Bartek Gawel, CDPR’s art director, shares some insight on the importance of head construction for successful character design.
The secret to a good character concept is its head. Not to brag about the eyes as the mirrors of the soul or the number of emotions a human face can express let’s just get on with it. Because it’s all in the head – believe me.
Any to-be concept artist will have to learn sooner or later how to draw a good face. I decided to take my time and start this little tutorial and share the knowledge, that was gathered by artists and human body experts (scientists to be precise) throughout the ages.
In this episode I’ll write a little bit about the first principal which defines the look and character of the head you are designing. Today I will write about the facial angle.
The most important element you will need while constructing the head is the middle of the ear. This is represented by the red dot on the illustration above.
A line crossing this point and perpendicular to the horizon helps us find the beginning of the neck i.e. the place where the neck meets the chest (point A). Traditional sculptors use a special pendulum to find the correct line. It’s good if you have an aprentice of any kind to hold it for you, while you’re busy with your work.
The models character is determined by the so called facial angle. This concept was used for the first time in the 18th Century by Petrus Camper, a Dutch anthropologist, scientist and sculptor. He introduced a constant head position based upon a line drawn from the middle of the ear (red dot) to the septum (the red line). The second line needed to create the face angle is drawn from the forehead surface with the jaw (yellow line). This angle can have different rays and be even right.
Determining the facial angle allows you to have a base for further head construction and influences the look of the model on an early stage, before you start outlining other elements (e.g. a nose).