Don’t pay any attention to the critics. Don’t even ignore them

Part One: Men’s Heads

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Part One: Men’s Heads

Let us begin by establishing our common objective. You may be interested in drawing as a hobby. You may be an art student attending drawing classes. You may be a young professional, out of school, striving to better your work so that it will bring in more income. Perhaps you studied art many years ago and now have the time and incentive to take it up again. Perhaps you are well established in the field of commercial art, where competition is formidable, and are looking for something that will help you hold your place and, if possible, keep you moving forward. Whichever category you are in, this book will be helpful to you, because it provides practical knowledge of the techniques of drawing heads, both for the complete beginner and to help the more advanced artist in those most frustrating moments when the head he is drawing seems to refuse to do his work justice.

There must lie a genuine basic motive behind any genuine effort. Ask yourself quite honestly, “Why do I really want to draw heads and draw them well?” Is it for the satisfaction of personal accomplishment? Does it mean enough to you to give up time from other things in order to learn? Do you hope someday to sell your work and make it your means of livelihood? Would you like to draw portraits, girls’ heads for calendars, illustrations for magazine stories, the people in advertisements? Do you want to improve your drawing of heads to help sell your work? Is drawing a form of relaxation to you, helping to relieve tension and clear your mind of worries and other problems? Search quietly and thoroughly for this basic motive, because if it is powerful enough, it will give your efforts the strength to withstand discouragement, disappointment, disillusionment, or even seeming failure.

May I add one suggestion? Whatever your motive, try not to be impatient. Impatience has probably been a bigger stumbling block in the way of real ability than anything else. Doing anything well, I’m sure, means hurdling obstacles of one kind or another most of the way to the goal. Skill is the ability to overcome obstacles, the first of which is usually lack of knowledge about the thing we wish to do. It is the same in anything we attempt. Skill is a result of trying again and again, applying our ability and proving our knowledge as we gain it. Let us get used to throwing away the unsuccessful effort and doing the job over. Let us consider obstacles as something to lie expected in any endeavor; then they won’t seem quite so insurmountable or so defeating.

Our procedure will be a little different from that of the usual textbook. In general, textbooks seem to confine the material solely to problem and solution, or to technical analysis. That, in my own belief, is one of the reasons why textbooks are so difficult to read and digest. Every concentrated creative effort involves a personality, since skill is a personal matter. Since we are dealing not with organic material like nuts and bolts, but with human qualities like hope and ambition, faith or discouragement, we must throw out the textbook formulas and consider personal achievement as the basic element of our planning. An instructor would not be very helpful if he gave his students only the words of a textbook, all cold hard fact, without feeling, without praise or personal encouragement. I cannot participate in all your personal problems, but I can certainly remember my own, and assume that yours will not be greatly different. Therefore this book anticipates the solution of these problems even before you meet them. I believe that is the only way to handle this type of subject effectively.

There is an element of joy in doing what you have proved to yourself to be right. It is my job here to give you the working materials with which to make your own effort successful rather than to show that anyone can succeed. Success comes only with personal effort, aided by whatever knowledge the individual can apply along with the effort. If this were not true, we would be able to do anything in the world simply by reading books. We all know this is not true. There are books on almost any subject. Their value depends upon the amount of knowledge they contribute and on how well it is absorbed and put into practice.

To draw heads well, the artist must detach his mind from the sitter’s emotional qualities and develop an objective viewpoint. Otherwise he could go on drawing the same head forever, almost each moment noting a subtle change of expression, or a different mood in the subject. One face can vary in a thousand ways, and a drawing must show the effect of a single instant. Let him think of the head as only so much form in space, like a piece of still life rather than as an ever-changing personality.

To the beginner there is a certain advantage in drawing from a cast, or from a photograph, for at least the subject is not moving and he can regard it objectively. It is logical that our book begin purely from an objective approach with a form most like the average head, with average features and average spacings. Individual characteristics are much too complicated until we are able to tie them into a basic structure, one that is reasonably sound and accurate. Let us fix in our minds that the skull itself is the structure and all the rest merely trimmings.

Anatomy and construction can appear dull, but not to the builder. It might be dull to learn how to use a saw and hammer, but not when you are making a building of your own. It may be hard to think of the head as a mechanism. But if you were inventing a mechanism, it would never lack interest. Just realize that the head must be a good mechanism in order to be a fine head, and you will draw it with as much interest
as you would have in putting a part into a motor which you wanted to give a good performance.

It is evident, then, that we need to start with a basic shape that is as nearly like the skull as we can get it. Looking at the cranium, we see it most nearly like a ball, flattened at the sides and somewhat fuller in the back than the front. The bones of the face, including the eyc-sockets, the nose, the upper and lower jaw, are all fastened to the front of this ball. Our first concern is to be able to construct the ball and the facial plane so that they operate as one unit which may be tipped or turned in any manner. It is of utmost importance that we construct the head in its complete and solid form, rather than just the visible portion of it. Naturally we cannot see more than half the head at any time. From the standpoint of construction, the half we cannot see is just as important as the visible half.

If you look at Plate 1, you will note that I have treated the ball as if the under half were transparent so that the construction of the whole ball is made evident. In this way the drawing on the visible side of the head can be made to appear to go all the way round, so that the area we cannot see can be imagined as a duplicate of what we do see. An old instructor of mine once said. “Be able to draw the unseen ear,” which, at the time, puzzled me no end. I later realized what he meant. A head is not drawn until you can feel the unseen side.

It must be obvious from the preceding that it is impossible to draw the head correctly by starting with an eye or nose, oblivious of the skull and the placement of features within it. One might as easily try to draw a car by starting with the steering wheel. In all drawing no part can be as important as the whole, and the whole is always a fitting together of proportionate parts. We can always subdivide the whole into its parts, instead of guessing at the parts, hoping they will go together in the proper proportions. For example, it is easier to know that the forehead is one-third of the face, and what its position is on the skull, than to build the skull from the forehead. Perhaps we have always thought of the head so much in terms of belonging to a definite individual that we have never considered it in a mechanical sense. It perhaps never occurs to us that a smile is a mechanical principle in action, as well as evidence of a beaming personality. Actually the mechanics involved in a smile are the same as those used in a drawstring on a curtain. The string is attached to something fixed at one end, and to the material at the other. Pulling the string buckles the material. The check plumps out in the same way. The working of the jaw is like a hinge or a derrick, but the hinge is of the ball-and-socket type. The eyes roll in their sockets like a ball bearing held in place. The eyelids and the lips are like slits in a rubber ball, which naturally close except when they are pulled apart. There is a mechanical principle beneath every expression put into action by the brain. Underlying the flesh of the face are muscles which are capable of expansion and contraction, just like all the other muscles of the body. We discuss this interesting material in more detail later.

