Learn How to Draw a Face with Attitude, How to Draw Eyes with Impact and How to Draw Lips with Structure
Depicting features is only the beginning. putting life into a heaD Drawing requires assimilating it with the rest of the boDy, capturing an attituDe—anD much more.
How to Draw Dynamic HeaDs
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 head on top of an otherwise nicely drawn figure. Too many artists, perhaps fearful of their subjects, treat the head as if it were nothing more than an inventory of features or an empty, blocklike shape, void of life, sometimes sitting straight and rigidly on its neck, contradicting the underlying gesture of the body and looking like a lifeless lollipop. This eons-old challenge of how to put more life and energy into drawings, paintings, and sculptures of the human head is easily answered once you get beyond the fear and the seeming complexity of the subject. I will outline many solutions throughout this article appropriate for both the beginner and advanced artist. Some of the cures will seem deceptively simple. Others will reach beyond the obvious, studying the head from all sides, including top and bottom. And just about all of them will somehow involve the overall figure, with the head serving as the crown of the magnificent machine that is the human body.
by D an Gheno
Friedrich Karl, Prince of Prussia
by adolf menzel, 1863, gouache over graphite, highlighted with white, 115⁄8 x 9. notice how, from behind, the nasolabial furrow obscures some of the nose and mouth and seems to unite optically with the cheekbone and rim of the eye. this connection helps to push the nose back and, along with several other overlapping shapes, reinforces the roundness 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 by interweave 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.
Perhaps the most powerful key to a stronger head is the most obvious one, which even advanced artists often miss in their obsession to get the features just right—that is, give your head attitude. Faces need to look somewhere; their eyes need intensity and aim. You have probably noticed how the eyes in some Old Master paintings and drawings often seem to follow you as you move around the room. This dynamic event occurs in the viewer’s mind, usually when the artist depicts the head in a three-quarter view with the eyes looking off to one side, as Leonardo most famously did in his Mona Lisa. In drawings such as Leonardo’s Study for the Angel in La Vierge aux Rochers, observe how the irises (the circular, colorful portion of the eyeball) seem to peer out of the corner of these eyes, gazing past the canvas or drawing toward the viewer. Remember, you can’t move irises around willy-nilly. The upper eyelid bulges above the iris, so every time you change the direction of your model’s gaze, you must also change the shape of the upper lid. If you draw the model looking off extremely to one side, you will find that the lower eyelid pulls up with it. The tilt of the head is equally crucial to achieving attitude in your figure drawings. It should somehow complement or contrast the gestural movement that flows above right study for the angel in through the body from the Madonna of the Rocks toes to the neck and, finally, by leonardo, silverpoint, and hopefully, into the head. 71⁄8 x 6¼. In Ingres' masterpiece of the eyes in some old master a portrait,...