Drawing a Proportional Face – 3/4 View

Hi there!

Today we are going to learn how to draw a 3/4 view anime face!. In our last tutorial we studied some tips on how to draw a front view face, and even though that this looks harder, its actually more promising.
The hardest part is getting the outline of the face right, which is harder than in front view as the face is not simmetric. Also eyes sizes will not be the same since they will be in perspective. However the good news is that the nose will be easier to draw (as from this view point one can see it’s outline and with just that line our viewer can recognize we drawn a nose. In front view this is more complicated and the nose has to be drawn with lots of aids of shading…). Also the best part is that our drawings will look much more proffesional and better looking.

Drawing 3/4 view faces can be easy with some few practice, so give it a try as you’ll achieve much better looking results! :)

Before getting to the actual drawing steps, we would like to share some manga-drawing tips from our friends from AnimeWorld:

There is no one, right way to go about drawing Japanese-style characters, but here are some steps you might want to try for a start:

  1. The Shape One way to start is with a realistically proportioned head. Just a simple, egg shaped oval divided vertically with a line so everything ends up symmetrical. A line to mark the eyes should be half way up, no higher. The line for the nose half way between the eyes and the chin; then one for the mouth about half way between the nose and the chin.
  2. Exaggerate The trick to this style is exaggeration. Now that you have the start of a normal head, there are a couple major changes. First, exaggerate the shape of the head by sharpening the chin so the jaw tapers down abruptly from the eye level. Then the eyes: Unlike a normal face where the eye line marks the middle of the eyes, the eyes are stretched down to a little above the nose. An easy way to block in eyes is with lines for the upper and lower lashes, and a rectangle for the iris.
  3. Add Details Start cleaning everything up and adding the details. Simplicity is part of the trick: a small mark for a hint of a nose, keep the mouth small, with a little shadow to suggest the lower lip. Give the lashes some flare and a downward turn and the end. The pupil should be elongated and black, the iris somewhat shaded, and there should be a highlight (on the same side of both eyes). Add simple lines for the eyebrows, and you can block in the hair.
  4. Clean Up Clean up any stray lines, and add the neck (keep it thin). The bottoms of the ears should be about level with the nose. The hair should be very exaggerated–think big: If there is a part that curls up, it should curl way up. Don’t draw individual hairs, think of hair as volumes that can be defined.
  5. The steps are pretty much the same for a profile-view. Don’t worry too much about the ears, keep it simple and suggest the structure. The hard part is the profile edge of the face. It might take some practice to get it down, but just remember to keep it simple–it’s all subtlety. The forehead slopes down and curves in at the eyebrow. The nose should be delicate, sharp and slightly upturned. The face then slopes gently down to the chin, with a little nick for the mouth.
  6. You’ll soon start to develop your own style, depending on how much you want to exaggerate the features and how you want to do the details. This is just a quick way to get into it; eyes and hair in particular can be done a many different ways. Look at as many artists as you can and see how others do eyes and experiment with some of your own until you find what you like. For hair you can look at other artists, but also look at real hair and hair styles and see how they can be interpreted in the anime style. And practice as much as you can! The more you draw, the better you’ll get, so do as many drawings as you can and don’t get discouraged or give up if they don’t all turn out–just keep at it. And above all, have fun!

As explained in the previous tutorials, I suggest you always start your drawings using outlines and basic figures such as circles as elipses, and clean lines. In some tutorials we show some quick sketches were experienced artists draw before making and outline, and my advice is that in those cases you study well the details that the artists draws and shadows, but that in your drawings you first do an outline before commencing drawing, until you can imagine the outline in your head before drawing it.

The following example of the skilled artist Augustc portrays how the basic outline for a 3/4 view should be done. Take note that he first draws the outlines, then draws the details. Watch closely..