We start drawing the head by establishing points on the ball and on the facial plane. Both the ball and the facial plane must be subdivided in order to establish those points. No matter how much you draw, how skilled you get to be, how well trained your eye becomes, you will always have to begin by building the head correctly, just as a carpenter, no matter how long he has worked, always measures a board before he cuts it. Construction of the face and head depends upon establishing the points of measurement. Any other way is bound to be guesswork, which is a gamble any way you take it. For the one time you guess right, there are many inevitable mistakes.

The most important point in the head from which to build the construction of the face is the point, immediately above the bridge of the nose, between the brows. This point remains always fixed and is indicated by the vertical line of the nose and the crossline of the brows. On the ball this is the junction of the “equator” and “the prime meridian,” the two lines that cut the ball in half vertically and horizontally. All measurement spring from this point. About half-way up from the point to the top center of the head we get the hairline, and have therefore spaced off the forehead. Dropping down an equal distance below the crosspoint, we get the length of the nose, since the distance from the tip of the nose to the brows is. on an average, equal to the height of the forehead. Measuring the same distance down, we get the bottom of the chin, for the distance from the bottom of the chin to the base of the nose equals the space from there to the brows, and from that point to the hairline. So it’s one, two, three spaces, all equal, down the middle line of the face. See Plates 3 and 4. I suggest you take paper and pencil and start drawing these heads, tipping them in every possible direction. This can well be your first real period of study. What you do now will affect everything you do from here on. Plate 4 will give you an idea of how to place the features properly. The placement is more important than the drawing of the features themselves. At this stage it is not too important that the details of the features be correct. Get them to fall within the construction lines, so that the two sides of the face seem to match, whatever the viewpoint.

The next time you work with this book, turn to Plate 5, which is a simplified statement of the bone structure. No one detail of the bone structure is of great importance, but its total shape is of paramount importance. Within the shape we must locate the eye-sockets, spacing them carefully on either side of the middle line. We locate the two cheekbones opposite each other, and the bridge of the nose, which must lie on the middle line at the top and extend out from the middle line at the bottom. We locate the corner of the jaw and bring the jaw line down to the chin. Every head must be constructed so that all the features balance on the middle line. Plate 6 gives you more of the actual appearance and placement of the bones. Note how in these drawings you are aware of the construction all around the head. I personally try to get the feeling that these are not outlines, but the edges of solid forms that I could slide my hand around. Do you feel as if you could pick up these heads with your two hands and that you would find them just as solid in back as in front? That is what we are working for just now.

Plate 7 shows the action of the head on its pivot point at the top of the spine and at the base of the skull. We must remember that this pivot is well inside the roundness of the neck and deep under the skull. It does not have a hinge action but a rotating action from a point a little back of the center line of the neck. So when the head is tipped backward the neck is squeezed and bulges somewhat, forming a crease at the base of the skull. When the head is tipped forward, the larynx or Adam’s apple is dropped down and hides itself within the neck. In the lateral movements there is a strong play of the long muscles which attach to the skull behind the ears and down in front to the breastbone between the collarbones. At the back are the two strong muscles which attach to the base of the skull to pull the head backward. To get a head to sit properly on the neck requires some knowledge of anatomy, which is discussed later.

Some artists like to think of the head as being built of pieces which will fit together and fall into place to give the understructure of the head. See Plate 8. This is especially helpful in suggesting the third dimension, that of thickness. in your drawing. Much too often the face is drawn as something flat. We must consider the roundness of the muzzle—the two jaws as they come together. Because it is lost in the fleshiness of the face, we may forget the sharp curve of the teeth behind the lips. This is even more pronounced in animals, to which a sharp deep bite may make the difference between life and death. Think of the front teeth as choppers and the back teeth as grinders. The fangs, or what we call eyeteeth in human beings, are what an animal uses to hang on with, or to slash and tear. To impress upon yourself what the roundness of this area really is like, take a bite out of a piece of bread and study it. You will probably never draw lips flatly again. We must also remember that the eyes are round, though most of the time we see them drawn flatly, like a slit in a piece of paper. The eyes, nose, mouth, and chin all have this three-dimensional quality, which cannot be sacrificed without losing the solidity of the whole head.

Plate 1

Plate 1. The basic shape is a flattened ball

The cranium is more like a ball than anything else. To represent the ball as a solid sphere, we must establish an axis, like the nail through the ball at the top. Through the centers established by the axis, we can divide the ball into quarters and again at the equator. Now if we were to slice off a fairly thin slice on each side, we will have produced a basic shape that very closely matches the cranium. The “equator” becomes the brow line. One of the lines through the axis becomes the middle line of the face. About halfway up from the brow line to the axis, we establish the hairline, or the top of the face. We drop the middle line straight down off the ball. On this we mark off two points about equal to the space of the forehead, or from brow line to hairline. This gives us the length of the nose, and below that the bottom of the chin. We can now draw the plane of the face by drawing in the jaw line, which connects about halfway around the ball on each side. The ears attach along the halfway line (up and down) at a distance about equal to the space of from the brows to the bottom of the nose. The ball can be tipped in any direction.

Plate 2

Plate 2. The all-important cross on the ball

The “cross,” or the point (where the brow line crosses the middle line of the face is the key point of the construction of the whole head. It determines the position of the facial plane on the ball, or the angle from which we see the face. It is easily spotted on the model or copy. By continuing the line up and down, we establish the middle line of the whole head. We draw the two sides of the face and head from this line. By continuing the brow line around the head we can locate the ears.

Plate 3

Plate 3. The cross and the middle line determine the pose

Get out your pencil and pad.

It is most important to begin at once to practice setting up the ball and facial plane. Do not worry too much now about the features. This is simply construction, which you will probably use for the rest of your life. Establish the cross. Try to think of the construction all around the head, so that the jaws attach halfway around on each side. Remember that the eyes and cheekbones are below the brow line. The ears are about parallel with the lines of the brows and that of the nose. The cross almost suggests the face below. With this approach we can start drawing the whole head in any pose.

Plate 4

Plate 4. Establishing the middle line

Start placing the features carefully.

