Drawing the Head and Features
A 10-week course where you’ll study the anatomy of the skull, facial muscles and features so you can draw convincing-looking heads
Drawing the Head and Features
Do the heads that you draw ever lack a convincing three-dimensional feel, a believable expression or well-defined, accurately drawn features? It's so important to draw heads and facial features well because they establish the identity of the person and much of what they are communicating.
We naturally direct our attention first towards the faces in any image and notice mistakes with proportions, anatomy and details that are so subtle, most people would miss a similar issue somewhere else on the body. If there’s something wrong with the head, then the whole body and and your whole artwork will feel off!
In the Heads and Features course at Syn Studio, you will understand how to draw the head from any angle by completing a series of rotation studies under the guidance of the instructor. You will learn the key proportions, anatomical landmarks and planar structure of the head so you can draw believable heads from imagination. And you will gain a method for analyzing the shape and alignment of an individual’s particular facial features to capture someone’s likeness when drawing from reference.
By the end of this course, you will have the ability to create artwork with convincing heads that feel three-dimensional, express someone’s unique visual identity and show believable facial expressions that communicate what they’re doing, how they feel and who they are. You will have acquired some of the most essential skills for any character designer, modeler, fine artist, animator, comic book artist or illustrator. The skills and confidence you gain from becoming really good at drawing heads and faces will help boost your overall artistic progress and results enormously.
- Course Type Traditional Drawing Classes
- Duration 10 weeks
Level 2Level 2
Second level classes are for students who have a good foundation in the basics of realistic drawing (such as perspective, proportion, shading and colour theory) and already know how to use Photoshop, but need more in-depth knowledge to create professional and complex artwork.
This level is about expanding knowledge, strengthening skills, and transitioning to the world of concept art and illustration.
- Language English
Note: This class will be offered online only
Class Timings: Tuesdays from 2.30 PM to 5.30 PM, Eastern Standard Time (EST or UTC-5h)
Date of first class: January 11th
Duration: 10 weeks
If you are unable to attend the class during the times listed above, you will still have access to video recordings of the class lectures and will still receive personalized feedback from your instructor.
To enroll in this course you should have:
- A foundation in realistic anatomical drawing, such as basic perspective, proportions and shading.
- Ideally completed our Drawing the Human Form class or have equivalent practice/experience.
If you are unsure of your skill level, please contact [email protected] for additional guidance.
Language and age requirements
You should have at least intermediate level English to take this class. Please note that Syn Studio’s classes are targeted towards adults and students should be 16 years or older to enroll.
- 11 x 14 (minimum), OR 14 x17 OR 18x24 inch pad of white drawing paper: Canson, Strathmore,
or Fabriano brand. NOT newsprint.
- Notebook or sketchbook for taking notes
- 3 sheets of Canson Mi-Teints paper, 19x25 inches, Steel Grey or Felt Grey colour
- Staedtler Mars Lumograph graphite pencils, 3 of each: 2B, HB. 1 of each: 2H, 4H and 8B.
- Derwent Drawing pencil in Chinese White
- White plastic eraser
- Kneadable eraser (recommended, Staedtler karat art eraser)
- A mechanical eraser (recommended, Tombow Mono Zero Eraser Pen, or similar)
- A good quality pencil sharpener (recommended, Staedtler metal sharpener with a recipient)
- Clear plastic ruler: 30 cm / 12 inches or longer,
- 3 or 4 bulldog clips to hold paper onto a drawing board
- 1 x drawing board, 19-26 inches wide
*List subject to change, the official material list will be sent before the beginning of the term.
Tech Requirements for Attending Syn Studio Online Classes
- A strong uninterrupted broadband wired or wireless (3G or 4G/LTE) connection with a minimum 600kbps bandwidth (up/down).
- A Laptop/Desktop computer equipped with a single core processor (at least 1 GHZ processing speed) or a smartphone/tablet with equivalent processing capabilities
- Good speakers/earphones to listen to the classes
- Browser - IE7+, Safari 5+, Firefox, Chrome
- Operating System - Windows XP, Mac OS 10.6, Linux distro based on 3.0 kernel, Android 5.0, iOS 10
Syn Studio Recommendations
- A strong uninterrupted broadband wired or wireless (3G or 4G/LTE) connection with a minimum 1.5Mbps bandwidth (up/down). You can also connect to the internet directly using your ethernet cable to improve your experience.
- Laptop/Desktop computer equipped with a dual core processor with at least 2 GHZ processing speed and a 4 GB RAM
- High Quality speakers/earphones to listen to the classes
- Browser & Operating System - We recommend using the latest version of the browser and operating system for an optimal online classroom experience.
*This course outline is currently being updated and is subject to change. A new revised outline will be provided at a later date.
Week 1: Learn the proportions of the human skull and how to draw it effectively with box and sphere-based construction techniques.
Week 2: Understand how to use cross-contour and relief modeling to feel and express the solidity and mass of the skull. Learn a powerful method, from Bammes, to break down the skull into basic planes.
Week 3: Gain proficiency drawing a head from reference, delineating plane-breaks with reference to the anatomical landmarks of the skull learned earlier.
Weeks 4 to 6: Fully comprehend how to draw the skull from all angles by creating 16 sequential views of the skull rotating in perspective for an animated video sequence.
Week 7: Learn to draw facial expressions and express the dynamic relationship between the head, neck and shoulders through gesture drawing from a reference.
Weeks 8 and 9: Become proficient drawing the eyes, ears, nose and mouth using planar hatching, cross-contour and relief modeling to bring out the form and topography.
Week 10: Learn to analyze the shape and alignment of features on the skull and capture the uniqueness of each human face. In a series of final drawings from reference, put together all you’ve learned to achieve a convincing head drawing with a feeling of volume and planar structure.
"I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do."