Drawing faces

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  • 1.presentsDrawingfacesLearn How to Draw a Face with Attitude, How to Draw Eyes with Impact and How to Draw Lips with Structure

2. Drawing FacesHow to DrawDynamic HeadsDepicting features is only the beginning. Putting life intoa head drawing requires assimilating it with the rest ofthe body, capturing an attitudeand much more.by D an GhenoT here are many ways to keep your figure drawings lively, fresh, and dynamic. But there is one sure way to destroy an active and energetic drawing: by plopping a stiffly rendered, ham-fisted headon top of an otherwise nicely drawn figure. Toomany artists, perhaps fearful of their subjects,treat the head as if it were nothing more than aninventory of features or an empty, blocklike shape,void of life, sometimes sitting straight and rigidlyon its neck, contradicting the underlying gestureof the body and looking like a lifeless lollipop.This eons-old challenge of how to put morelife and energy into drawings, paintings, andsculptures of the human head is easily answeredonce you get beyond the fear and the seemingcomplexity of the subject. I will outline manysolutions throughout this article appropriate forboth the beginner and advanced artist. Some ofthe cures will seem deceptively simple. Otherswill reach beyond the obvious, studying the headfrom all sides, including top and bottom. And justabout all of them will somehow involve the overallfigure, with the head serving as the crown of themagnificent machine that is the human body.Friedrich Karl, Prince of Prussiaby Adolf Menzel, 1863, gouache over graphite, highlighted withwhite, 1158 x 9.Notice how, from behind, the nasolabial furrow obscures some ofthe nose and mouth and seems to unite optically with the cheekboneand rim of the eye. This connection helps to push the nose backand, along with several other overlapping shapes, reinforces theroundness of the underlying egg-shaped head structure.This content has been abridged from an original article written by Dan Gheno. This premium has been published by Interweave Press, 201 E. Fourth St., Loveland, CO 80537-5655; (970) 669-7672. Copyright 2012 byInterweave Press, a division of Aspire Media, all rights reserved. The contents of this publication may not be reproduced either in whole or in part without consent of the copyright owner.2 www.artistdaily.com 3. Drawing FacesAttitudePerhaps the most powerful key to a stronger head isthe most obvious one, which even advanced artistsoften miss in their obsession to get the features justrightthat is, give your head attitude. Faces need tolook somewhere; their eyes need intensity and aim. Youhave probably noticed how the eyes in some Old Masterpaintings and drawings often seem to follow you as youmove around the room. This dynamic event occurs inthe viewers mind, usually when the artist depicts thehead in a three-quarter view with the eyes looking off toone side, as Leonardo most famously did in his MonaLisa. In drawings such as Leonardos Study for the Angelin La Vierge aux Rochers, observe how the irises (the cir-cular, colorful portion of the eyeball) seem to peer out ofthe corner of these eyes, gazing past the canvas or draw-ing toward the viewer. Remember, you cant move irisesaround willy-nilly. The upper eyelid bulges above theiris, so every time you change the direction of your mod-els gaze, you must also change the shape of the upperlid. If you draw the model looking off extremely to oneside, you will find that the lower eyelid pulls up with it.The tilt of the head is equally crucial to achievingattitude in your figure drawings. It should somehowcomplement or contrast thegestural movement that flowsabove rightthrough the body from the Study for the Angel intoes to the neck and, finally,Madonna of the Rocksby Leonardo, silverpoint,and hopefully, into the head. 718 x 6.In Ingres masterpiece ofThe eyes in some Old Mastera portrait, Louis-Franoispaintings and drawings oftenBertin (not pictured) someseem to follow you as youmove around the room. Thispeople seem to lean forward dynamic event occurs in theimperiously, head lockedviewers mind, usually whenthe artist depicts the head in ainto their shoulders as theythree-quarter view with the eyesspeak to you. Others lean looking off to one side.back, their noses tilted up,rightand their irises barely peer- Drawing of a Maning past their lower lid. by Leonardo, pen-and-ink, 11x 8. Collection Royal Library,Pay close attention to body Windsor Castle, London, England.shapes and gesture, evenDescribing his diagram,when drawing a vignetted, Leonardo explained, The sideof the head on which the (light)seemingly isolated head. Yourays fall most directly will bedont want to draw a husky, the most highly lighted, andthose parts on which the raysmuscular man with a pencil- fall most aslant will be lessthin neck or a young childlighted. The light falls as a blowmight, since a blow which fallswith a fullbacks shoulders.perpendicularly falls with theLook