If you have worked out the ball and plane and its divisions you will not have too much trouble in placing the features. However, you should realize that a feature will never fit on a head until it is placed correctly and in line with the construction lines of the whole head. Every artist must be prepared for a certain amount of struggle with construction, so do not allow yourself to get discouraged. Every head anyone draws depends on construction, just as much as every building, every car, every other three-dimensional object does. That is what the artist’s job really is in learning how to construct things in three dimensions on a two-dimensional surface. We have to think of each thing we draw in its entirety and see how its dimensions appear to us from our particular viewpoint. Representation in three dimensions calls for knowledge and study. But such knowledge is no more difficult than that required for any other field. No matter how great your talent, talent has to work with knowledge to do anything well. When the search for particular knowledge becomes pleasant as well, half the battle is won. Construction need not worry you; it comes with practice.


Open page How to Draw the Head from any Angle

Plate 5

Plate 5. Simplified bone structure

At this point it will help a great deal in constructing the head to have a fairly clear idea of the bone structure. Though we do not see the bones in detail, we must think of them as the framework of the head. All the division points of the head are related to the bones, not to the flesh. The reason we chose the ball and plane as an approach now becomes apparent, for our approach is the skull itself, simplified and made understandable.

Plate 6

Plate 6. The bony parts within the construction

Here we look at the bones more closely, realizing that, with the exception of the checks, all the flesh of the head lies over bone and is influenced by the shape of the bone. This simplifies our problem considerably, for except for the jaw the bones of the skull are all in a fixed position and move only as the whole head moves. Only the flesh around the eyes, the cheeks, and the mouth are capable of separate movement.

Plate 7

Plate 7. Action of the head on the neck

Open the Anatomy-page.

Quick guide for the Zygote Body


  • Click+drag with the mouse to rotate, scroll to zoom.
  • Or use the buttons in the upper left. The Home button resets the view.
  • Or use the arrow keys and Page Up / Page Down. The Home key resets the view.


  • Use the opacity slider on the left to reveal layers.
  • Click on the toggle below the slider to control layers individually.


  • Use the searchbox at the upper right to search, or click on entities to select them.
  • Click on the background or on a label to undo selection.
  • Ctrl+click on entities or labels to hide entities. (Cmd+click on mac.)
  • Shift+click on entities or labels (or click on the ‘pin’ icon in a label) to pin an entity. This will keep it selected while you select more.
  • Some entities can be expanded by clicking on the ‘plus’ on a label.


  • Use the model button at the top of the slider to switch models (if others available).

Plate 8

Plate 8. Building the head out of pieces

If we think of the head as made up of separate pieces fitted together, we find the pieces shaped and put together as they appear in the drawings in the top row. Note the rounded piece which would contain the lips. We refer to this part of the skull as the “muzzle.” In drawing the mouth we must make it fit around the curve of the upper and lower jaws and the front teeth. Too often the mouth is drawn as if it were flat against a flat surface. In the bottom row the three drawings at the left show the lips and the structure under them. The eye must also lie in its socket, as shown at the right. The eyelids operate much like the lips in closing over a rounded surface.

ASARO model 1



ASARO model 2



ASARO model 3



ASARO model 4


We began by considering the head as round. This is logical, because it is much more round than square. However, one of the later discoveries in art was the fact that incessant roundness can become almost boring, and that a combination of roundness with squareness can produce a vigor of execution which many of the old masters lacked. The effect of roundness tends toward the “slickness” so frowned upon by modem artists and critics. Although the roundness exists, as photographs show, this type of rendition never seems to have the vigor of a drawing or painting in which the planes are stressed. For this reason a photograph of a head can never hope to compete with a good drawing as far as vitality of execution is concerned. It seems to me that the ideal lies somewhere between the two extremes.

A drawing that is too square can look as if it were chiseled out of wood or stone, with more hardness than the subject warrants. On the other hand, a drawing that is too round may have so much sweetness and smoothness that it seems to have no structure at all beneath the surface; everything is polished and shiny. Of the two, I prefer too much character to too little. Artists have found that by squaring the planes, softening them only enough to relieve their broken-stone effect, they achieve solidity and vitality without going to extremes. It also has been discovered that flattened planes tend to merge into an effect of mere rotmdness at a distance. When you inspect a projection on a large screen from close up, it is surprising how flat the image is. However, if you step back, this flatness disappears and the full roundncss seems to take over. The truth is that the halftones which model a surface are really much more delicate than they appear to be, and this truth has been a boon to painters.

For the time being, however, let us draw the planes as we feel they would really lie on the form. Through these planes we can interpret the true solidity as in no other way. It is better to learn to turn the form in its true structure than to omit the turning entirely so it may appear flat and without form. Remember that in a drawing the planes may be stressed considerably more than they can be in a painting, since we are dealing with fewer conflicting values. Just now we are not concerned with values, or “shading,” as it is often called by the layman. We simply want to know what planes will give the basic form the general shape of the face and head. In other words, we want to get out of the round into more blocky forms, for this blockiness gives much more character, especially to men’s heads. Turn to Plate 9. I suggest that you study this page carefully in order to fix these planes in your memory. They are like chords from which you build music; they are basic, and almost any head can be built on them.

After you have memorized these planes, try tilting the head and incorporating the visible planes, as shown in Plate 10. From these planes you can go on to perspective, as demonstrated in Plate 11. When you have mastered the construction of the ball and planes of the face, learned to use correct spacing and construction lines, and have assembled the planes, you have come a long way toward good drawing of heads. You should now be able to spot many of the difficulties that arise, and make the corrections in your basic drawing. Many a portrait has been started, only for the artist to discover after days of work that the basic construction is at fault. Something must be moved—an eye, the nose, or the mouth—and a likeness or the desired expression simply refuses to come about. A very good way of studying construction is to draw the construction lines on a clipping of someone else’s picture of a head, so that you can sec the exact placement of all parts. Once you understand the construction yourself, it becomes woefully apparent to you when the other fellow does not. Some very clever artists do not really know how to construct correctly, and they spend many hours of added difficulty as a result. No “knack” of drawing heads can compete with sound knowledge.

In Plates 12 to 16, I have planned a little fun for you. We start taking some liberties with the basic ball and planes. You will do this better without copy. We do some experimenting with types, as I promised early in the book. To produce different types we can vary the ideal or average measurements. The three divisions of the middle line of the face can be made unequal, or exaggerated as you wish. Then we can vary the shape of the cranium and bony understructure. I suggest that you play with expressions and characterizations. It is interesting and sometimes amazing what you can produce in the way of characters by variation in the spacing and basic shapes. You hardly know before finishing what type you will end up with. On the other hand, you can actually plan a given type and come very close to achieving the result you want. You will find yourself drawing heads that are most convincing, that have even a professional look.

