Drawing an animal’s face is tricky. I can not count the times I have finished a sketch and just felt “there is something wrong with that head. I just don’t know what it is”. Many of these problems can be solved if you have a framework in your head that helps you remember the placement of key features and the differences you should expect to see in predatory vs. prey species.
Click on the first image to start a step-by-step slide show.
Draw four circles with enough space around them for noses and ears. The top two will be a deer from the side and front. The bottom a coyote in the same positions.
Add reference lines to align the nose and eyes. At this point there are no differences between the two sets of drawings.
Eye placement: The deer has eyes on the sides of its head while the coyote has eyes facing forward. Remember, eyes on the side likes to hide, eyes in the front likes to hunt.
Eye angle: This is a critical step. The eyes of predators face forward. Thus you see the front view of the eyes from the front and the side view of the eyes from the side. Deer have the opposite arrangement. You see the full view of the eye from the side and the side view of the eyes from the front.
Nose: There is no generic mammal nose shape. Look carefully at the shape of the nose pad and length of the nose for each animal you draw.
Unlike the primate’s sunken eyes, the eyes of most species protrude in a bulge of bone and tissue around the eye. Predators have an extra bump on the inner edge of the eye.
Ears:Prey animals often have a broad ear that swivels on a narrow base. Predator ears are often broad across the base.
The line of the jaw runs from the base of the ear, down and under the head. Practice drawing heads with necks to help you get the angles behind and under the head.