How to Draw the Head From Every Angle: Part Two | Nina Rycroft | Skillshare

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How to Draw the Head From Every Angle: Part Two

teacher avatar Nina Rycroft, Picture Book Illustrator

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      The Basic Shape


    • 3.

      The Nose


    • 4.

      The Mouth


    • 5.

      The Chin and Cheeks


    • 6.

      The Eyes


    • 7.

      Short Hair


    • 8.

      Long Hair


    • 9.

      To Finish


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About This Class

Learn how to make a simple 3D model using your character sketches from Part One'.

In this class, picture book illustrator Nina Rycroft will teach you tips and techniques on how to make a Clay Polymer 'Sculpey' 3D model of your character. Learn how to make the basic shape of the head, the nose, the mouth, the chin and cheeks and the eyes. Finishing off your model with either long or short hair. Nina's demonstrations show either one or a combination of three characters, covering a wide range of modelling techniques.

Making a 3D model of your character will help you ...

  • view your character from any angle
  • understand your characters' framework
  • keep your character consistent
  • save time

Interested in character design? 

Below is my series of Skillshare classes that walk you through the entire process of how to illustrate a character from start to finish. Use this series to either brush-up on a particular skill or work your way through, for a comprehensive guide.

Nina's Skillshare Character Design Series

  1. Face Facts: Beginners Guide to Drawing a Self Portrait
  2. Face Shapes: Draw a Series of Character Using Simple Shapes 
  3. 101 Guide to Drawing Eyes
  4. Emoji Me: The art of Facial Expression
  5. How to Draw the Head From Every Angle: Part One
  6. How to Draw the Head From Every Angle: Part Two
  7. How to Draw the Head From Every Angle: Part Three
  8. Draw a Circus of Characters: Exploring Body Shape and Proportion
  9. Draw a Circus of Movement: Simple Techniques to Bring Characters to Life
  10. Draw a Circus of Line & Gesture: Design a Picture Book Character From Start to Finish
  11. Watercolor Magic: One Character Five Ways
  12. Illustration Masterclass: Exploring Technique and Style
  13. Learn to Use Procreate: Design and Illustrate a Bear Character
  14. • NEW • Animal Character Design for Picture Book Illustrators: Techniques and tips for designing characters with a narrative

Meet Your Teacher

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Nina Rycroft

Picture Book Illustrator


Please link up, subscribe and follow me on: Facebook I Instagram I Pinterest I Website

Hi! I'm Nina Rycroft, a picture book illustrator. I worked as a graphic designer in Sydney and London before turning my hand to illustration, with my first picture book Little Platypus received a CBCA (Children's Book Council of Australia) Notable Book Award in 2000. Since then, I've had more than a dozen picture books published worldwide, winning some awards along the way. To view my list of publications.

If you're interested in learning how and design and develop character, illustration techniques and picture book illustration, then please follow me...or even better...try one of my classes :)