I suggest you try beards, mustaches, high or low, thin or heavy eyebrows, big noses, little noses, jutting chins, receding chins, narrow heads, wide heads, flaring jaws, and what not. Have some-real fun while you are at it. You may or may not be interested in cartooning, but it is fun to draw characters, and you will find that you can do better than you might have thought possible. Watch the perspective and construction as carefully as you would in drawing any head, but exaggerate all you can. A good way to experiment is to jot down beforehand a little description of the character you wish to draw, then try to draw the head you have described. Next, ask someone else to give you a description of a character. Try that. Such practice means that you can, at an early stage of your knowledge, begin to create, as you would if you were an illustrator. Stick fairly close to outline heads just now, but try to create the type you want.

As an example, your description might be something like this: “John is big and raw-boned. His eyes are deepset under shaggy brows. There are hollows under his cheekbones. He has a big nose, heavy jaw and chin. His hair, though thin on top. is bushy around his ears and the back of his head. His eyes are small, dark, and beady.” Now try to draw John with the knowledge at your present command.

Plate 9

Plate 9. Basic and secondary planes of the head

The planes of the head should be memorized, for through them we have a foundation for rendering the head in light and shadow. Begin with the basic planes (top, left), and study them until they are fixed in vour mind. Then take up the secondary planes. From these sets of planes almost any head can be built. The surface varies with the individual character, but with the planes shown here you can produce a well-proportioned, manly head.

ASARO-planes from Picasa

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Plate 10

Plate 10. Tilting the head

Planes help us to maintain construction throughout the face and head, within the construction lines or divisions of the basic ball and plane. The muzzle becomes easier to draw in all sorts of tilted positions. The slant of the cheeks and the rounded rectangle of the forehead fall into place within the three divisions of the face. By thus representing the head in block form, we determine the angles throughout the head. This is our first step toward the perspective of the head.

Plate 11

Plate 11. Perspective in drawing the head

The handling of perspective marks the difference between the amateur and the professional. Every object drawn has to have an eye level or horizon, felt if not actually represented. On the left we see the planes of the head as seen from above or below the eye level. If a head were as big as a building it would be affected by perspective in the same way as a building is.

Open page Linear and Aerial Perspective

Plate 12

Plate 12. Variety in spacing creates types

In order to create differences in type and character, we may decide not to follow the basic measurements or divisions too meticulously. By varying the proportions of the three divisions of the face, we come up with a good deal of variety in the results. There are thousands of possible combinations. It is fun to experiment with them.

Plate 13

Plate 13. Always build on the middle line

Always remember when drawing a head to balance the forms on both sides of the middle line. The bony parts stay fixed, and the expression fits in between. All the jaw can do is open and close. The expression lies in the eyes, cheeks, and mouth, with some wrinkling of the forehead and around the eyes. What we do on one side, we must do on the other.

Plate 14

Plate 14. Creating any desired type

There is no reason why you can’t take all the liberties you wish with the ball and plane. The variety of types mentioned in the early part of the book are drawn simply by building an understructure that is wide, square, long, narrow, or anything you wish. You have the basis of construction, so now just try some variations.

Plate 15

Plate 15. Types are built by varying the ball and the plane

Look about among the people you know and those you see around you. Study them with a new understanding. See the combinations created by nature. Look from hairline to brow, then at the middle area from brow to bottom of nose, and finally to the bottom of the chin. Look down the middle line of a face; study what you sec on each side.

Plate 16

Plate 16. Indicating character

Once you know how the lines of construction are set up in a head, you can quickly analyze faces and skulls. Always look first for the bony shapes, and the location of the features. Then look for the flesh formations in the cheeks, around the mouth, and around the eyes. Such formations can be easily indicated. See if the cheekbones arc prominent and accented by shadow shapes under them. Look at the nose and the formation of the nostrils, the lips, and the creases between the lips and checks. Follow the shapes down into the chin and along the jaw line. These general characteristics, along with the whole shape of the head, are more important than a photographic delineation of each square inch of surface. Older people are more interesting than the young for this sort of study, since the characteristics have had a chance to develop.

Drawing by J. Singer Sargent


Rhythm in drawing is something you feel. Rhythm must be closely associated with design, and every head has design. There is a related flow of line, one line working with or opposed to another. Rhythm is freedom in drawing, freedom to express shapes, not meticulously, but in harmony. Rhythm is the hand working with the brain more than with the eye, the feel of the thing rather than the look of it. In drawing, rhythm comes with practice just as it does with a golf club. No one can tell you how to acquire it, but as you become conscious of it, you begin to recognize it when it is there.

To try to describe rhythm in drawing let us say that the artist is feeling the simplified shape of the whole thing as he draws every part of it. You see his hands swinging over the paper before the pencil goes down. He feels the stroke before he makes it. Rhythm need not always be curves. Curves may oppose blockiness. Rhythm might be an accent where it will do most good. It is more often the suggestion of the form rather than the closely scrutinized detail of the form. Here again the artist leaves the camera far behind, for the camera must record detailed fact, and only when rhythm is set up before it can it catch this elusive quality. The onlooker senses rhythm in your work even if he cannot consciously define it. You sense rhythm in some handwriting, while other specimens are cramped, jerky, and scrawly.

Some people have natural rhythm; others must strive to acquire it. Take the pencil in the palm of your hand between the thumb and first finger rather than holding it as you would to write between tight, cramped fingers. Swing it over your paper, using your wrist and arm and keeping your fingers still. That is the way to draw a rhythmic line. You can train your hand to draw, instead of using the fingers. Movement becomcs associated with the whole arm rather than with the fingertips. Draw things large for a while. George Brigman, the famous anatomy teacher, used to illustrate his lectures by drawing with a crayon on the end of a four-foot stick. Some of his anatomy drawings were many times larger than life, and they were beautiful.

Rhythm is all about us. but we must train ourselves to see and recognize it. It might be described as the longest line, straight or curved, that you can make before the direction of the edge changes. A long direct line is more expressive than a myriad of little whiskery lines. An arrow in flight is a perfect example of rhythm. The movement of water or waves is another. The arc of a baseball in the air, the way a fielder drops his hands in the line of flight as he catches the ball, the movement of the forms in a woman’s hair—all have rhythm. We might call it the uninterrupted flow of line which seems to reflect the movement of the artist’s hand.

I cannot tell you how to acquire it, but I do believe you can. Awkwardness comes from lack of training; rhythm from trained organization, or coordination, perhaps both—knowledge and ability working together. Rhythm is one thing no camera or projector can ever give you. You feel it and strive to express it, or you don’t. Swing that pencil over your paper just to draw a free line. Nobody ever does it too well the first time he tries.

