|My Favorite Ed Emberley Book|
When I was young I use to pick up Ed Emberley's books from the library. From these books I learned how to use simple shapes to create anything. In most learn to draw books I would would see something akin to this:
Drawing basic shapes will allow you to better lay out your page. If you start by drawing squares and circles it's much easier to erase than drawing a whole car, erasing it, and drawing that whole car smaller.
The drawing below is created from the image above. When I start drawing a portrait I'll start by drawing an egg shape for the whole head, lay out where the eyes, nose, mouth and ears should be (this is all represented by the grey lines). Then I go in and make sure that each of these features are in the right position before I start going into deeper detail (black lines). If you get the basic shapes correct, then it will be a lot easier to make a more symmetrical and well drawn illustration.
If you are at the library or bookstore be sure to pick up Ed Emberley's books! Jack Hamm "Drawing the Head and Figure" will go into this in much more detail about drawing the figure. In a day or two I'll talk a bit about gesture. Happy Drawing!