My dozen or so Skillshare classes >>> taken in this sequence See full profile

Level: Intermediate

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1. Introduction: Welcome to part 2 of How to draw the head from every angle. In this class, we'll be making simple 3D models for my character drawings that we completed in part 1. This class will be broken up into lessons showing how to make the basic shape of the head, then the nose, the mouth, the chin and chicks, the eyes, and then I'll touch on the hair, showing how to model short hair and then long hair. When a character for a story is unique, it's impossible sometimes to find any kind of reference. This is an opportunity to make your own reference. You can use this class in a number of different ways. By watching the process of how I create a 3D model from my character drawings and seeing the techniques alongside the reasoning behind each step that I make or you might like to do as I do, by downloading the PDF of my character drawings in the project section and use this class to focus on modeling techniques rather than coming up with your own character ideas. Another way to use the class is to apply what you learn in the class to your own characters. I'll be using characters that are designed in my 101 guide to drawing eyes class. Of these six characters, I've chosen three to make into models. By using a range of characters, you'll be able to see how what I teach can apply to your own. For this class you will need reference, your front and side view drawings of the character's head that you completed in part 1. Your drawing should be no bigger than six centimeters in height. You may wish to redraw or photocopy the front and side view of your character on to a new sheet of paper as you'll be quite hands-on, referring back to the drawing many times with your model. You'll also need tin foil and wire. I'm using a 20 centimeter length of four millimeter wire that you can get from hardware shop and wire cutters. You will also need a rolling pin, a variety of wooden or plastic sculpting tools. Other items that may come in handy are bamboo skewers, plastic rulers, scissors, and of course, books of the Super Sculpey. It's really easy to condition right out of the packet. The best thing about it is stay soft until you bake it. Here I'm using a badge color but you can also mix it with other colors to change the skin tone. If you post a photo of your 3D model in the project section, either a work in progress or a finished product, I'll then send you my How to draw the head from the front view and side view printout. When you finish watching all of the lessons, please leave a review, if you like the class or found any of the lessons helpful as this gives the class more visibility on Skillshare so that more people can take part. I look forward to seeing you in my next class, where we'll prepare the clay and build the basic shape of our character's head. 2. The Basic Shape: Welcome back to part 2 of how to draw the head from every angle. You can either sit back and watch, or if you're ready to participate, then let's get started. So here we are with my reference in front of me. I've prepared a small ball of foil, and now I'm going to gently fold my length of wire in half, leaving a 15-millimeter loop at the top. Then you can see I'm twisting the remainder of the wire to the base. You don't want to make the foil to touch, you want to also be able to add to it. So here I've got my smaller ball and I'm loosely wrapping it around the loop of the wire. Then I'm adding to it with another piece of foil. So you can see I'm not pressing too hard. You can see I'm forming into a circle, and it needs to sit really nicely within the drawing. You do want some space to build the Sculpey around your foil area. Before we start, make sure you hands and all surfaces are clean. If you've been drawing, then make sure that there's no lead, pencil shavings, or eraser debris that can be caught up in the surface of the Sculpey. Work your ball of Sculpey for a good five minutes so it's nicely warmed up, malleable, and easy to manipulate. Here I'm using my fingertips and my thumb to press out from the center, and pinching and pulling until I have a disk about 7-10 millimeters thick. I'm just going to use this and wrap it around the foil ball. It might take a few go's, but you can see that I'm pressing the Sculpey around the foil, and I'm filling up the scenes and pressing it down with my thumb. You can smooth it out and you can use your whole hand and fingers to get a smoother surface. So now I'm just going to tidy up the wire at the end and you want a decent length at the end. I've got about a six-centimeter length of wire, I'm just trimming the excess off now. I'm now rolling and tidying up the ball, and I'm just going to use my reference to check the size, and just make final adjustments with the shape. Using my reference, you can see that I need to add an area for the chin. So here I'm adding a piece of Sculpey to form the chin, and I'm just blending it into the larger area of the head. Once I have the basic shape, I then go back to my reference and make sure that it aligns with my drawing. A couple more adjustments and