Plate 17

Plate 17. Rhythmic lines in the head

It is interesting to search for the rhythmic lines in faces. You will find rounded or curved lines in opposition to angular and blocky lines. The blocky treatment helps to get away from the tight photographic approach. Then the head looks drawn, not traced. There is charm in curves but square forms have weight and solidity. You can produce happy results by combining the two instead of merely copying every waver of every edge in exact outline. In this way you set a feeling of design, and at the same time render solid form.


The Standard Head

Heads will naturally vary in measurement and proportion. However, any artist will find it most practical to carry in his mind as basic measurements a scale of proportions, built on averages and simplified. The front view of the head fits quite well into a rectangle that is three units of measurement wide, and three and a half deep. This scale leaves a little space beyond the ears on each side. The half measurements of these units locate the eyes and nose and help in placing the mouth, and also put the line of the eyes at the halfway division of the whole head from top to bottom, as it should be and as it averages out in a large percentage of actual faces. This method of unit measurement locates the hairline and the three front divisions of the face. The side view of the head fits exactly into a square three and one-half units in each direction. You can establish your own unit; it is the proportions that are important.

These proportions, shown in Plate 18, have been worked out after a great deal of research and are offered to meet the need for a simple and practical scale that is readily usable. This scale fits perfectly with the ball-and-plane approach.

Plate 18

Plate 18. Proportions of the male head

The standard proportions for a man’s head are worked out here for the front view and the side view. The scale may easily be memorized. The head is three and one-half (optional) units high, nearly three units wide (to include the ears), and three and one-half units from tip of nose to the back of the head. The three units divide the face into forehead, nose, and jaw. Ears, nose to brow, lips and chin arc each one unit. So you may start in this way to draw a head in any size you wish, using your own unit of measurement.

Plate 19

Plate 19. Drawing the head in units

Here you see how the scale works out in practice. The circle represents the ball, and the width is the width of the head, including the ears. We find that the face is about two units wide and that the eyes fall between the middle halves or at the quarter points of the two units (see upper right). This coincides with the divisions of the ball and plane with which you are already familiar.

Drawing by da Vinci

Muscles of the Head and Face

I do not see any material advantage to the artist in knowing the names of all the muscles and bones of the head, but it is of great importance to him to know where they are. where they attach, and what they do. It is important to know that some muscles are attached directly to bone at both ends, while others are attached to bone at one end and to other bands of muscles at the other. The former have the function of moving the bony structure. The latter move the flesh. Plate 20 shows the muscles and how they arc connected.

The most important muscle of the head is the powerful muscle that closes the jaw. You feel it at the corner of the jaw. just below and in front of the ear. Circus acrobats have been known to dangle the weight of the whole body at the end of a rope by biting a bit of hard rubber attached to the rope end. The jaw is also attached to a muscle that spreads out over the side of the cranium. These two muscles give the power to crunch and grind food in the mouth.

A very marvelous mechanical principle functions in the eyes and mouth. Both are slits in a circular sheet of muscle. If you took half of a hollow rubber ball and cut a slit in it. without stress on the rubber, the slit would close itself. Under tension you could easily pull the slit open. The dropping of the weight of the jaw opens the mouth. To open the mouth wide is a conscious effort. To keep the mouth closed really requires very little effort—a piece of knowledge that can be used to great advantage at times.

Very important are the little ribbon-like muscles which open the lips laterally, pulling at the comers of the mouth. These are the “smile muscles.” They are the ones that puff the cheeks by contracting within the flesh. When they pull diagonally upward and a smile flashes, great things may happen, far beyond mere mechanics. Remember these as the “happy muscles.” They attach at the cheekbones and run diagonally down the checks to the muscles around the lips.

Note the muscles which run down the side of the nose past the corners of the mouth to the chin. These are the “unhappy muscles.” Being attached to the bone around the nose at one end and to the jaw at the other, they can pull the lips upward in a snarl or downward in a leer. Working from both ends, they expose the teeth the way an animal shows its fangs. These muscles are operating from both ends when you brush your teeth. They seem to pull downward when you are lifting a heavy weight, or in extreme muscular effort of the body, like running. They make round corners at the mouth, where in the smile the corners are pulled out and upward. Try to associate the happy and the unhappy muscles, for they are the basis of most facial expressions. The wrinkles at the corners of the eyes are simply caused by the flesh of the checks’ buckling by the upward pull of the “happy muscles” below the cheekbones. The bulging of the cheeks also causes the crease or fold of flesh under the eyes in a smile. It is more pronounced in some faces than others. As the “happy muscles” pull at each side in the smile, the nostrils may flare a little and become more evident, which is one of the things that help to make a face smile.

The dimple or downward line occurring in the lower part of the smiling cheek is caused by the little open space between the “unhappy muscle” and the jaw muscle. In old age this depression becomes very evident. In the young face it is a dimple.

The rest of the face muscles are simply what we may call “wrinkle muscles.” There’s one at the inside corner of the brows near the nose. This one lifts the corner of the eyebrow as in worry or in an expression of pleading. The “unhappy muscle” pulls down the inside comer of the brow in a frown. The two “wrinkle muscles” above the brows also wrinkle the forehead, since they are contracting beneath the flesh, but are also attached to the flesh.

There are two small “wrinkle muscles” at the point of the chin. The depression between these muscles may account for a dimple in the middle of the chin. They also cause the chin to buckle into little bumps in some expressions.

Plate 20

Plate 20. Anatomy of the head

When you are studying the muscles of the face, get in front of a mirror and give them a good working over. From that and from these drawings you will learn a great deal about expression and the why of it.

Give some consideration to the muscles of the neck, for you usually have to draw a head on a neck. The two diagonally placed muscles that turn the head are attached to the skull just behind the ears at the top. and to the breastbone, which lies between the two collarbones, at the bottom. Two strong muscles attached to the back of the head underneath the back of the skull hold the head up or tip it backward. The head drops forward mostly of its own weight.

To know these muscles will help you tremendously in drawing heads.

Plate 21

Plate 21. How the muscles function

The drawings here, (tough not very pleasant, are important to the artist if he intends to give his characters expression. The smile is most important in commercial art and advertising. In illustrating fiction you may have to draw an angry face occasionally but the great majority of the faces you will draw are pleasant ones. However, it is much easier to draw a “dead-pan” face than a very happy one. What we want to do is to keep the face that should reflect happiness from appearing as dead-pan or even leering. So study this page well.

