At first, when I skimmed the art of Hey Arnold!, I thought the characters would be pretty easy to draw.  So, as my first attempt, I decided to draw Arnold’s head without sketching and using any references for proportions.  I thought, “Okay, football shaped head, bushy hair, circles for eyes and ears, a semicircle for a nose, and your average baseball cap.  Shouldn’t be that hard, right?”.  When I drew Arnold, I ended up with this:


I got so discouraged that I avoided drawing Arnold for a week!  (Haha… my pen betrayed me… right, that’s it…)  So after that, I began to study Arnold’s facial proportions from 5th season episodes, to help me draw him better.  I ended up with these observations:

(By the way, these basic proportions best apply to a full front view.  They will change with the angles of Arnold’s head.)

The Shape of Arnold’s Head

  • The shape of Arnold’s head isn’t really football-shaped.  It’s more like a semicircle.


  • But, the bottom of his head is slightly curved.


  • His head has a height:width proportion of roughly 1:3.


Arnold’s Hair

  • His hair extends to a length that is about the height of his head.


Arnold’s Nose

  • His nose touches the vertical midline along his face.


  • The height of his nose is approximately 1/3 the height of his head


  • In addition to that, the width of his nose is approximately 1/8 the width of his head.


Arnold’s Eyes

  • The bottom of his eyes are touching the horizontal midline along his face.


  • About 5 eye lengths can fit along the bottom of his head.


  • The height of his eyes is about 1/2 the height of his face.


So, I hope these proportions will help you when you are drawing Arnold in 5th season style!  In case you were wondering, here’s a picture of one of my “after” attempts at drawing Arnold using these proportions:

Where's my dollar?

(The reference picture was a screenshot from the episode “Helga’s locket”.  I’m rather pleased with this drawing.  😀 )

If you have any other drawing tips for Arnold, I’d love to hear them!