A rule of thumb says the head (on the eyeline) is five
eye-lengths across. The outter two
eye-lengths are normally somewhat obscured by hair.
The cornors of the mouth (when its not smiling) often
fall in a line directly beneath the pupils of
the eyes. The neck of the athletic male is as wide as the jaw, while the adult female neck is often
To make your own charts, copy these proportions onto a
large piece of paper. Then fill in the
squares with your own versions of these heads, working freehand from the instructions provided
Try ten profile views one day, ten front views another,
giving yourself at least four days on each
view until you can draw the diagrams comfortably and without strain. Later you'll need only the
vertical and horizontal lines as corrective checks in case you get into trouble on a head.
|Children are not that different from adults. Just remember,
the younger the child, the lower the
eyeline. And the child's head is wider in relation to its length, giving the whole head a more round
appearance. As the child grows older, the eyes move up to the halfway eyeline, and the face (along
with the entire body) loses the baby fat, becoming less round and more elongated. Check this out
in the demo.
At the inner cornor of the eye opening, near the nose
and just over the tear duct, is a small pocket,
which is pink inside. This inner cornor of the eye is most often lower than the outter cornor.
The colored part of the eye is the iris. Shadowed by the
upper eyelid, it appears to be darker at the
top. It is often shaded like an empty bowl.
The pupil in the center of the eye is black. It's actually
an opening into the eyeball. The pupil
grows larger in dim light, allowing more light to be admitted; in very bright light the pupil
contracts to protect the retina. (the light-sensitive membrane linning the inner eyeball)
The eyes move together - looking up, down, left, or right.
And they always look wet and shiny
because they are always bathed in tears.
The eyebrow follows the bone forming the upper edge of the orbital cavity. Where the light hits
this bone, the brow appears lighter. This brow bone is called the superciliary arch.
The eyes are the very best indicators of mood, of emotion.
OBSERVING THE EYES: Begin your study of the eye by observing
your own features in a mirror.
That way you don't have to look for someone to pose, and you can study each feature as intently
as you like without embarrasing your sitter.
Find a place in a fairly good light where you can sit
or stand. You may want to use your easel for
this study. You'll also need a hand mirror for the profile views, unless you have a three-way
Move your head slowely to one side, then the other, and
notice how the shape of the eye opening
changes. Now, move your head up and back so you're looking down your nose at the mirror. See
how much smaller the eyes look?
Scrutinizing your eyes this closely you may find that
one is larger, or higher, or has a droopier
eyelid. This is quite normal - don't be alarmed. Not one face in a million is perfectly symmetrical.
Besides its what makes you, you. Don't generalize the forms you see, it takes away character and
personality from your portrait.
I know that this is an odd place to leave you for a week
but it is necessary that you do an in-depth
study of the things we have talked about. Next week we will move on to drawing the eyes.
You may wonder why you will be asked, over and over again,
to study your own face in a mirror. I
have the best of reasons. The mirror studies that will follow the description of each feature will
help you to become more observant. A fine portrait painter is sensitive to the most infinitesimal
changes in shape and aspect of the facial features. The portrait you paint can only record what
you've seen. Seeing is even more important than understanding color or knowing how to handle
the brush. My most important obligation in these lessons is to help you to learn to see.