I'm happy with that. So now it's time to make the area for the eye sockets. I'm using a tool and I can also use my fingers and press the area and indent it. Again going back to my drawing, I'm supposed to check the height of the eye, and I'm also thinking about where the brow is going to go. So this is another area I'm going to add on for the brow. I'm now smoothing the area. Again, I'm going to go back to my drawing and make sure all of the brows are not too heavy or large and that it aligns with my original sketch. This particular character doesn't have a very large nose. So what I'm going to do is actually use my thumb and my finger and pinch an area for the nose, and just keep going back to my drawing and checking that I have the right shape and the form for the bridge and the tip of the nose. So just keep working backward and forward from your drawing to your three-dimensional model, and just try and follow that shape using the front view and the side view, don't forget that you are using both the front and the side view to get the three-dimensional shape of your model. Now I'm going to use my second character, and you can see that I've got the basic shape that I referred to my illustrations and I'm just forming the neck. So you can see the neck is folded back a little bit more than what I had originally. I've got the Sculpey working its way down the wire to form the shape of the neck as well. You can see I'm just working the back of the head and I'm just pressing with my fingers to make sure that the actual sculpture is very similar to the drawings that I've done. Once again, I'm pressing in an area for an eye socket system that I'm using my fingers, and I'm forming a bit more of a longer bridge of the nose. Constantly referring back to my drawings, I'm adjusting the chin and under the nose, the cheeks, and the side of the face. Here I'm pretty happy with the basic shape of my character's head. In my next lesson, I'll show you how to add a nose to your model. 3. The Nose: With my first character, I formed the basic shape of the nose while I was finding the shape for the character's head. I was doing that by pressing in the eyes and forming the cheeks and pressing in underneath the nose and just using my fingers and my thumbs to work the area. I'm constantly referring back to the profile illustration of my character. My second character is very different looking to my first character and this character has a very long, thin nose. So I'm rolling out almost like a sausage like shape and I'm pressing it along the ridge of the nose. You can see I've used my side profile drawing to figure out exactly where the tip of the nose begins. I'm using a tool to help blend the seams of the nose and smooth the ridges and also my fingers and my thumb. I'm pulling and pressing the nose onto the main form of the head, here I'm using a tool and then again my fingers. I'm forming the arch of the brow as well. I don't want to draw the brow in, I want that to be an actual ridge. So I'm using my fingertip here to smooth that out and create this little brow, a brow area, a brow line and smoothing the forehead and working my way down the ridge of the nose and into where the eyes are going to be as well. Whether your character has a button nose, a long nose or a large nose, the same rules apply you have to keep going back to your drawing, refer back to that side view and your front view, and try and get your sculpture to match that original drawing. In the next lesson, I'll be showing you a couple of variations on how to form a mouth for your character models. 4. The Mouth: Welcome back. In this lesson I'll be showing you a couple of variations on how to form the mouth. So here I'm using my reference to mark where the mouth is going to rest. I've rolled and torn a small piece of the sculpy and this will be the bottom lip. So I'm just seeing if it's the right size or not. You can see I'm pressing the edges of that lip using the sculpting tool. The top that is made using a flattened tear drop shape piece of sculpy, with the narrow end pushed up right against the nose, and the larger end forming the top lip. Once I have that in place, I can press it down using a sculpting tool and just check the size of the lip. This is a little bit too big, so I'm just using the tool to spread the lip thinner and just create the correct size for both the top and the bottom lip. When it comes to doing lips, really make sure to go back to your original drawings just to check that you have everything proportion, here I'm pushing the center part of the mouth in and I can use my fingers and my thumb to to press that closed. I'm now going to go back and work in a bit more detail on that top lip. You can see from the drawing that it's quite defined. So I'm just going to press the shape back in using a tool. It's really worth spending the time on the lips and getting them exactly how you need them. Here, I'm just working the very outer parts of the lip. This is so much detail because they are quite tiny. But it's really worth getting them right and getting them looking good here I'm just defining that bottom lip and then moving the sculpy down past the chin, and just smoothing the area