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Nsio explains: Facial Proportions by Nsio Nsio explains: Facial Proportions by Nsio
This one is more like an addition to my third tutorial in series. I thought leaving this out intentionally, since there are plenty of tutorials regarding this which can explain things in more detail.

The head:
Now there are really many ways to construct the head. One possible way is to use an eye as an unit and locate the facial features according to it. In this case, semi-realistic head is ~4 eyes wide and ~13 eyes high. The head I usually draw apparently is also ~4 eyes wide, but only ~8 eyes due to bigger eyes. I guess it's good for getting started, but I prefer trusting my judgement about right and wrong.

The blue lines indicate medians. Red lines are in my opinion the most important guidelines along the medians. I rarely draw other guidelines than medians, but after sketching the basic shape of the head, I usually draw the ear(s) before other facial features. Note it's position just next to the intersection of two medians. Then I usually follow this simple rule: the ears are on the eye level. The nose is on the same level with earlobe. The space between eyes is one eye wide. I often get satisfying results with only these.

Note that these are only examples. You can play a lot with the facial proportions, if you can make it look justified. You will learn that only trough trial and error.

Then drawing the head from any other angle gets a bit more complicated. On way is to use the two projections as guides to construct the head, but it takes quite a lot of effort. This is why it's so important to be able to see the proportions in three dimensional space, as I mentioned in my first tutorial. Once you can see them, you don't really need guidelines much at all. For me, a sphere for basic head shape and medians are enough.

I truly recommend sketching heads from many different angles every now and then. I have been drawing these heads many times already, which is why I can draw them fairly quickly. You could call it muscle memory.
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kukuro-kun Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you so much for this. Gonna be helpful!
asdfkitties Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Added this as a reference in my Favorites. Hope you don't mind. :)
mikuhatsunevocaloidT Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2015
Thank you very much
AnimeSquad Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2015   Digital Artist
How can you do lines so round at the head ?
Nsio Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
If you mean those wireframe lines on the head in the middle, I used vector lines to get them as round as possible. With front views I probably mirrored the other half to get perfect symmetry. Usually I just draw the arcs free hand.
darkrai65 Featured By Owner May 1, 2015
Thats cool i never thought of that
LilietBorodina Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2015
Your very first head looks like a deformed alien to me tbh... the stylized ones are like whatever, but in live human beings the middle line is at the middle of the eye, not at the top of it
Nsio Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Again, old tutorial and an attempt to draw something I haven't really drawn before. I have come to realize that I didn't get the guidelines quite in place. I originally intended leaving this one out because there are numerous tutorials already done which do much better job than I did here.
candaceleeparks Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you for posting this :)
BDTite1919 Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2015  Student
Many thanks!
Lorna-RoseFoX Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Royally cool and makes a lot of sense 
Matojeje Featured By Owner Dec 20, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Amazing tutorial!
HeartstitchArt Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
ugh! i wish i had these when i was president of our school's manga/anime club. i am terribly horrible at explaining things and am not a good public speaker XD
FireXIce Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
I think my hand just needs practice going where I want it to. I see these shapes in my head and my hand draws some kind of deformed potato in the place of a skull. :iconmrpotatoheadplz:
marceydevimon78 Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
ForzaDelDestino2k8 Featured By Owner Aug 11, 2014
Very detailed tutorial on drawing heads.
Kishy-Chan Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
dudgus2429 Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2014
Jonana-senpai Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2014  Student
Thank you SO MUCH! It's vey useful! 
NotKPKevin Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
ty ty for the tutor
dudgus2429 Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2014
Very useful!!
AlphonseElricsWife Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2014  Student Filmographer
you should really make your own tutoriall book. I'd buy it
Cestarian Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
^this! Just make sure it's an eBook
ZeoKenX Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2014
Nsio is right.This is why before beginners even start drawing complex things they do stick figures.Stick figures are basically the opening stages of bone anatomy.Bone anatomy is the most important part of drawings because muscles HAVE to follow them.
Gritlein Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2014
Merci ces explications vont m'aider à trouver la bonne perspectives pour réaliser mes figures en poterie!
titan-kaose Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
this is super helpful . i realy do need help on this stuff thanks :3
FifiGoof Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Thank you for this, helped a lot Giggle 
alaskatrailmutt Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2014
(Head desk) My brain. Thank you sensei!
GZ-Iconic-Ent Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you so much!!
Heba-Asawa Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2014  Student Digital Artist
thank you !!
kikas71 Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2014
thx for good tutorial :)
STRiPES-01 Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2014  Student General Artist
You are a beautiful person and you deserve an award for this ><
s0rakun Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
arigato :D love it!
sutalight Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2013
thank you ;;
Lumaere Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
HNNNGH. You're my favorite tutorial guy now.