STEP #1

Draw a circle:

1_1.jpg

STEP #2

Now follow Augustc4′s advice: Using that circle as a skull base, draw the center line of your characters face, splitting the circle in half at the top and down the front… THEN draw the jaw line and outer edge of the face. Or do the jaw line first and the center line second… I forget and my head hurts.Realize that this step is probably the most difficult because it defines the general shape and look of your character. And don’t be too upset if you have to do this step over and over and over before you get it right! Everything takes practice, and this step is no exception (it’s where I screw up most often.)

So, from the looks of what I’ve drawn here you can tell that my character will have some cutesy cheeks, a strong feminie jaw line, and a petite chin… As for her ear… just throw it in there on the right and try to make sure it’s somewhat in the middle vertically (that includes the top of the circle to the bottom of the chin!)

Okay, okay, next step.

How To Draw Heads 3/4 View

STEP #3

These next steps are pretty easy (#3 & #4), but I’m going to show them each seperately since things tend to get a little messy with them…What you’ll want to do here is very similar to what you did in step #2 with the center line of the face. Except here, you’ll be drawing the center line of your characters eyes! So split that head into two more halves, following the imaginary shape of the skull and chin lines… Once you’re done, be sure that they look roughly even. But you’ll need to remember that the line farthest away from you will need to be a little closer to the center line than the other. This means that we’ll be drawing THAT part of the face a bit thinner than the other part.Does that sound okay?

How To Draw Heads 3/4 View

STEP #4

And now you see why it’s getting messy, right? Those horizontal face lines make it look as if we’re dicing our characters face like that hellraiser fella… <_< accupuncture >_>Putting that ugly mug out of our minds, I’ll go a head and explain what each of the three horizontal lines represent (starting from the top).Horizontal Line #1: This here is your buh, abuh, a BROW line. But not the top or the bottom. It’s in fact the very CENTER of your brow line (that’s eyebrow… sorry) So don’t place it in the center of the face, place it slightly above, and in line with the ear (or in this case slightly above the ear >:[~] ).

Horizontal Line #2: This line is the center of your character’s beautiful eyes which just so ends up being the center of your characters BEAUTIFUL face… *o* So take care to slap that bad boy on there real good!

Horizontal Line #3: Finally, this is your mouth line. And once again, not the top or the bottom. It is in fact the center. And in my case, its where the corners of her mouth meet. You can do the same, but remember there is always room for change :)

How To Draw Heads 3/4 View

STEP #5

Now that we’ve defined the construction lines all over out characters beautiful face, we get to start adding the details. And why not start with the eyebrows!? They’re easy to draw, and they should help you begin to see you character’s personality and help you imagine how she will look once you’re finished.Notice that the eyebrows I’ve drawn here are horizontally centered on the vertical lines, and vertically centered on the horizontal lines… Yours should be similar, although you may change it up a bit depending on the expression you’re going for… But the basics are there :)

How To Draw Heads 3/4 View

STEP #6

Next we draw the nose, and what the heck: let’s draw the basic neck lines too :)As far as the nose is concerned, it will sit to the far side of the faces center line. That means that this simple nose will not cross over the center line onto the right side of the face. You may notice that mine touches the center line (and yours can too for a nominal fee), but it’ll never go past it… You may also notice that the very top of the nose seems to connect with the eyebrows line, right? That’s a VERY good thing. Those two pieces are interconnected on us humans, and therefore must be interconnectified on our arts :] Don’t draw them as the same line though! Make sure there is a little gap between the two… Otherwise, there will be heck to pay (heck I tell ya.)And the neck… well it’s two vertical lines… not much of a “step”. Just make sure that the left neck-line is to the right of the chin’s center line. And make sure that the right neck-line is vertical with the ear/ chin edge. You can nudge it a bit more to the right if you’d like, but don’t go too far or your character will seem to have some HUGE neck muscles.

