Questions on - a) Stretching Proportions & b) Drawing Heads & c) Range of Motion


Hi all,

Would appreciate inputs on a few queries I have.

a) Stretching Proportions-

So the most accepted system of proportions for a well proportioned human revolve around 8 heads or the 5 eye line. Now, if I have to stretch that to create a 12-14 head tall character (hulk/supervillian/fashion diva), do I -

i) simply make every landmark a certain multiple of the head length (like 1.25 times a head) or
ii) is it more desirable to stretch certain relations while keeping certain others constant? (For eg, keep the ribs’ & pelvis’ landmarks consistent with the head while stretching out the limbs, neck more).

As an aside, is there any similar system of proportion for animals that is as widely accepted?

b) Drawing Heads-

i) After one learns the ‘Planes of the Head’ off of internet images, which are some of the sculpture busts/ portrait paintings/artists you would recommend to a beginner to solidify the planes?

Essentially, I’m seeking artistic interpretations which are simple (rather than photos of real people) based on the assumption that they would be more exemplary of the planes.

ii) Does the size of the eye socket (orbit) vary from person to person or due to ethnicity?

With images on the internet, it seems that there is quite a gap between the eyeball & the edges of the orbit. However, when I feel my face, I can feel the bone around the socket hugging the eyeball quite closely. So, to me anyway, the sockets seem to be more oval (ie typical Egyptian eye-shaped) rather than the RayBan aviator shape. Am I misinterpreting something? (I’m an Indian btw).

iii) What is the fat pad over the eyebrow called? (The name would help with googling, :)).

In my case, it covers the upper eyelid partly. My question is, does it ever extend across the length of the eyebrow towards the inner part of the eye? Or does it stop at the middle?

iv) What are high cheekbones? Is it that the zygomatic bones are closer to the eye socket? Or is it that the zygomatic bones are larger &/or wider?

Also, what is the widest point on the head? Is it the front part of the zygomatic that’s on the face or the part that’s nearer the ear on the side of the head?

v) What are some good resources that deal with racial differences when it comes to heads?

Also, can anyone recommend a good book/resource on facial cosmetic/plastic surgery with plenty of images that’ll help demystify the face?

c) Range of Motion-

Can anyone point to a good book/resource than simply explains the range of motion of various joints in the human body, like for eg, the scapulo-humeral/thoracic joints or the spine, pelvis etc.? Most of my googling has resulted in biomechanical studies that involve a lot of text but very few images. I’d just like something simple & illustrative.

Many thanks for your time. Much obliged!


I’m not quite sure I understand what you’re asking about in the first question, mind to rephrase?
Just for the record, the height of a person and their head-to-body ratio are closely related; the more heads fit in, the higher the person’s stature is (8 heads is around 1.85 meters tall, give or take).
Here’s a quick sketch demonstrating the appearance of a figure who has a head-to-body ratio of around 8, and next to it one of around 12 (with heights like this it’d be a good idea to consider adding the features of a person afflicted with acromegaly, to have a somewhat plausible appearance for such an enormous person).

Regarding the second question:
i. There’s no simple way to learn how to draw a face, or understand why a face looks the way it does; in order to achieve mastery with the face, as with everything else in the body, you need to study its anatomy; that includes the skull, muscles, and skin (even veins, to a really small degree); and of course you also need to practice, otherwise you may know all that there is about the face, but you can’t actually put it into use.

ii. The size of the orbit varies from person to person, with little to no difference between different ethnicities (some may have larger than others on average, for instance, but I doubt it’s really significant; don’t take my word on it though - haven’t studied this in depth yet); however, the shape of the eye-socket (or the bone around it I should say) does depend on the the ethnicity of the person. This is why, for example, Asians have narrow eyes compared to Caucasians.
Your eyeball doesn’t fit into all of the socket, there are muscles around it connecting to the bone.

iii. I think I know what you’re talking about, but I doubt it has a name; do you mean almost like the brow is over your eyelids? I have that too, looks something like this:

In any case, no, it doesn’t continue all the way to the inner part of the eyes, but rather goes around (the fat) the eyelid.

iv. Not terribly sure, think it’s a combination of both, with size playing the larger role.
The widest point in the head would be at where your ears connect to the head (there’s this tube-like bone going from the zygomatic to the side of the head in the skull - it is the widest part of the head/skull).

v. Don’t have anything on the subject, sorry.

And finally, the third question; I don’t know of anything conclusive, but there’s this nice book after Leonardo da Vinci’s work (to some extent), Codex Huygens, which you might want to take a look into (it deals with local motion if I’m not mistaken).

Hope this was of help,