Llama-Emoji-02 (Blush)
StormFedeR Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
this is an exceletn explanation :thumsbup: will save it to never forget :XD:
danketsujin Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2013  Student General Artist
Loved it! Thank you!
CASANDRAGUIMAUVE Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2013  Student General Artist
wow the head! O-o
shoop-ah-rainbow Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2013
One of the best series of tutorials! Very nice job dear! :)
ShinguAmito Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
You know at first I really like the idea of a circle for the head of my manga style, but after studying anatomy of the head I realize how deformed and unappealing it can be as well.

Not to say I don't approve of your methods, they are great! But this tutorial really solidified my own desire to create more realistic proportions in the heads of my characters. rather than be circular, the skull is actually more rectangular, with the next thicker at the point where it connects to the skull and thinner when connecting to the body... which really makes it possible to see anatomy in a different light and create something new from it.

In any case, while the heads are a tad too circular to look at now that I have studied the realistic head, I still respect and appreciate the style, and the tips are still as invaluable as ever. thanks for another great one!
Nsio Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yeah, as I have told you, I have very little knowledge about real anatomy. Besides, most of the time I draw hair on top of the skull anyway, so I hardly ever need to draw the skull. When I draw males, I usually start with circle, but make the skull angular later but still, not entirely true to realistic anatomy.  That said, you are definitely right. It's just quite hard to explain a beginner the exact shape of the head (while not knowing that myself!), so basic shapes are ideal for that. It's like saying that arms are like cylinders, but not exactly. Or electrons act like waves, no, they don't exactly :D

On the other hand, drawing is all about simplification. Since I'm not aiming for extreme realism, such "errors" can be overlooked. If I want realism, I'll take a photo. The more realistic look you aim, the more unforgiving the rules are, usually.

It's great that you can put the effort in studying the anatomy, it won't go wasted for sure! And it was nice to get a lecture from you for a change! :D
ShinguAmito Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
electrons xD love that example! (especially because they are both waves and particles!! :D That's probably what you were referring to haha!)

Haha, I wasn't trying to lecture anyone, just wanted to point out the differences I've noted in what you could consider to be "normal" manga teaching, and actual anatomy teaching. It's quite useful to compare the two, because it allows me to forge my own path. That being said, a beginner would have an easier time learning shapes, I agree.

But sooner or later they'll need to make the switch to be proficient in anatomy in general. 

It's true that realism is not as forgiving, but there are some interesting applications of proper anatomy knowledge. For example, in my neck example, knowing where the neck actually begins on the head would allow for more realistic interpretations of several poses, especially "looking up" poses, and I feel like displaying the head as a rectangle allows one to learn how to shade and how light falls. Perhaps general anatomy is more efficient for learning other fundamentals, as manga style is highly specialized, after all! What I'm trying to say is that it is more useful that creating more realistic images. But you probably already fully understand that! :D

Nsio Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Again, it's all about simplification. You are drawing the head as a rectangle in order to get the shape and to see how the light falls on it. That's simplification. I use a circle, because I find it's most versatile when it comes to drawing the head at angle. You see, no matter what angle you look at a sphere, it always remains circle. The medians I draw on it determine the angle of the head, so then I can just simply add the chin accordingly. The result can be rather circular, depending on how the facial features are drawn. And people have their own preferences, I'm fine with circular face myself.

Same with the neck. Although you may not know how the muscles really work or how to draw the Adam's apple right, you can still draw quite convincing neck once you know how it works in general. Of course, it doesn't mean that real anatomy could be ignored completely. Everything is based on real anatomy after all. The little anatomic knowledge I have is based on skeleton and it's joints, and the rest is mainly just about proportions. Lately I've been adding more anatomic details, such as abdominal muscles.

However, in order to help a beginner to see the right things, you just can't throw fully detailed anatomy drawing in front of her and say "there, study it". You will need to use metaphors to explain something they have never seen so that they get the basic idea and can visualize the shapes. Also, it's often better to get the big picture in place first before details. With simplification, a beginner can start drawing fairly convincing drawings  quite early, which further motivates them to define their drawings with anatomical details later on.

It's kinda funny to "argue" about this matter, as we both have the very same argument, just a little varied viewpoint about it :D. And both are equally valid. I have my way of doing things and you have yours. I'm more than happy if the way you have interpreted the head shape makes it easier for you to understand how it works. :)
ShinguAmito Featured By Owner Nov 18, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Hmmm, perhaps I should rephrase.

Correct me if I am wrong, but general practice in art institutions is to teach "true" anatomy fairly early in artists' careers, right? Assuming this to be true, you gotta wonder why they don't let that slide for longer. Every artist enters art school with a preconceived method of simplifying the anatomy, so why doesn't that suffice?

