There are several approaches to constructing the head. In this lesson, we will briefly introduce the most commonly used head drawing techniques. They are listed below.

  1. Some head photos first
  2. Head drawing techniques
    1. The Loomis method
    2. The Reilly method
    3. The Asaro method
    4. The Skab method
  3. Which head drawing technique is the best?

Some head photos first

In the first place, let’s take a look at the following photos. They show people in different angles and atmospheres. For example, the third photo barely reveals details of the person photographed. Yet it’s easy to understand that we’re looking at a human head.

So, the head drawing techniques that we will discuss below are not necessarily meant to render heads in details. They also do not care what medium the artist uses or prefers. Instead, they aim at abstracting the shape of the head, making it simpler to apprehend without knowledge of human anatomy. In other words, they only focus on creating the illusion of a 3D head on a 2D surface. Let’s get started!

Head drawing techniques

The Loomis method

It’s probably the most popular head drawing technique. Below are some 3D models you can manipulate to get a general idea of the method.

The Reilly method

3D models hardly exist on the internet for this head drawing technique. But here are some handy links.

The Asaro method

Below are some 3D models you can manipulate to have a general idea of this head drawing technique.

The Skab method

Skab is a personal acronym for “SKull As a Box”. Thereby, the Skab method refers to any approach of drawing the skull or head using boxes. They are barely popular because the head is not boxy. Moreover, a boxy head is likely to be interpreted as that of a robot or other mechanical subjects, rather than a real human head with curvy planes all over its surface: forehead, eye sockets, cheekbones, etc.

The three models below represent the skull at three different rendering levels: organic, rather organic and boxy (not organic). Also note that attempts to make the head boxy when drawing are often guided by one’s wish to easily rotate it in space.

Which head drawing technique is the best?

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