Plate 22

Plate 22. The muscles from various angles

After you have learned the muscles of the head, try placing them within the head in various poses. Tip and turn the head and line up the muscles to balance on each side of the middle line of the face. You will be surprised to see how easily they will begin to fall into place within the construction plan you have already learned.

From Vesalius

Why You Need Anatomy to Draw Heads

Only a few artists seem to have more than a hazy idea of the anatomy of the head, or of how the muscles function. If faces were expressionless we might manage with only a little of this knowledge. It is argued that we can depend upon photographs for expression. Frankly, many artists do just that. My contention is that one can learn the necessary principles of anatomy in two or three short periods of study, say three evenings. When so little effort is required, why not spend it to learn something that will always be valuable to you.

Every expression is entirely dependent upon a very few muscles lying under and embedded within the flesh. Knowing where the muscles lie and what they do is the difference between guesswork and knowledge. An expression must carry conviction, and it’s easier to convince when you know the facts you are dealing with.

For many years I seemed to have great difficulty in drawing smiles. I had taken it for granted that the smile creases began at the nostrils and ran straight to the comers of the lips. Actually the smile creases run well outside of the corners of the mouth and around them and point for a little way toward the side of the chin. This is because the lips lie in an oval-shaped sheet of muscle and the creases form at the outer edges of this muscle. The small ribbonlike muscles which lead down from the cheekbones are attached to this sheet of muscle at the outer edge and cause the smile creases. In some smiles the pull of these little muscles actually causes the corners of the mouth to round out rather than to end in a sharp point. For some reason I had not grasped this in my early studies. The experience proved the value of going back to the source when you are in trouble.

One thing that is important in the smile is the way folds of flesh appear under the eyes. Sometimes these add a good deal of mirth to a smile; sometimes they do not. I cannot tell you why. Some faces have this characteristic to a pronounced degree, while in other faces it is hardly evident. The difficulty is to make the folds appear natural and a part of the smile rather than to have them look like pouches under the eyes. These folds are easier to paint than to draw, because in painting they may be rendered in light values, but in a drawing we arc usually using a black medium, and the folds get too black. The same is true of the wrinkles that show at the outer corners of the eyes in a smile. If these are too black, they look like crow’s feet. Many smiles are spoiled because the lines around the nostrils are too heavy and black, suggesting a sneer more than a smile, or making the face look as if it were smelling something unpleasant.

Another valuable hint about the smile is that it shows more of the upper teeth than of the lower ones. That means both a greater number of teeth, and more area of the teeth themselves. The corners of the lips are pulled away from the teeth, causing a hole or dark accent within the corners of the lips. The teeth should never run right into the corners as if they were pressed against the lips all the way around. The pull of the muscles stretches and flattens the lips, but the inward curve of the teeth is still there and becomes even more evident because of the shadows cast inwardly by the lips at the corners. There should be some toning down of the teeth as they go back. The two front upper teeth are the ones to highlight. It is better not to try to model the teeth too much, or to draw lines between them. This again is because almost any line may be too black. The lines between the teeth are really very subtle and delicate. Often the teeth should be suggested rather than drawn in detail-unless you are selling toothpaste. Anders Zorn was a master at painting teeth in a smile.

Plate 23 shows the mechanics of the mouth. At the top are the bones without the flesh. We must always remember that the upper jaw is fixed in its relationship to the rest of the face, and all the movement takes place in the lower jaw. The curve of the upper teeth remains unchanged and is affected only by the viewpoint. The dropping of the lower jaw may add as much as two inches to the length of the face. When the upper and lower teeth are separated, be sure to compensate by dropping the chin proportionately. And, once again, always consider the roundness of the muzzle all around the lips.

Plate 24 gives you a real look at the eyes. We are too likely to think of the eye as something round (the iris) on something white (the eyeball). Until we analyze the structure we are not conscious of how much the lids are affected by the roundness of the eyeball. The reason is that we see only a little more than a quarter of the eyeball between the lids. But the curve of the eyeball is very evident from corner to corner of the lids. An eye without lids is, of course, a gruesome sight, but we must make these lids seem to lie on the rounded surface. The lids operate almost exactly like the lips. Except in the front view of the face the drawing of one eye is never an exact duplicate of the drawing of the other. When the iris of one eye is at the inner comer, that of the other is at the outer corner. There is a slight bulge of the lens of the eye which travels around under the upper lid. Think of the eyes as two balls working together on a stick. As you turn the stick you also turn the eyes. Think of the lids as the covers over the two balls, in principle like the drawing in the lower right-hand corner of Plate 24. Draw many eyes, first separately, then in pairs. Clip out some pictures of eyes and copy them.

In studying the mouths shown in Plate 25, consider the lips and teeth separately for the time being. Try drawing these mouths, and also get a mirror and draw your own mouth. Move the lips. Tilt your head at various angles. Notice that the teeth are more or less indicated, not by lines between them, but by the gums above and the accents of the dark area below. It is very easy to overemphasize the detail in teeth, so that
they do not seem to stay within the mouth. Overemphasized teeth can spoil an otherwise good head.

Noses and ears are shown in Plate 26. Noses and ears are affected by viewpoint and perspective as much as lips are. In other words, these all look the way they do because of the angle from which you see them. You can see why it is so important to establish the viewpoint of the whole head, before we can draw any of these features. When drawing from life it is most important that the pose of the head has not been changed between the drawing of separate features, since that will throw the drawing off completely. A nose must sit within the construction lines of the whole head and over the middle line, or it simply will not look right. The nose and ear should be drawn together, so that their relationship is established. The ear looks very different from the front, side view, or back. See that the nose is at right angles to the line of the eyes and brows. When the brows tip, the nose tips; in fact, everything in the face tips.

Plate 27 gives some examples of laughing and smiling faces. Though these are restricted to line alone, you can feel the muscles operating in the flesh. What I call the sharp-cornered smile is shown on the fellow in the upper right-hand corner. The faces in the middle of the top and bottom rows have a round-cornered laugh. This must come from the subject, for a round corner badly drawn can easily become a leer. Smiles require much study. You can learn a lot with your mirror.

In Plate 28 there are some examples of other expressions, which may give you some idea of how the muscles of the face operate in expressions that are not smiles. The action of the lips can vary a great deal. The basis of most expressions is usually in the mouth. For expressions in cartoons, the cartoonist keeps a mirror handy, since he can assume the expressions he wants more easily than he can explain it to a model.

In using the mirror look for the action of the muscles only; you need not even attempt a likeness of yourself. The mirror gives the artist one big break—he always has a head and hands available to draw from. With two mirrors set properly he can get a side view or a three-quarter view, or make the left hand appear as the right and vice versa.

