trapezoid is suitable. Then draw an elongated trapezoid that rounds out at the base as shown below.

Next, draw two lines connecting from the top of the dorsal (long part of the nose) to the base of it to represent the side of the nose. After, draw two lines that follows the roundness of the nose to produce the "wings of the nose." Now draw the base of the nose as shown below.

Following this, we can add some shape by rounding the wings of the nose (drawn in purple), and add to upside comma like shapes...

As a note, the size of the nose is generally proportionate to the size of the eyes. Furthermore, the eyes start at the edge of the nose...

Drawing the Lips in Different Angles

Again, we can use planes to make drawing lips a much easier process.

Start by drawing a love art. The "taller" it is, the sharper the cupid's bow will be and the taller the upper lip will be. Following, draw these sideways rounded "triangles", they should be connected to each side of the love heart.

Next, draw a circle directly below the love heart, its height will determine the height of the lower lip. After this, attach the upper lip with the lower lip using the shapes as shown below:

Finally, lower the opacity of the sketch and create a new layer. Trace the cupid's bow, the lines connecting the upper and lower lips, and the base line of the bottom lip. As a rule, the base line and the connecting lines will have the heaviest lines.

Here are some more lips drawn in different angles:

Tip: Use References

When you're first learning the Loomis Head Method, it is especially important that you use references. By drawing the mapping system on the model's head first, you get a better idea of their proportions and can reference it when you want to identify any mistakes in your artwork:

You can also use the Clip Studio Paint model to assistance you as well. This tool can be accessed by going to Windows > Material > Material [Body Type]. This should bring up a screen with two 3D models. To input them onto your canvas, just drag and drop them:

Here's a quick sketch I did using this tool:

Tip: Stylisation

Stylisation is when subjects are reimagined according to an artist's taste. Like when we were mapping to draw more 'realistic' faces, there are a set of general rules that we can follow to produce more stylised faces.

This is a piece of work I did previously (pls excuse the colour scheme). Do you notice anything about its proportions? Here I've made the forehead (with inclusion of the cranium) much bigger than the nose and chin areas.

In anime, characters tend to have a smaller chin and nose to brow area, in comparison to the forehead. This is what gives them their 'cutesy' look. Nonetheless, we can still use a basic mapping system to produce good results. I've kept the basics, that is, a circle joined with a chin shape, and then I've "shaved" off the sides of the head with straight lines as done in the Loomis Head Method. Evidently, you can see that even the most "simplified" styles calls upon ideas developed to make drawing life-like heads easier! However, there are still some key differences...

...The lips no longer end in the middle of the eyes. And in anime the nose to brow area is usually occupied by much larger eyes than what realism calls for. However, it is maintained that the space between them is approximately the size of one eye. Finally the "hook" of the chin is placed much lower.

...The lips no longer end in the middle of the eyes. And in anime the nose to brow area is usually occupied by much larger eyes than what realism calls for. However, it is maintained that the space between them is approximately the size of one eye. Finally the "hook" of the chin is placed much lower.

By keeping these ideas in mind, stylisation, like drawing realistic faces, becomes more formulaic and therefore easier to draw!

Tip: Using the Triangle

Another helpful tool I use is (what I call at least) "the face-triangle" (if anyone's got a better name for this let me know...). This is where you use the fact that there is a triangle that begins just below the nose and connects at the end of the two brows.

This is useful as it can assist artists in knowing where features belong in relative to others (of course there are exceptions to this rule - everyone's face is different).


I know it was a bit long, and its my first attempt at making a tutorial, but I hope you still found something helpful. If you've made it this far, I just wanted to thank you for giving this a read.



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