| updated on 18.03.2020

How to draw a head

Duration: About 30 minutes

It is not at all difficult to draw a head freely from the top of your head. You only need to know a basic framework of shapes and supporting lines on which to base your drawing. This tutorial shows step by step how to draw a head.

Draw a circle and two lines

We start with a circle and draw a cross in its center. The vertical line of the cross should be slightly longer.

Draw circle and two lines

Draw supporting lines for the head

We draw eight vertical lines, all of which are equally spaced. The long lines are relevant for later steps, the short lines are supporting lines.

Supporting lines

We draw two more horizontal lines. One lies exactly on the lowest point of the circle. The second is between this line and the one that intersects the center.

Draw supporting lines

With exactly the same distance we add a horizontal line. The lowest line marks the end of the face.

Draw supporting lines

We draw another line between two existing lines. This is where the nose will later join.

Draw supporting lines

Now we draw two diagonal lines as shown in the picture. In order not to connect the wrong points, we should look exactly where the right points are.

Draw supporting lines

To end our lines of help for the head, we need three more circles of equal size. These are located just below the horizontal line that intersects the circle in the middle.

The circles mark the places for the eyes, so they must be the same size. If you would draw one bigger than the other or draw the circles across the diagonal lines, the whole head will look unnatural and distorted.

Draw supporting lines

Draw the eyes

To draw the eyes on the circles, it is best to start with the corners of the eyes. These should touch the edge of the circle, but should not exceed it.

Draw Head - Eyes

Draw the nose

We draw the nose so that it does not exceed the horizontal line above that which intersects the lower edge of the circle.

Different faces have different noses. If you want to draw a wide or narrow nose, you should use the inner corners of the eyes for orientation.

In a wide nose, the nostrils would be further apart than the inner corners of the eyes. In a narrow nose, the nostrils would be closer together than the inner corners of the eyes.

Draw Head - Nose

Draw eyebrows

Eyebrows influence the appearance of a face enormously. Because of the variety of eyebrows, there is no one way to draw eyebrows. Therefore, I would like to give only a few general tips at this point.

For the height of the eyebrows you can orientate yourself by the horizontal line that cuts the circle in the middle.

Whether the eyebrows are above, below or exactly on it is up to you. But you should not set them too high, because eyebrows are rarely found on the forehead.

Draw head - Eyebrows

Draw the mouth

The lower tip of the triangle, which we have drawn through our two diagonal lines, comes in handy when drawing the lips: Above the tip is the upper lip, below the lower lip.

Those who ask themselves at which point it is best to draw the two small arcs of the upper lip can orient themselves by the two diagonal lines.

For the position of the corners of the mouth, you can use the two inner vertical lines that we drew at the beginning of step 2: For wide lips, the corners of the mouth should exceed them, for narrow lips, they should be slightly closer to them.

Draw head – mouth

Draw cheeks

For the cheeks we are guided by two elements of our supporting lines: The bottom of the circle and the two vertical lines that are near the edge of the circle.

The cheeks start on the vertical line next to the eyes and can be led to the edge of the circle in a round arc for round cheeks or in a slightly steeper arc for prominent cheeks by gentle shadows.

The shadows of the cheeks should run in those around the mouth. Further gentle shadows should also extend up to the nose and lower eyelid.

Draw head – cheeks

Draw lower jaw and chin

The lowest horizontal line marks the border where the chin could be. If you want to draw a small chin, you can set it a little higher. In the example, the chin borders exactly on the bottom line.

The lower jaw should be set so that it does not join the widest parts of the cheeks, but a little further in.

The outer sides of the jaw can be shaded a little more, as they are at the lowest point of the head.

The chin, on the other hand, can be given soft shadows and a spot of light because it is slightly protruding.

Draw head – lower jaw and chin

Draw the forehead

To draw the forehead, it is best to start next to the eyebrows at the temples. From there, work your way inwards and upwards with a shadow, with the shadow becoming softer as it approaches the centre.

It is usually easier to draw the hair first and then to work on the forehead. In this tutorial we will not draw hair. However, to avoid drawing the forehead to an infinite size, we'll end it where the hairline would be.

Draw head – forehead

Draw ears

The position of the ears can be identified by two points of reference: They should begin at the level of the tip of the nose and end at the level of the eyebrows. We should actually be able to see two of the supporting lines, in which we draw the ears in between.

Here, too, everyone has the freedom to choose: Whether the ears stick out or are close to the head is entirely up to you.

Draw head – ears

Finish drawing the head

Similar to the cheeks, we start with the rest of the head behind the ears and lead the pencil in a gentle arc to the upper edge of the circle.

At the side, especially in the area of the ears, the head may be shaded a little darker. Towards the top, however, the shadows should become slightly lighter again.

How to draw a head

Last tips

The supporting lines serve to develop an understanding of the proportions of a head. After a little practice it will be much easier for us to draw heads from models, as we will develop a sense of proportion.

The supporting lines should also not be understood as an absolutely strict system of rules. Small deviations lead to different results and should be welcomed. We humans all have different looking heads after all.

By the way: If we manage to draw the face symmetrically, we will find it beautiful. That people equate symmetry with beauty has already been tested and proven in various studies. So if you can draw symmetrical faces, you can also draw beautiful faces.

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