With expressions, it certainly does no harm to take photographs of a lot of different ones. You can take pictures of your face in the mirror and thus stock up on various expressions for your files. I do not like to see an artist make a crutch of his camera, for I will always maintain that a man can get more into a drawing of his own than any tracing, pantograph, photostat, or projection can give. Photographs have certain distortions that always get into a drawing made from one, unless it is a freehand drawing—and sometimes even then. I think these distortions come from the fact that we see with two eyes, while the camera has only one. The distance of the camera from the subject also has a lot to do with it. Trace a photograph and you will see these things for yourself. Your artistry seems to go out the window, no matter how you try to eliminate that photographic look.

Various types and different expressions are illustrated in Plate 29. I have taken considerable liberty in creating both. It is good training to develop a type, then make several drawings of him showing different expressions. Make him smile, frown, pout, laugh, worry, or whatever else you can. It is really lots of fun, and all the time you are increasing your stock in trade.

In Plate 30 the face has been analyzed to show the structural reasons for the various lines and bumps. When you understand these, you can apply your knowledge in drawing faces of people of different ages, as Plate 31 shows.

Plate 23

Plate 23. Mechanics of the mouth

The lips and jaw can hardly be drawn convincingly without an understanding of the muzzle and how it works. Beginners draw the mouth as if it lay on a flat plane. The curve of the teeth in the rounded jaw must be considered, and the fullness of the lips themselves must be felt.

Plate 24

Plate 24. Mechanics of the eyes

Open page How to Draw the Eyes

Plate 25

Plate 25. Movement of the lips

Open page How to Draw Lips

Plate 26

Plate 26. Construction of the nose and the ears

The appearance of the nose and of the ears is affected by the point of view from which they are drawn. The real problem is much more one of setting them into the construction of the head in their correct positions than one of drawing the actual details themselves. Noses and ears vary widely in shape but not a great deal in basic construction. The nostrils should be set evenly on the line running from the base of the nose to the base of the ear. It is good practice to draw noses and ears from every angle until you are completely familiar with their placement in any pose of the head.

Open page How to Draw a Nose

Open page How to Draw Ears








Emotion and Facial Expression

Expression implies a revelation about the characteristics of a person, a message about something internal to the expresser. In the context of the face and nonverbal communication, expression usually implies a change of a visual pattern over time, but as a static painting can express a mood or capture a sentiment, so too the face can express relatively static characteristics. The concept of facial expression, thus, includes:

  1. a characteristic of a person that is represented, i.e., the signified;
  2. a visual configuration that represents this characteristic, i.e., the signifier;
  3. the physical basis of this appearance, or sign vehicle, e.g., the skin, muscle movements, fat, wrinkles, lines, blemishes, etc.; and
  4. typically, some person or other perceiver that perceives and interprets the signs.

The existence and relationships among these components is a large area for study in the psychological and behavioral sciences.

(Text above is from the site A Human Face)


As founder of the French Academy and court painter to Louis XIV, Charles Le Brun (1619-90) influenced an era of visual art practice. His Conference on Expression detailed, along the lines established in Descartes’s theory of the inner emotional passions, a visual guide for artists to follow as emotive states became manifest on the surface of the body. These instructive lectures and his drawing albums of diagrammatic facial expression formed a theoretical and practical base to be contended with through modern time.  (


 Open Le Bruns diagrammatic facial expression on Picasa


Plate 27

Plate 27. Expression—the laugh

Plate 28

Plate 28. Various expressions

Plate 29

Plate 29. Characterization through expression

Plate 30

Plate 30. Analysis of facial markings

It is not difficult to memorize the size, shape, and placement of the muscles of the face. If you do this, you will thereafter always be able to identify the lines, humps, and bumps in the face. Older people are better than young ones as sources for this information, since the older one gets the more lines and wrinkles develop. We can learn to separate the small wrinkles from the facial lines. The small wrinkles are associated with the shrinkage of the flesh between the muscles, whereas the lines are associated with the edges of the muscles themselves. The small wrinkles of the flesh are seldom drawn or painted since they eventually  make a network of wrinkles over the whole face. More important are the forms, and the large creases or lines between them. These are the long creases of the cheeks, those around the mouth, and those over and under the eyes. The muscles are quite pronounced in the male head. When we speak of a strong face, we are speaking mainly of muscle and bone structure.

Only in expressions with raised eyebrows need we worry about wrinkles in the forehead. We can safely leave out most of the wrinkles most of the time and concentrate mainly on the lines, the bones, and the soft forms of the flesh beneath the surface. It is a safe bet that the more wrinkles you eliminate, the better your drawing will be liked. Remember that wrinkles are never black lines on the actual face, but very delicate lines of shadow which can be seen only a few feet away. That is why we can so easily eliminate them and still get a likeness. The deeper creases are evident for some distance, as are the shadows of the planes of the head. Never draw a face as a map or network of wrinkles.

Plate 31

Plate 31. Drawing faces of different ages

You can easily learn to age a face by adding the forms of the emaciating muscles and the creases that fall between them. The cheekbones, the corners of the jaw, and the bone of the chin become more evident in the aging process. The cartilages of the nose and ears seem to get larger as we get older. The chief change takes place in the cheeks and around the eyes and mouth. The flesh sags at the sides of the chin and along the sides of the jaw. Pouches form under the eyes, and deeper lines at the corners of the eyes. The lips tend to get thinner and move inward, so that more of a straight line between the lips is produced. The lines develop from the corners of the mouth down around the sides of the chin. The flesh above the eyelids droops and the brow seem to drop inward toward the bridge of the nose. A few deeper lines develop across the forehead and between the brows. These can be subordinated, to avoid overemphasizing them. The hair, of course, thins out in varying degrees, so that the hairline moves up and back and there is considerable thinning of the hair at the top of the head. However, we draw the head from the same basic construction.

Drawing by J. Singer Sargent




Drawing by da Vinci





Drawing by Rembrandt





Drawing by…


When we go from line into tone we take a very large step, for tone is the effect of light on form. Although drawing need not carry all the subtlety of tone that painting does, still we must consider values as more or less related. It is better at first to light your subject strongly, or choose a subject that is more or less in simple light and shadow. Shadows are really shapes to draw, shapes that occur over the surface of the form, so that we must consider both, the shape of the form itself and the shape of the shadow on it. Therefore keep the lights and shadows as simple as possible. Hold the light down to one source to begin with. Later on, you may want to introduce some back lighting, but never have both lights shining on the same area. This creates a falsity of lighting, and therefore false-looking form, for form really exists only as light, halftone, and shadow define it. If the light were not there, we would see no form.