around the mouth and the lip to finish it off. With my second character, you can see again, I'm marking where the mouth sits. I'm actually going to lift up the nose and place that teardrop, that flatten teardrop shape that will form the top lip underneath the nose. I'm going to smooth it all out and then I'll pull those back over the top of it. Here I'm using a tool to smooth out that top lip and join it back up to the rest of the face and the cheeks. You can see how that top lip is now [inaudible] out just a little bit. Then once I have that all nice, clean, and smooth, I can then drop the nose down over the top. Now I'm just checking that all the things are smooth and that my character is looking like it does in the Illustrations. My third character has probably the most simple mouth, just making an indent with a sculpting tool and pressing it together. In my next lesson, I'll be showing you how to add the chin and the cheeks. 5. The Chin and Cheeks: In this lesson, I'll be showing you how to form the chin and the cheeks. This character has a really small chin, so I'm just going to take a bowl of the sculpy and place it on the chin area and then smooth at around with one of the sculpting tools. Taking the time to use my fingertips and the sculpting tools to blend and smooth the chin area into the rest of the head. So now I'm going to use a similar method to create the cheeks to similar sized balls that I'm going to press down onto the cheek area of the head. It's really important to look at the head from above and below, as well as from the side just to make sure that we have both the cheeks, similar shape and size, and here you can see I'm using the plastic sculpting tool to attach the ball to the cheek area and this is making the socket of the eye smoother and just using my fingers and blending the whole cheek in under that eye area. When you're making 3D sculptures, cheeks tend to be too flat, especially if you've built the nose up from the rest of the face. So it's really a good idea to have a look and see whether you have enough cheek area. It really does make a difference when it comes to the look of the whole phase. So you can see there, it's a little uneven at the moment. So I'm just going to use my thumb and my fingers and just move and mold the cheeks around so they're looking equal on both sides. Once you have your cheeks, if all blended in place, just do a double-check. Turn your model around, make sure you look at it from every which way, especially from the top looking down, you can get a really good view on both the cheeks and make sure they're both the same size and shape. Here I am in my second character, I'm doing the same thing. I'm adding two round circles to form the cheeks and I'm pressing it, I'm using the tools and my fingers. I'm working both the cheeks around the same time. You can see how I'm using the knife tool to actually score the edges of the cheek ball that I've placed on there. Once I've done that, I'm smoothing it out using the tool to smooth it out and also using my finger to smooth it out [inaudible] , and then I'm using my thumb to press it around and down under the eye. Now doing the same with the other side, I'm using the sharp edge of the knife tool to almost score it into the rest of the face, and then I'm smoothing it with my finger or my thumb. Once you've attached and smoothed both the cheeks, make sure to take a step back and look at the face and the head as a whole. Check that both cheeks are same in shape and size, and that the shape looks good from above, below, as well as from the front view. Join me in my next lesson where I'll be showing you how to create the eyes. 6. The Eyes: Welcome back. In this lesson, I'll be showing you how to create the eyes. Now you can see the first thing I'm doing is marking where the eyes are going to sit. Now I have to be careful and make sure that I don't just get the height of where the eyes are, but I also understand where they sit, are they close set or wide set? Once I've established this, I can sort of press in with a tool and know exactly where I'm going to start working the space where I'm going to place the eyeballs. I don't do this with all my models, but because this character has large eyes and therefore larger eyeballs, I decided to bake and cure the eyeballs beforehand. It only took a minute, and because they're now hard, they won't get pressed or pushed out of shape, which can easily happen when working around the eye. Another option is to use glass beads, but please be careful not to use plastic beads as they will just melt when it comes to curing your character in the oven. Now I've just grabbed two little thin pieces that I've rolled out earlier, and I'm pressing them above the eyeball. They're going to form the top eyelid. As you can see, I'm using the soft flat tool to press the eyelid down towards the eyebrow or what will be the eyebrow. You can see I'm doing the same thing again with the second eye, just smoothing that top eyelid across the top of the eyeball. You can see I'm just tiding up in and around the eyeball. Now it's time to do the exact same process but with the lower lid. You can see from my drawing on the left there, you can see