How To Draw Heads 3/4 View

STEP #7

Now for the mouth. That’s right, no eyes for you!Take note that the mouth is very simplistic. I draw the upper lip (starting in-line with the nose area), sweep to the right along the horizontal mouth line, then swoop back down, left, and up. And to top it all off, I draw a little mark underneath to signify a slight shadow under her lip. You may want to experiment with mouths, but for this tutorial I’m keeping it simple and won’t bother with expression, teeth, or anything of that manner.Next step is the eyes (be afraid)

How To Draw Heads 3/4 View

STEP #8

Here’s where your image will either sink or swim, and while the eyes are the most difficult part for most people, I won’t be getting into “how to draw them” in this tutorial… So give it your best shot, make them cute, and follow a few pointers I have below:#1: Start with the LEFT eye!!! That is, unless you’re left handed. The reason is simple: if you start with the left eye and get it right, it’s easy to look back and forth in comparison when working on the right eye. But if you start with the right eye, your hand will be covering it when you begin working on the left. That’ll make things a bit more difficult to perfect.#2: Do not draw the pupils until both eyes are finished! If you draw the pupils (and I’m sure you already have ><) you’ll be committed because you like your pupils too much. And now your mistakes will be more difficult to erase because you are so proud of yourself and your newly drawn pupil. SO DON’T DRAW THEM YET! I had to kick my own butt in order to get out of that habbit… Don’t make me kick yours too! >:[]

#3: Try to center your eyes/ lashes/ and lids both vertically and horizontally on your guidelines. And remember that it may help to draw a circle first (very lightly).

#4: Don’t OUTLINE the entire eye. Try leaving a gap between the inner corner of the eye, and the bottom lashes. That’ll make the eyes seem more refreshed and relaxed.

#5: Draw the eyes LIGHTLY! Because if you’re like me you’ll mess up again and again on this step, and you’ll need to erase. And there’s nothing worse than trying to draw over etched and darkened paper… So do yourself a favor and darken the eyes in the final step.

Good luck. This step will define your character’s likeability so take your time, and don’t be afraid to mess up!

How To Draw Heads 3/4 View

STEP #9

Next draw the ear (I’ve got a comprehensive ear tutorial in the Advanced Traditional section of this site if you need help on this step: How To Draw Ears).And once you’re done with the ear, draw a quick line on the neck indicating the neck muscle. It should start from behind her ear and slant inward toward her collar bone. If you choose to ignore this line, it’s no problem. But I ALWAYS include it, and so should everybody else because I say so :D

How To Draw Heads 3/4 View

STEP #10

Okay, now that we’ve stepped away from our character’s unfinished eyes for a moment, we can go back to them feeling refreshed and inspired, right?As you can see here, I’ve drawn a large -unfinished- circle, outlining the iris and directing her vision toward the “camera”. Then I draw the inner circle (her pupil), keeping it in the center of her iris. Notice how the eye farthest from us has very little room to draw the pupil? That’s good. Yours should be exactly the same (if looking this direction). Now draw another smaller circle on center left of the iris, connecting the outer edge of the iris with the outer edge of the pupil. This will work as a simple highlight for your characters eyes. Cute huh?If you choose to “fill” your eyes at this point, feel free. But I’ve chosen to do that later when I’m “finishing” the image. So for now the eyes will remain slightly creepy :}

How To Draw Heads 3/4 View

STEP #11

Now because we’re awesome, we’ll be drawing a simple hairline for our character.Of course we know hairlines can be a complex thing, and different people have different shapes… But for the sake of this tutorial we’re going to keep it simple: We’ll draw a straight line across her forehead, and bring it down to her ear… This will define our “minimum hair/ maximum forehead” area. Sound good? Just be sure you’re not thinking of these lines as permanent. They’re simply guides for us when drawing super-fantastic hair styles.Draw a similar guide along the outer edge of your characters skull. This will represent the amount of hair that she has “padding” her head. Got that? If her hair is short (like I’m going to make it) this is the MINIMUM amount of hair she is required to have before she starts to look bald. Additionally, if you want her to have long hair, you’ll make sure that you never draw inward past these lines. Always remain on the outside of them, and the hair will look natural and volumetric (Pro-V status son!)

