Posted by: Tendra | March 21, 2009

Drawing Helga’s Head: Basic Proportions (3/4 View)



I had a request to make a post about some drawing tips for Helga.  So, here it goes…

Drawing Helga Basics 101: If you know how to draw a circle, you’re already half-way there.

I am not kidding.  Many of Helga’s features are based off circles: the shape of her head, her eyes, her nose, even her ears.  So if you want to draw Helga but don’t know how to draw a circle, stop reading this post and start drawing circles for, I don’t know, 10 or 15 minutes straight.  Seriously, circles are that important. 

Now, to actually jump into the actual basic facial proportions of Helga:

Helga’s Head

  • The shape of Helga’s head is basically a circle.

Helga’s Eyes

  • The bottom of her eyes touch the horizontal midline along her face.

Helga's eyes

  • In a 3/4 view, Helga has a “skinny eye” and a “fat eye”. 

Helga's eyes

  • The width of the “skinny eye” is roughly 1/4 the width of her head…

Helga's eyes

  • …while the width of her “fat eye” is roughly 1/3 the width of her head.

Helga's eyes

  • The distance between her two eyes is roughly 1/8 the width of her head.

Helga's eyes

Helga’s Nose

  • Her nose is basically a modified circle.

Helga's nose

  • The width (and height) of her nose is 1/4 the width of her head.

Helga's nose

  • The starting point and ending point of her nose are along the same vertical plane.

Helga's nose

  • Her nose covers a little bit of (or at least touches) her “skinny eye”.

Helga's nose

Helga’s Mouth

  • The curve of her lip starts on the same horizontal plane as the ending point of her nose.

Helga's mouth

  • The extension of her lip from the general circle of Helga’s head is 1/4 the width of her head.

Helga's mouth

  • Her top teeth can extend as far as the outline of the general circle of Helga’s head.

Helga's mouth

Helga’s Ears

  • Helga’s ears are basically a circle with extensions.

Helga's ears

  • The top of her ear and bottom of her upper lip is along the same horizontal line.

Helga's ears

  • The length of her ear is 1/4 the width of her head.

Helga's ears

Helga’s Hair

  • In a 3/4 view, she has a short and long pigtail.

Helga's hair

  • Here are the general proportions of Helga’s pigtails relative to her head:

Helga's hair

  • The pigtail that is on the same side of her ear touches her ear.

Helga's hair

  • You should be able to draw a smooth curve connecting her two pigtails together.

Helga's hair

Expressing Emotion

  • Helga’s facial expressions are a result of a combination of her eyebrows, eyes, and mouth (and occasionally hair).  The best way to learn how to draw Helga’s emotions is to experiment with these combinations, study her expressions from HA! episodes, and see what facial experiments you get.

Angry Helga


A drawing I did of Helga angry from a scene in “Buses, bikes, and subways”.  You do not want to get in her way when she’s angry.

Lovey-dovey Helga

And another drawing I did of Helga in one of her lovey-dovey moods from a scene in “Arnold visits Arnie”. 

Hope these tips will help you to draw Helga better in 5th season style!  But remember, the best way to learn how to draw her is through practice, practice, practice!  And as always, if you have any additional drawing tips for Helga, I’d love to hear them.  😀



  1. Whoah, for the first time in my life I have drawn something similar to Helga.

    Little corrections: Helga’s nose is smaller than 1/4, it’s rather 1/6 of her head. And the tips of Helga’s pigtails are “outcurved”, not “incurved” or straight as you tend to draw them.

    • ^^;; Glad to hear that Hellerick.

      I checked out the proportions of Helga’s nose again, and I keep on measuring the width of her nose as something in between 0.2 to 0.25 the width of Helga’s head (head as in her general circle shape, not including the extension of her lip). So I’m gonna keep the proportion of her nose as is.

      And yeah, ^^;; her pigtails are curved, not straight or incurved. I keep on messing that up when drawing her, and I’m too lazy to fix ’em. Ah, well.

      If you can, I’d love to see your drawing of Helga! Gotta love fanart. XD

      – Tendra

  2. Tendra, hon. I dunno what have you been measuring, but YOU draw Helga’s nose smaller, and I like it. At first I’d drawn her nose as 1/4 of her head, it looked weird, than I changed it (and made quite a mess with it of course), and I liked the smaller version better.

    Well, probably we just have different idea of how, her nose should be fit into the circle.

    Or, maybe the size and the shape of her nose is one of the features that can be modified to show her mood. E.g. Helga-Cecile’s nose is very small (1/7-1/8) and perfectly smooth (not squarish is it usually is):

  3. Years ago I tried to draw Helga’s face over and over and over again then gave up. I searched everywhere for a tutorial and never found one, yet I did have the Arnold and Gerald tutorial from the Nick magazine I got years ago. But your Helga tutorial could not have come at a better time because I am once again in love with Hey Arnold! Thank you so much for this. Your site is great.

  4. I have made a similar tutorial based on Tendra’s research with some ideas of my own:

    (It’s a rough version so far, I’m gonna edit it later)

  5. Hey, cool! XD Thanks for letting me know. The tutorial is very neat and detailed, even the drawings are done digitally! Awesome.

    Thanks for updating the Wiki, Hellerick!

    – Tendra

  6. Thanks!

    To tell the truth it’s much easier for me to draw “digitally” than with a pencil… Well, I’m trying to draw “manually” lately (thanks to you), but it turns out so messy… If you’ll ever need to “digitalize” a picture, please ask me, I’ll be very glad to help.

    Now I’m trying my hand at Helga’s profile portrait (see: ). It’s in fact very similar to 3/4 view, the geometry is the same. But Helga’s front view is absolutely terrible, she looks like a horse. No wonder we don’t see her like that too often.


%d bloggers like this: