Comic Book:
Drawing Head and Profile

Here at Online Comic Heroes, part of my goal is to help you by providing good quality drawing lessons and article.  I have been creating comic books and comic art for over seventeen years.  This lesson is meant to talk you through creating the head, face and profile of your super hero.  There are no hard and fast rules when you are sketching, what works for one person may not for another.  If you find this article helpful, I would like to encourage you to let me know.

Capturing a heroic pose is essential when you are drawing your lead characters. Some people find different elements of the figure come quite natural and other struggle.  What I hope to impart with this and other lessons is an added confidence in your abilities.  When you are just starting out, work with different methods until you find your natural rhythm.  I still like to have reference images available for action scenes and poses, I have been doing this for over seventeen years.  To start, the head can be likened to an egg.  The cranium is the wider part and the chin the narrow end.  Remember that you are working to capture a three dimensional form. That is your starting point. 

Create a curving center line down the middle, this will help you place the nose and other features as you continue.  The eye line is approximately half way down, draw a horizontal line with the ends curving upward.  

Drawing Head and Profile: Tips

I always would recommend a light pencil line for these guidelines.  Remember you will want to erase these once you have the basics in place.  The basic proportions equal five eye widths across. The two nostrils at the bottom of the nose is equal to the distance between the eyes.  The top of your characters ears should match up to the eye brows.  The ear lobe comes down to the bottom of the nose.  The mouth to the eyes pupils. As you bring more finishing details in, again I would encourage having reference images of emotions and a range of facial expressions (Fear, Anger, Determination, Happiness). 

One really cool technique if you have a small work space and do not want a library of references is to have a small cosmetic mirror near your desk.  Make the faces you want to portray.  For the comic art effect to come through I have read that you need to show extremely exaggerated emotion, the most extreme.  To this I can understand the thinking, you are trying to capture on flat panels a still image and something your readers will immediately understand when they see it.  See the lesson of the extremes of art.  For now let us return to your character, the hero should have that strong square jaw, clear good eyes and a winning smile.  All of these elements should still come through even if your character wares a mask.

Let us move on to profile and angled sketching.  Capturing the details of the face in profile is not easy if you are just starting out.  Just keep practicing whenever you have the time.  I read in an interview that "Joe Kubert" would draw on anything he had available, even cardboard box paper See more in "An artists Legend".

Magazines are great reference sources, celebrity photos are everywhere, or even easier now your smart phone or android, a digital reference a few seconds to retrieve whatever you need.  The eye should be about even with the bridge of the nose.  Remember the ear measurements, now you need to avoid the mistake of placing the ear in the middle of the head.  It should be roughly three quarters of the way back.  A mistake many people make is drawing the neck to narrow.  Especially when your hero is muscular you need to remember the neck will be thick and supports the heroes head well.  You do not want to get stale with your action poses, head on or just the side shot.  Show you have skill by drawing your character in many angles of action.  Practice practice, and practice some more.  I will be the first to admit it is challenging but doing angled images well will definitely distance you from the competition.

More challenging from your heroes head is the leading lady.  The female head and face is much softer and delicate then the mans, and much more difficult to get right in my opinion.  The eyes, eye brow, and mouth really show what your female character is doing and thinking.  See the lesson on eyes for more helpful tips.      

I can help you create your own comic book.

I work with creators and writers to bring their ideas to the page.