Research -Head Construction & Photo References

Before half term, Tony tasked us with doing some research into heads, their construction and gathering reference photos and pictures. This was all a follow on from the ecorche drawing exercise to further understand how to break down the human head for the purposes of drawing.

Even as someone with a little bit of experience, its no easy task. I’ve seen character drawing books dedicate nearly a third of their content purely into head anatomy and construction tips, for any character a head will always be the main focal point.

Collected here I have tried to gather a mix of photographs (mostly celebrities), some other artists drawings and alternate construction sketches. Essentially anything that may lend a hand during the rest of this exercise.

Photo References

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I tried to take a mix of angles, some old, some new, some colour and some black and white. I love the Hugh Jackman angry face. When you get celebrity publicity shots they’re usually quite staged and dull, however that one gives some great reference for where the face creases, muscles moving etc. I should look for more of those in the future.

Construction Techniques

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I found a few examples of construction techniques from multiple angles which I thought may come in useful. Its always the more dramatic angles that tend to stump you. I also have a few books which may come in useful.

  • Figure It Out! Human Proportions – by Christopher Hart
  • Atlas of Human Anatomy for the Artist – by Stephen Rogers Peck

Others Work

I find looking at others work can sometimes be a little daunting for this kind of thing, it takes years of practice to see great results and you can occasionally forgot this surfing through pages upon pages of professional quality artwork examples. However its still an important part of the process and useful for inspiration.

I could come back with thousands of images of others work, but thankfully Tony had given us some direction of people he recommended we look at. First is the rather talented Ian McQue, Assistant Art Director for Rockstar North. Absolutely stunning stuff, now that I know of him I’ll continue to check out his work. He also does a lot of vehicle designs which I wish I’d known about during the last project.

I couldn’t find many of examples of his rough sketches, most of his work either seems to be inked. I would have said digitally but there are too many examples from his twitter of the dark line work directly from the pages of his sketchbooks. I love the detail he manages to achieve which isn’t lost at all during his inking process and the variation in his characters is vast.

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Finally here is a bunch of miscellaneous stuff I found on google and generally just liked the look of. I say that, most of it is actually Bruce Timm’s work. He worked on Batman Animated in the early 90s and also comic books. I love his style for being so simple with relatively few lines, it just demonstrates once you know the basics you don’t need a lot of detail to begin fleshing out a character. Sometimes his proportions can suffer some slight exaggeration but since it’s all for comic book it’s perfectly acceptable and normal. He also created Harley Quinn, so kudos there too!

While I can’t find any confirmation of this I’m sure they must have hand picked Bruce’s style for the show as it would transfer to cell animation without any great loss of detail or charm. He’s traditionally a pencil and marker pen kind of guy, you can see this in some of the pictures below, frequently sketching up characters purely in marker for fans at conventions. One day I hope I can at least come close to emulating his clean, simple designs.

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