Do you draw mainly from photographs?
People often do, and unless you’ve had the experience of drawing from life in a figure or portrait class, you may be struggling with how to improve your drawing, especially in making your drawings look volumetric — three-dimensional.
Photographs are two-dimensional. We don’t have the opportunity walk around the subject to figure out what the form is actually doing. The lighting in a photo can obscure important information we need in order to make a convincing drawing. So we need to rely on what we know about anatomy and structure, not on the photo image alone.
Especially when using photographs as reference, an understanding of structure is important. You have to know what to look for and what to ignore when working from images.
Structure is often overlooked in favor of getting features correct. But you can’t get features correct if you don’t understand what’s going on underneath what you see.
This is a brief tutorial about how the head is structured, and includes some pointers about what to look for to create an accurate likeness. I discuss proportions and planes — notably the side planes of the head.
This tutorial is in response to an Eye Level reader and community member. Their work is used by permission.
Did you know there’s a community of Eye Level readers on Facebook? Join up. Post work. Ask questions. Post feedback. It’s free to join. Click here.