at the model intensely.greatest force, and when it fallsobliquely, it is less forcible thanNotice how the neck leads the former in proportion to thefrom the shoulder into thewidth of the angle.3 www.artistdaily.com 4. Drawing Faces b c aabove leftto the head are numerous, and theyIts useful to draw numerous studiesDrawing of a Woman With Loop Earringby Dan Gheno, 2006, graphite with white chalkcan be quite evocative of an individuals of the featureslike Jusepe de Riberaon toned paper, 10 x 8. Collection the artist.character, psychology, and emotion. did in Study of Eyescataloguing andabove rightcommitting their basic constructionGetting a LikenessMy Father Posing for Facial Folds to memory. At the same time, try toby Dan Gheno, 2006, graphite, 12 x 9. be sensitive to the bilateral symmetryCollection the artist.It may seem like a waste of time wor- that underlies the face and its features.Facial folds occur at right angles to the direction rying about whether youve captured a Use guidelines to line up one side ofof the muscles underneath, very similar to atheater curtain being pulled across the stage bylikeness or not. Its unlikely the viewer the face with the other. But remembera horizontal cord. The zygomatic muscle runswill notice that something is missing.this very important caveat: As much asfrom the cheekbone to the corner of the mouthand, when contracted, creates dependableTrue, it will not matter in the end toyou may want them to, features do notcreases in the face, the most important being the viewer. But I feel its imperativeconform to a simplistic rule of abso-the jugal furrow (left of A) and the accessoryjugal furrow (B). Note how the shape of the to always give it a sincere try. Thelute symmetry. Look closely at any Oldlarge chewing muscle, called the masseter (C),pursuit of likeness keeps my concen-Master portrait. You will usually findbecomes more defined when the chin is pulled in.tration focused, it keeps the entirethat one eye is almost always a littledrawing process compelling, and, in bigger or a little farther from the nosehead. It doesnt matter if you are only the end, the struggle leads to a more than the other, one nostril a little taller,drawing a small snippet of the neck inactive-looking and vigorous drawing.one side of the mouth a bit lower thanfact, the shorter the line, the more crucial There is no doubt that the individualthe other. These artists use of subtlethe correct angle becomes. If the linefeatures and the distance between the asymmetry gives their subjects headsfragment angles outward or inward a features are essential in getting a like- and figures life and a sense of action,little too much, the error will becomeness and a psychologically animated as if the features are in motion. Thismagnified once you imagine the line head and figure. I explained several fea- asymmetry is vitally important fromextending outside of the image, inferring ture-measuring techniques in my first the likeness standpoint as well. Itsan implausible body type for the head.article for American Artist [Paintingbeen proven in clinical and psychologi-Body postures and their relationships Portraits] in the February 1993 issue. cal studies that when a photo is sliced4 www.artistdaily.com 5. Drawing Facesin half, with one side reversed and hair and full cheekbones at the top slid- Purge Yourpasted next to the other, the viewerfinds it difficult to recognize the sub-ing into a narrow jaw and smallish chinbelow? Or perhaps your subject has aPreconceptionsject within the new-found symmetry. wide, rectangular face with a broad jaw,After determining the global shape of No matter how enticing your sub- full cheeks, and a flat, closely croppedthe head, assessing the facial angle isjects features, the hard truth is that the hairdoor a tall, rectangular head, the next most important factor in get-ratio of the head shape and size to the narrow but angular from jaw to top of ting a likeness and keeping your headbody is much more crucial to captur-head. Maybe your models forms aredrawing lively. Forensic specialists fre-ing a likeness or creating a dynamicbuilt on soft, circular shapes. Whateverquently use this technique to identifyimpression. When looking at youryour subjects essential structure, decomposed remains, and 19th-cen-model, ask yourself what sort of geo- you can always distill it into a simple,tury phrenologists used it in a foolishmetric shape typifies his or her head.quickly identifiable shape in your mind attempt to catalogue racial intelligence.Does your model have a triangular headthat will guide you through the compli- You can discover the facial angle oftapering toward the bottom, with lots ofcated process of laying in the drawing. your subject by drawing a line from theear hole, or external auditory meatus,at the base of the skull to the bottomof the nasal aperture (Fig. B) and thencompare that line to one that runs fromthe base of the brow ridge, or glabel-lum, to the upper dental arch. Calledthe muzzle, this protrus