I can chalk it up to a school of thought. Essentially, you are right, Simplification is key. However, the means of attaining the simplification vary. I feel like you can do it your way, which is not just your way, but a way many people use, and learn the relative orientation of anatomy. But in that case it becomes harder to do more complex poses and structures.

Meanwhile, the second school of thought is that you learn the complex stuff first. A lot of anatomy learning is simple memorization, and to a degree, anatomy is also simplified by shapes. But what sets it apart from the method here is that it is a more accurate representation of a generic model. This is the general education method.

Thinking about it, starting complex and making it simpler is a lot easier than starting simple and making it complex! Kinda like a canvas in sai; it's easier to scale down an image than scale it up. At least, in my opinion. But as you mentioned, it's really the same argument, just with two different trains of thought.

Since we're not in art school, and you are teaching manga, there is definitely a fondness of simplicity. I feel like a lot of people will mistake that for being easy though, and not take into account the underlying structures. That's why I think any artist serious about creating manga should really try to learn anatomy, even if they don't start with it, because it's invaluable, and this is something you probably also agree with.

This is an interesting debate, I suppose, because it really makes you wonder which method is more useful, especially to a style such as manga art in general. 

Again though, not trying to say your method is wrong! As you left off with, we both have our own ways of doing things. For the record, I still use the circle to start, but I flesh out the planes of the head so it appears more "boxy" during actual anatomy drawing stages now. :) Kinda a hybrid mix, lol.

Nsio Featured By Owner Nov 18, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Now, I have had only a couple of courses about art here at the university, so I can't really say how the institutions dedicated to art approach the matter. But what I have gathered, they don't really start of with the anatomic studies right at the bat. They teach you to see. Seeing is far more important at the beginning compared to real anatomy. And the reason why they do this is just to change these "preconceived methods of simplifying anatomy" as you say it. The art institutions provide live models for the artists to observe and to learn. The answers are right in front of them, yet they can't see them until they have been taught the art of observing. They will get the big image about the basics of anatomy, rather than extra-detailed images of muscles and how they are connected to the bones for example. They will get on the details later on.

It's probably true, that in some schools they teach the complex things first. However, they likely have great instructors there to support the artists in training. You also admit that they apply some sort of simplification. And I believe that simplification derives from the very basics shapes too, even if they didn't actively draw basic shapes. A person who has no real guidance will be completely lost with all the details, not to mention that they probably haven't even learned how to see.

However, I highly disagree with your statement that starting simple makes it harder later on. Maybe it's my mentality, but in long run, it will be far more effective to start with simple and then work on details. You will need a solid foundation before going with more advanced things. You may learn to draw individual body details, but then you still need learn how to mix them into full body drawing. It's a long way and probably not very motivating in a sense that it takes so long to get to the most interesting part, human drawing.

Sure, if the person can take all that information right at the start and then apply it, fine. But I believe that there aren't many of those people around. Also, you can't learn juggling while also practicing 400m hurdles. Setting simpler goals will keep up the motivation and inspiration and you can gradually develop your art to the way that suits your tastes.

I, for myself, wanted to get drawing as quickly as possible. Thus I went with manga style. I never really tried drawing from model, so the anatomy in my drawings is heavily simplified. However, I don't believe there is really any difficulty for me to suddenly start drawing more realistically. I just should do some more studies and observation regarding the stuff that's involved with it. If I really wanted to go on that direction, that is.

We can also discuss this matter from the art point of view. I'm totally amazed how some people are able to draw really photorealistic portraits. But why would they do that, when there is camera that can do it far more quickly? Just for the fun of it? Maybe. Anyway, the point is that art isn't just the matter of complexity. Very often, the simpler the drawing, the more appealing it is. A camera can't do that. An artist can make the invisible visible to an average Joe. If I recall right, I once heard a story about an artist who painted a painting about the fog in Thames river. The people didn't really notice the fog until the artist had painted it visible to them.

I also find that my most simple drawings are the most appealing from all my works.

But on the other hand, you can't simplify anything unless you know how it really is. So in a sense, you're right. It's just a matter of when the artist should put her focus on anatomy.

Then again, I'm basing all this on my own experience. The way I draw isn't the absolute way of doing things, but it has proven useful to me at least. There are no such thing as right and wrong with art, however I still find that there are these certain rules that makes the drawings enjoyable.

ShinguAmito Featured By Owner Nov 18, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
haha, you make a good case! I'm almost swayed to your perspective!