how the lower lid goes straight across, so continue to refer back to your drawing and see what shaped upper lid and lower lid that you need. A lot of the eyeball should be hidden with the upper and lower lid, so just check with your character and just see what it requires. Here I'm using the knife tool just to move the bottom eyelid down little bit. You can see now I'm using that same knife tool and I am attaching that second lower lid and just blending it like butter under the eye. You can see how I'm using my finger and my thumb to also manipulate and smooth it out. Because the eyeballs have been cured, I can actually get right in there with my sculpting tools and work the eyelids without having to worry about marking or destroying the shape of those eyeballs. Here I'm looking back at my drawing and you can see I'm now using the knife tool and pressing in the shape of the eyebrows that rest above the eye. Rather than drawing and dragging, I'm just using the tool, to press the shape of the eyebrows. With my second character, the eyeballs are a lot smaller, so I didn't feel the need to cure the eyeballs beforehand. What this has allowed me to do is to press a dot in the center of the eyeball with a skewer marking the pupil of the eye. The shape of this character's eyes are a lot more rectangular, so I've rolled thin pieces of the sculpey and I'm placing them above the eyeball in a straight line across. Like I did with the first character, I'm now blending the eyelid to the face. I'm just using tools and working the area underneath the ridge of the brow. Here I'm doing the same thing with my second eyelid, blending and smoothing the upper lid in under the arch of the brow. This is delicate work so please don't get frustrated with the detail. The purpose of these sculptures are to get an idea of the three-dimensional shape of the character, so the volume of the cheek, the arch of the brow, the ridge of the nose, and the bulge of the eyes. The detail shouldn't really matter so much. So you can see here, I'm just using the tool to smooth around the eye area above the eyelid and below the eyelid, and I'm just blending it all in with my finger. I'm doing the same on the other side. This always seems so uncomfortable, but I'm poking the pupil and I'm just tiding up around the eyelid of that model. Now that I have both my eyes pretty much complete, I'm just doing a final check and blend. I'm just looking from above and looking at the nose ridge, the eyebrows, where the eyes sit, and just making those final adjustments to the eyes and just checking everything's okay and in line with the drawing. So just placing my character down next to the drawing, and yes, I'm happy with that. In my next lesson, I'll be showing you how to add short hair to your model. 7. Short Hair: Welcome back. In this class I'm going to show you how to add short hair to your model. Here I'm marking exactly where the hair line is going to sit from the front view and of course, you have to think about the side view. You are working in three-dimensional shapes so just be really aware of that. Looking at the character from front , it sometimes works, but then you have to make adjustments to make it work around the ears and the back of the head. It does take a bit of time. For this character, I've drawn the hair using stripes. I thought to emulate this would be really good to roll snake-like pieces of Sculpey, really thin pieces and bring them in as the hair. I'm just starting on the outer ridge. I'm just rolling and placing the Sculpey one-piece after the other and filling in the area for the back of the hair. I've just got a few more layers to do and then I've completed that back section. I'm going to turn the sculpture around and I'm going to work long side. I've looked back at my drawing and I've seen that, that isn't the shape for the hair. I want to actually come from the parting and work my way down. I'm now working from the front towards the back and I'm going to join up those snake-like pieces later. You can see I'm just being very methodical with the [inaudible]. You can see that I'm actually using the knife tool and I'm cutting where the hair parting will be, and I'm pulling away the leftover pieces of Sculpey. I'm now using that guideline that I did earlier and I'm working the front part of the hairline and just working my way around. You can see I'm not very tidy around the hair parting. I'm going to tidy that up later. I'm just placing all the hair in first, filling in the gap and I'm just working my way around with the ridges of Sculpey and filling in more pieces and just rolling more and more Sculpey as I need it and just working my way and covering the entire area of the head. Once again, I'm getting the knife tool and I'm going to go over that same area that I did before for the parting of the hair and I'm not pressing too hard, I'm pressing lightly. I just want scar the area of the hair. I don't want to scar the head. I don't want to go too deep. I'm just gently going backward and forward and just trying to cut that area of the hair off and then gently roll the excess Sculpey away. You can see that it might take a few goes. It's quite delicate work, but having a clean parting, I think it will make all the difference for this character. Now I'm just going to tidy up the last bit of the hair and I've decided I'm going to put up a little coil at the very end and it just looks sweet and it'll finish it off nicely. I'm just wrapping that last final piece around. There you have it. I've shown you how to add short hair to your model. Stick around for my next lesson where I'll show you how to add long hair to your model. 