Kill Art Block Now with a Triangle!

Building off of our previous discussion on head shapes, let’s take a closer look at how we can push our designs even further. In the diagram below, I’ve drawn a set of crosshairs on a set of nine identically shaped heads. The horizontal line on the crosshair is known as the eye line. The vertical line represents the center of the head. By moving the eye line up or down on the vertical line, I can get a wide variety of interesting characters.

Below I have three rows. Each row has a specific set of facial features. Varying the position of the features gives me more designs to experiment with. Moving the eye line up infers less intelligence (smaller brain bucket) while moving the eye line down infers a character with high intelligence (bigger brain bucket). Avoid sticking the eye line to the center if your goal is to create stylized characters.

Using a basic human head, start by varying the eye line’s position. The lower the eye line, the more intelligence the character is assumed to have. The higher the eye line, the less intelligent the character appears to be.

Let’s look at the relationship between the eyes and the nose. We can draw a triangle to connect the eyes with the nose. By varying the shape of the triangle, we have an even broader assortment of new characters to play with. While you’re at it, try changing the shape of the eyes and nose to give your designs even more variety.

The eyes and nose are connected by way of a triangle. If we change the shape of the triangle and vary the features of the eyes and nose, we can develop a broad range of character designs.

When adding the mouth, I like to vary its position so that the distance between the nose and the mouth is different when compared to the distance between the eyes and nose. If we were to draw markers indicating the position of the eyes, nose and mouth, we can get really interesting looking characters if we keep the spacing uneven.

When adding the mouth, vary its placement such that the distance between the nose and mouth is different from the distance between the eyes and the nose. The lines on the side resemble an uneven ladder, and represent the position of the eyes, nose and mouth.

With this understanding, we can expand on our designs by varying the character’s head shape using our vertical symmetry tool.

Vary the head shape – here I used the vertical symmetry tool as a starting point for creating some unusual heads.

Using what we’ve just learned, we can draw our uneven ladder on each of our head shapes.

Add your placement lines. There’s an infinite number of combinations you can play with.

From there, it’s all about making new faces! Move the eyes closer. Move them far apart. Change the shape of the nose. Add facial hair. Vary the sex, ethnicity and ages of your character as you work through your designs. Injecting variety will help you kill off art block.

Fill up a page… and then start over with a totally different set of features on the same head shapes.
Find your favorite head shape and develop it further!

Your homework is to work up some head studies. Tag us on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #killartblocknow so we can check out what you’ve created! Have fun!