First faces session

Home Forums Critique First faces session

This topic contains 11 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by Icouldntthinkofaname 3 weeks ago.

  • Subscribe Favorite
  • #31444

    Hi, since i am having bad luck with poses i tried doing faces for the first time.

    Students get 33% off full memberships to Line of Action

    Support us to remove this


    Have you considered trying your hand at Reilly abstraction of the face? It's a very controlled step by step method, and I could imagine you enjoying that approach.


    I am sorry but after seeing some tutorials, that method is atrocious to follow. basically is subdividing on top of drawing circles on top of other subdivisions, and that is just the front position. There has to be a more intuitive way to draw a face that can be used for different proportions, right?


    Well, so far most tutorials I found about drawing heads in one way or another come down to learning to draw an abstraction of an idealized head, to get used to common proportions and placement of the features of the head.

    The most commonly used abstraction is from Andrew Loomis, the one from Frank Reilly I suggested adds a few extra features to determine mostly the cheeks and some features around the mouth. George W. Bridgman has an abstraction that is built up from squares and blocks instead of circles, which he generally prefers because they are easier to manipulate in perspective. Steve Huston's abstraction is based on triangles instead, and he emphasises dynamic more. Michael Hampton also has one, but I don't know a lot about it. John Asaro has made a map of the planes of the head, which is useful to construct how shadows fall in different lighting, and you can buy Asaro heads printed out to check for shadows while drawing.

    About how "atrocious" abstractions are... well, you draw them a few dozen times, until you no longer have to check the order of lines while doing it. While training that, you also get a good idea which proportions the artist of your choice feels important to measure while drawing. Then later, whether you go through the full hazzle of drawing the entire abstraction every time or not, you will profit from the muscle memory about those proportions.

    I have read a lot of your comments about being insecure about your drawings, and blaming yourself for not being able "to determine the correct simplification" for example. Well, these abstractions, at least in the first drawing from imagination stage actually deliver a whole lot of exercise, that you can do "objectively" right. It's a lot of work, sure, but you also get quite solid guard rails how to do it.

    Otherwise I would have recommended the more popular Loomis abstraction, as it is the simplest one to pick up. But being simple also means that you get earlier into artistic improvisation and having to make aesthetic judgments, which, from your comments so far, seem to be an area in which you generally don't feel so comfortable.

    OK, if you want no abstractions at all, there is this guy, Tony Swaby, on youtube who draws excellent portraits with charcoal. He describes his own method as observing shadow values, and he is quite outspoken about how he thinks exercising line art is an oppressive waste of time. He definitely has a pleasant voice to listen to, and a great choice of reference materials, and I spent quite some time just listening to him and drawing from his reference photos. You could do that as well, maybe his explanations fit your intuitions about drawing better than they did fit mine.

    I have seen some other portait artists which, like Swaby, have what I would consider a painterly approach to drawing, namely instead of developing the face from lines they start with the darkness values first and block out simplified forms. They typically work with paint brushes on a rather large canvas, and start with quite big brushes. I didn't look so much into them, just because I would have to rearrange my setup quite a bit to use those tools. Also I am a bit suspicious that those people might have forgotten a bit about their own beginnings, as they rarely mention proportions, but clearly have a quite keen sense about them, which in my experience does not come naturally to most beginners.

    I have no search term in mind to help you out finding them, but if you look for portait drawing videos a bunch on youtube, the algorithm will certainly bring up examples.

    There might be still other approaches to portrait drawing out there, these are just the one that I encountered so far.


    if having that process in mind means i can draw without needing it i'll swallow the bullet then. but first i wil have a lot of problems even folllowing the process, it will look like a mess and for my experience messes are not something i learn a lot from.


    I don't have constructive critisism, but the faces look good! Keep it up : )


    These look very solid actually! If the method you're using is frustrating you, why not try another method? What type of art style are you aiming for?


    I do not have an "aim" per say. I just make the faces the same way i do figure drawing. basically i symplify the face like a logo and i put the elements in the way that makes it the more dynamic. And also a tutorial on youtube that is overlaying my inner thoughts and i get lost in my process, so here is why after the first face the result is kinda shoty. I searched for other methods and there are none that have a more free flowing method. It is all a bunch of repetitions and measures that clog the canvas. I hate both the Loomis method and the Reilly one because they pretend i should draw like a geometer with all those planes and details that makes me wanna give up drawing entirely.


    How about you try making a video of your own drawing process of gesturing faces and expressions yourself?


    I genuinely have no idea on how to do it. I would try to take my private informations out of the recording.


    Maybe some of your problem is that you don't have an aim. Why are you drawing? What's your goal? Are you doing anything outside of studies?

    Also, I've similarly had trouble with Loomis. Someone sent me

    &pp=ygUcaSBkb250IHVzZSB0aGUgbG9vbWlzIG1ldGhvZA%3D%3D"> this video - it might help you.

    (Genuine question, not a jab at you).

    (I don't know what's up with the link, sorry!!)

Login or create an account to participate on the forums.