8. Long Hair: In this class, I'm going to show you how to add long hair to your model. I'm adding long hair to this model, and because the hair is going to go down past the neck, I'm actually going to build up an area that's going to bulk out the back of the head. Now that I've built out the hair area at the back of the head, I'm adding a piece of Sculpey and I'm covering the wire to form a neck. Now I'm rolling out a piece of Sculpey, and it's about three millimeters thick. This is the center parting, you can see, and I'm just cutting two straight edges. One will be the center part, and one will be the side of the head, and I'll just make adjustments as I need to. I'm now folding and pinching away any excess hair. Now I'm rolling out my second piece of Sculpey for the hair. I'm trimming the parting and the side part of the hair, and I'm just checking that this all fits well. It doesn't matter if this length is slightly different, I can change that later. I'm just trimming out the back of the hair, so I can just line it up and blend it. I'm now using scissors to trim the hair all the same length all the way across. I'm just tidying up the edges and pressing the hair onto the head. Because my illustration has the hair curling under, I'm going to bend the edges of the hair onto that ridge that I built up earlier. What I want to do now is fill the two front sections with a piece of Sculpey. I don't want to see any messy unfinished areas, so I've just grabbed a piece of Sculpey and I'm using it to fill in that front area. I'm just smoothing the hair out on that side, and I'm just working my way around the edge of the hair on the other side. I'm going to do the same thing on the other side just to grab a section of Sculpey, and cover that front area so that it's nice and clean and has a nice smooth edge. Once again, I'm just working my way around all the gaps, and filling them up, and smoothing everything out, and bringing that center parting slightly close together, and working my way around the bottom of the hair as well. Just looking back at my image, the hair actually curls under just a little bit more than what I had, so I'm just pressing in with the ruler, and I'm just reworking the shape of the hair and the shape of the bob,, so that's much more of a shape that curves under. I'm now just smoothing everything around the edges and the back, so that it has really nice finish. I'm just having one final check of the hair and the shape, and comparing it to the illustration that I've done. Make sure to join me in my next lesson where I'll recap on everything that we've done so far, and I'll also explain to you in more detail how to cure your character's head in the oven. 9. To Finish: Congratulations on completing part 2 of how to draw the head from every angle. Whether you watched, you decided, or applied what you've learned to your own character, after watching this class, you will come away with a much greater understanding of how to view a flat two-dimensional character drawing as a three-dimensional form. When working on a story, it's so important to be familiar with every aspect of the character before you start work on a book. Just the process of making or watching how to make a 3D model would have given you a better understanding of your character. Having a 3D model on hand will always help with consistency while working on a story. Here is a recap of everything that we've learnt in class. You've learnt how to build a basic shape of the head using foil padding and armature wire. You've learnt two ways of making noise by pinching and also by building. You've also learnt a couple of variations on how to make the mouth, different couple of variations on how to build the eyes, and how to build up areas like the brow, the cheeks, and the chin, as well as short hair and a version long hair. Now it's time to bake. To cure your 3D model, you need to say your oven at 275 degrees Fahrenheit or 130 degrees Celsius. Because we use the foil padding, your 3D model should be no thicker than six millimeters, which will bring the baking time to 15 minutes. Now these little guys are hot when they come out, so make sure to use oven gloves or a cloth when removing them from the oven. If you post a photo of the 3D model in the project section of the class, I'll then send you a how to draw the head from the front and side view print out. When you finish watching all of the lessons, please leave a review if you like the class or found any of the lessons helpful, as this gives the class more visibility on Skillshare so that more people can take part. For to seeing you and your 3D model in part 3, where I'll show you some really clever tips on how to use your model to draw your character's head from every angle.