Loomis Method Issues - Advice?

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This topic contains 6 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by Polyvios Animations 5 months ago.

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  • #30093

    It may be the case that the only viable advice for this is "more practice", in which case, so be it. But I wanted to ask in case anyone had anything else to potentially help me out :)

    The past week or so I've been trying out the Loomis method for drawing heads/faces. For some reason I've been finding that I consistently draw the cranial mass too small in the beginning, and while everything else tends to pan out fine, I have to redraw that bit to enlarge it so that I've drawn something human instead of alien. I'm not really sure how it keeps happening. Here's an example from yesterday, where you can see my Loomis construction lines and then the final lines as well (which STILL has the cranium too small, alas):

    Any tips on what I could be doing throughout the process to cause this would be greatly appreciated!! Have a great day :)

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    I had this problem when I started to seriously learn about head construction but then became more and more accurate at getting the cranium size right just by practicing.

    Marco Bucci (art instructor) in his online course Understanding And Painting The Head, while showing a skull in profile view said this at one point :

    Here is a thing a lot of people get wrong : the cranium is MASSIVE, our brain has to fit here. A lot of people will cut off the cranium, and you get this odd rectangular head shape, it has no room for the brain.

    This very problem seems like a normal thing to occur when people start learning head construction, so as long as you are aware about this problem don’t sweat it and try to draw bigger craniums from now on to go against this habit.

    You also have to keep in mind that any general representation of the head (Loomis head, Asaro head etc.) do not fit perfectly on everyone’s head. In most cases, you’ll have to stretch or squash the proportions of the standardized head you’re using when drawing from reference.

    Hope this helped and if you have any questions I’ll try to answer :)


    If the Loomis method isn't working for you, you could also look at other methods! Art isn't a one-size-fits-all and I've had trouble with Loomis myself (though I do think learning it is good).

    I was sent this video a while back that I think is a good starting point her, but you could also look into others' processes for help (depending on your personal goals). Blocking in or studying the planes of the head can help some people, and I've seen a few artists use boxes as a baseline for their construction as well. You might also want to look into how Brooks Kim does things - I found their stuff a bit more accessible for me personally.

    You're also already aware of the problem you're having with Loomis, which is great! Some of your problem really might be just that you've only been at it for a week. Fixing the mistake by redrawing it is totally normal!


    I have problems with applying the Loomis method, too. My fix at the moment is realizing, that the centre of the initial circle is at the broom line, while the circumference has to extent all to the dome of the head. I find it easier to practice this from approximately front views, with the centre of the circle at the intersection of broom line and center line. The goal of the practice is purely to get used to drawing the initial circle big enough, so the cut-outs, etcetera make sense.

    My hope is, that getting used to the different size, then translates easier into finding the right size for other views.

    Generally I feel, like the Loomis method was expressively developed to draw from imagination. So, applying it to draw from life or to draw from another depiction is a secondary, different, and more taxing step.

    My best results for drawng from a depiction usually come, when I don't do the whole Loomis schpiel with circles, cut-outs, etcetera, but instead focus on distinct shapes. Having practiced the Loomis method is then helpful, as it gives me a working memory of measuring, plazing, and sizing the shapes, and reduces the risk of distorting the head or face.

    Strictly applying the Loomis method to a depiction is harder for me, and generally leads to worse results, but it is a valuable and necessary practice for me to improve my results when NOT strictly drawing by Loomis.

    I feel like to get it right, I need to practice three different steps:

    1.) Using Loomis to draw from imagination, to get the basic shape internalized

    2.) Projecting the internalized shape onto depictions to get a reality fix and scrutinize my understanding of the method.

    3.) Ignoring the conscious demands of the method, but relying on the subconscious support of it, when working on a piece for effect.

    I do best, when I keep cycling through all 3 methods in practice, not just focusing on step 2.


    The villpu method didn't click with me. so i found out about the rilley method and it helped a bit more. afterwards i just learned anatomy and skull structure of the head.


    Well, Strawberry, most strongest and greatest job on your face and expression construction drawing, using just the Reilly method. I love the sense of edges, spaces, and forms of that one. Yet, it looks too timidest in the organic drawing to me yet. How would you care to go for 17 minutes of 1 minute attitudes of expressions?

    As a result, your facial expression constructions from any angle will become the least stilted but the most bravest and therefore energetic in your delivery. And if you're still looking into all of the drawing practices on facial expressions, look into some drawing expressions from Action! Cartooning by Ben Caldwell, though Ben is still working on Manga Cartooning, but these fundamentals are worth it.

    Let's hope you've found these absolutely beneficial.

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