In very diffused lighting, we see form much the way we represent it in outline only. If light is coming from all directions the form flattens out, because form turning away from the light source is what makes halftone, shadow, and cast shadow. By cast shadow we mean that the shadow has continued to another plane like the wall, or down across the neck under the chin. Cast shadows have edges of their own, which depend on the direction from which the light is coming. The difference lies in the fact that in ordinary shadow the form has simply turned so far that the light can no longer reach it. On a round form there is halftone before we reach the shadow, and the halftone merges with the shadow. On a square or angular form the shadow sharply follows the edge which cuts off the light, or around which the light cannot reach. The nose casts a shadow in a bright light; the cheeks, being rounder and more gradual as a curve, blend the shadow with the light.

This very blending of light into shadow may make the difference between a good drawing and a bad one. If the edge of the shadow is graduated or blended too much with the light, the drawing loses character; if it is not blended enough the drawing may become hard and brittle. A good way to judge is to ask yourself:

Am I holding evidence of the plane or have I lost it? If you have softened the edge so much as to have lost the plane, the drawing is bound to take on a smooth, photographic look. For this reason, planes have to be established when you are drawing from a photograph, since they are not apparent in the photograph itself.

In drawing planes, we can do much to suggest the direction of the plane by the direction of line, without much change in values (see Plate 34). For this reason a drawing can be made to appear very solid, where a wash drawing or painting may lose much of the character. This is a principle which is used effectively in pen drawing, that of making the strokes follow the direction of the plane. It can be used in other mediums that are not areas of flat tone.

I hope the reader will give particular attention to Plate 33, since I consider this page one of the most important in the book. The drawings here encompass practically all the material offered up so far in this book. Here we have the plan of construction, the anatomy, the planes, and the finished rendering combined in a single pose of an individual head..

In addition to studying this page carefully, find some material of your own. See if you can render in separate drawings what you believe must be the correct proportions, anatomy, and planes of the particular head. You will learn more by doing this than by copying a hundred heads as they appear in your copy material. It will definitely point up anything lacking in your knowledge thus far. When you have, to your satisfaction, worked out the several stages, paste them on a sheet and hang them up in the place where you work, as a constant reminder. If you have worked them out convincingly you can well take pride in the fact. They will be of interest to anyone, for through them you have stated your knowledge in no uncertain manner. They serve to help you memorize the qualities which should go into a well-drawn head, but which, of course, could not be incorporated into a single drawing with each stage in evidence. In the finished drawing, I believe you will feel this background of effort, which I hope will convince you that drawing heads is more than mere copying.

Plates 35 through 39 may help you in the matter of technical rendering, though it is my feeling that technique should be left very much to the student himself. The problems of proportion, anatomy, and planes are basically the same for all of us. but technical solutions of those problems are, to a large extent, an individual matter.

Unfortunately, the student is usually unable to see many good examples of head drawings, because so few are published. In the past decade there have been few men in the field good enough to have their drawings published regularly, aside from the fact that many artists’ ability to draw the head is concealed by their use of mediums. I would like to call attention to the work of William Oberhardt, who stands almost alone in drawing the head. I hope the reader may at some time come across a few of the many drawings of his that have appeared in publications. The schools in England seem to have produced many more fine examples of head-drawing than those in America have. I think this is because the young American artist tends to turn to photographs for material before he has any real knowledge of the head. The drawings in this book are offered humbly, since there are many draftsmen whose skill exceeds mine, but because of the lack of helpful books on the subject, I submit whatever I have to offer hopefully.

Plate 32

Plate 32. Modeling the planes

As a basis for learning to show light on form, turn to Plate 9 and make a drawing of the planes of the head as shown there. It will help you a great deal with the material to follow. Let us understand that we can depict solid form only as it appears in light, halftone, and shadow. The shadows get darker as the form turns away from the light. A single light is always simple to draw, for more than one light cuts up the shadow tones, making everything more complicated. Think now in terms of flat areas in varying tones, and forget surface wrinkles entirely.

Plate 33

Plate 33. Combining anatomy, construction. and planes

This page is one of the most important in the book, since it shows the stages of drawing a head from the anatomy and construction, through the outline, to the planes and the final completion of the drawing. It would be impossible to follow without considerable study of the preceding information, not in order to copy this head, but to draw one yourself. Study this page carefully, you will find it invaluable for reference.

Plate 34

Plate 34. Building tone with planes

This page shows how the planes may be treated as straight flat surfaces, each earning its own value between light and dark. The very light planes should have very little tone and be treated very delicately. By directing the stroke, you can make the plane turn without changing the value more than slightly. You get more solidity if you make all the planes in the light a little lighter than they appear, and those in the shadow a little darker.

Open page How to Shade a Drawing

Plate 35

Plate 35. Every head is a separate problem

Every head is an individual assemblage of shapes, lines, and spaces. Because of the variations of skulls and features, together with variations of spacing, millions of combinations occur. Forget every other face and concentrate on the one you are drawing. Accent the individual forms wherever you can. Start drawing real people, and collect clippings and photographs to practice from. Don’t be tempted to trace; just draw.

Plate 36

Plate 36. Types of character

The character in a head is the result of the individual bones and muscles, as they are shown by careful construction and spacing. But the beauty of a drawing will always be in the way you use line and tone and the interpretation of light and shadow on the forms. You may experiment in your own way and develop your own approach and technique. Sometimes an unfinished study is more attractive than the completely executed drawing.

Plate 37

Plate 37. Smiling men

Smiles that radiate happiness are difficult for any artist. They are much easier to render in an outline drawing than a tonal drawing. If your drawing of heads must provide an income you will do well to practice drawing smiles from clippings, since a model can rarely hold a genuine smile for very long. Study particularly the forms around the corners of the mouth, and the forms of the cheeks.

Plate 38

Plate 38. Older men

The faces of older men give the artist more to “get hold of” in the way of forms and lines. Note, however, that in the faces on this page most of the surface wrinkles have been eliminated and only the main lines and forms stated. The impression of age is maintained without the incidental and insignificant wrinkles.

Plate 39


Plate 39. Characterization

Here construction, lighting, and expression are combined. This is characterization. the way a face looks at a given moment. Expression is really no more than a distortion of the relaxed forms of the face. Such distortion causes movement in the muscles below and consequent change on the surface. Therefore it is important to know how those muscles move (see Plate 21).

praxis | Part One: Men’s Heads