How To Draw Heads 3/4 View

STEP #12

And now it’s hair time. The WORST time of year… I always have a difficult time deciding what hair styles to draw on my characters, and often times crack open my wifes “hair style” magazine to find inspiration. You might want to do the same, or google “totally fresh and awesome bombastic hair styles for mega cool people” to find inspiration of your own.As you can see here, I sorta scribbled her hair… I drew it lightly of course, and will clean it up later. So I suggest you do the same. If you start taking the hair too seriously, you’ll be in for a very long night. Just try to keep a loose wrist, and a light hand. Let the hair flow free (not like a hippie), and worry about details later. We’re worried about basic shape ONLY, not finished product.Also, take a look at the red arrows. They point out how the hair on both sides of her head (in the sideburn area) end at roughly the same horizontal point. You should keep a look out for this when drawing your own hair styles! We may be looking at a certain side of her head, but that doesn’t mean her hair can’t be symmetric (raise your hand if you agree.)

How To Draw Heads 3/4 View

STEP #13

Now bust our your super spiffy kneaded eraser and lighten up your image a bit. If you’re not sure what that is, check out amazon.com or google it. You’ll find that the kneaded eraser is the artists best friend :) If you don’t have a kneaded eraser, perhaps you can DARKEN your image, and trace it through to a fresh piece of paper in the next step.To lighten my image, I rolled my eraser into a long rolling-pin, and ROLLED it up and down the image to lift the heavier graphite off. And when that TOTALLY failed to work the way I wanted, I smashed it into a blob and rubbed the paper with it. :)Do the same until you’re happy, but don’t lose any of your important details! You’ll need them for the final step.

How To Draw Heads 3/4 View

STEP #14

Done.I mean, here you see how my image ends up after lightening in the last step, and drawing over my lightened image in this step. What I did was take a darker pencil (not really, I just pressed harder), and made my details really dark. And since you’ve drawn a technically correct anime face, it’s time for you to do the same. But for the love of beans don’t trace your image EXACTLY. Because we all know that being “technically correct” isn’t the same as being beautiful. In fact, you’ll probably have to adjust a few things here and there, darken this spot, round that edge, smooth this area, etc, in order to make your drawing turn out the way you want. But with your lightened image as a guide, this will be easy. And once you scan your image into Photoshop, it’ll be super easy to clean up the dust and dirt :)

How To Draw Heads 3/4 View

Well guys and girls I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and most important of all, that you found it useful! Remember that this technique of drawing outlines can be used for drawing from any point of view and any perspective. The key is to learn how to imagine the human head perspective from any given angle. We also have to thankAugustc4 for providing such a spectacular example and advice! ;)

I suggest you start by drawing 3/4 view before drawing bottom to top views, or top to bottom views which I consider the most “advanced”.

I would love to receive your drawings too. You may post them in the Wiki-Downloads section, or write a comment and I will answer by email if you’d like to send me the picture.

As always, remember that practice makes perfect!
Keep trying and you will get it right!

Cheers!

Questor

7 Responses to Drawing a Proportional Face – 3/4 View

  1. Marina says:

    Hi,
    I wanted to write a posting about how to draw a face, about the right proportions etc. I thought your site describes it very good and visual. It seems to be an interesting issue for many of my readers too. The reactions are very positive.
    Thank you for your permission.

    Greetings
    PS. The language ist Bulgarian :)

  2. joanna says:

    i did not understand one bit of it. No offense.

  3. amy says:

    um this is kind of hard to understand, sorry =)

  4. mamta tiwari says:

    3d faces i want…..

  5. maria says:

    i cant see the pictures!!!!!

  6. negocio says:

    Hey! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a group of volunteers and starting a new project in a community in the same niche.
    Your blog provided us beneficial information to work on.
    You have done a outstanding job!

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