However, even though the simple to complex methodology may work, there are VERY apparent inner complexity and workings that just aren't taught by simply "seeing" and basic shapes. Understanding of that takes years, and that's why I stand by my "complex to simple" standpoint, merely for the very reason you stated! Even if you start simply, without advanced knowledge and understanding it is impossible to do certain things, which come from extensive use of simplified forms. If you start with anatomy, or not, essentially we are simplifying, but understanding the why of simplification is the complexity I refer to. The "solid foundation" you speak of is not garnered through simple reproduction of basic shapes. It's obtained through extensive study of simplified subject matter. Even in your case; yeah you feel the simple shapes do enough, but that's only after how many years of drawing? you've gotten to the point where you understand intuitively the complexity of the form. Starting simple by teaching people to see is well and good, but the complexity of the understanding helps your drawings mature. Of course, that's where I started: juxtaposing my position currently with this method meant for beginners. I never meant to say that this isn't the right way to teach at all! As I have said, there is nothing wrong with your tutorial :D But from my perspective, which I believe to be a little further than a beginner, these are the conclusions I have drawn. Complexity arises as the simplicity is revealed. In terms of this discussion, that means the faster you arrive at a complex understanding, the sooner the simplification becomes more useful. I believe you said as much too; I'm merely restating your point. (go figure!)

I suppose it is a very semantic argument, however. Or maybe it's not an argument at all! xD We are "simply" using different wording methods. Who knows though, a year from now I may be nodding in agreement with you and shuddering at my current thought process! The great thing about art is that your perception of the rules can evolve and grow, and so I'm quite open to being proven wrong or proving myself wrong :D

(You said this as well!)

I agree with all your other statements, for the record!
Nsio Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Well ain't ye the stubborn one haha!! xD I would hope to have these kind of debates more often.

True, I have already admitted the fact that in order to simplify effectively, one must know the complexity. This is basically what I said about drawing arms like cylinders. Of course, arms aren't cylinders at all. However, if they are first drawn as cylinders it's easier to find the right lines of the more complex form. And the further you get with your studies, the earlier you can start drawing the shapes in more complex way. The simple forms are there to help get the big idea, but you will still need the complex understanding about anatomy in order to render the details.

By observing I don't mean simply seeing things that you are about draw, but also see things you have drawn. How could you learn drawing complexity, if you can't see what you have drawn first? Analyzing what you see and what you have drawn helps you to configure your hand-eye coordination and transfer that complexity on canvas more accurately.

The power of simple forms is the fact that they are relatively easy to draw and they represent the complexity well enough in macro level. So an artist can make studies more quickly and try out various proportional things. If you start with complex, you will probably end up using rather a lot of time at rendering a detail just to notice that it's a little off. In terms of the time and effort used, going simple proves more effective. Quantity over quality. At the beginning, that is. Going from macro to micro is like drawing the outlines and then drawing the details. and I believe you know what's likely to happen if you start from details and work your way from there ;).

Of course, complexity isn't synonym for a detail. And simplified isn't synonym for simple either.

So, I would say the learning curve is something like this: simple>complex>simplified. And true, the earlier you get to the complex understanding, the earlier simplifying becomes effective tool, we both agree with this. But it's just a question as to when the focus on complex things should take place. In your point of view, complexity should come first. I believe it's good to work your way from simple to complex to gain the basic understanding, then work on complex things to gain more advanced understanding and apply that understanding to simplify. Simple vs. simplified. If you start from complex, you may not understand it in a while. If you start simple, you can can try and practice many basic things and then apply those on complex things (such as shading for instance). You can then make that cylinder into a fully rendered arm and then simplify that arm back into a "cylinder that's not really a cylinder" :D.

Or if I had to agree on your point of view that complex should still come first, then I would say the learning curve is like this: complicated>simple>complex>simplified. That said, complexity without understanding is just complicated. Simplified without understanding about complexity is just simple. But in order to gain the complex understanding, you will need to start from simple and work your way to complex. Then, if you want to, you can work your way to simplified. So according to this, am I still at simple stage? xD Obviously I'm not done with the complexity at least. And now that you have started with simple, you can start evolve your way of drawing to better suit your complex understanding.

I believe that what makes it hard to move from simple to complex is only the artists will to improve. I'm quite content with my current level, but I'm still slowly trying to evolve. In fact, I haven't seen a stop in my improvement since my "awakening". I even draw less frequently than I used to, but that doesn't seem to affect much (other than making me rusty haha xD).

Great debate sir!

(1 Reply)
CU-sketcher Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
oooh, this is fantastic

Could u make a description of how u make a good colouring too?
Nsio Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks :)

I'm not really into coloring myself and I'm not very proficient with them. That said, I'm not the right person to teach coloring so it's unlikely that I will ever make a tutorial regarding that.

However, I'll probably do a tutorial regarding contrasts, which can be applied to coloring as well.
CU-sketcher Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist

but i think it will take time for me to make a perfect body X'DDD

i´m still young and have much to learn
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