More Loomis Head Drawings
These sketches are a few more examples of heads based on the Loomis book, 'Drawing the head and hands'. All these heads have been constructed using Loomis' ball approach, which I covered in my last post.
I've included a selection here to show how much I struggled with getting a reasonable feeling of the form when I first started working with his book. Being so used to drawing what I see, working from imagination like this was awkward at first, but after some initial hesitancy the drawings started to improve. I'm pretty sure that in the dim and distant past I used to be a lot better at working from imagination. Somewhere along the way I lost the feel for it. But these drawings do seem to be bringing it back, if slowly.
These first four heads were done early on when I started practicing with this book. I can see that I'm still finding my feet. The lines are hesitant and sketchy.
One of things I particularly struggled with at the beginning was symmetry. I'm not entirely sure why that should be, but it was noticeable to me when I did a few self portrait drawings after this point how asymmetrical my self portrait drawings were. Improving the symmetry considerably improved the drawings. They say that symmetrical faces are more beautiful. Well, my face is anything but symmetrical. One ear sticks out more than the other. My nose is squashed over to one side. My top lip is higher on side than the other. I've had to give up on my dreams of a modelling career, but my face is certainly not quite as lumpen as I've been drawing it.
Another six heads from a bit further on through the practice. I've started to draw mirror images of each head now, it seems to help with getting a better feeling for the form. It's just struck me that another good way to practice this would be to draw the same pose from both sides. Loomis says that you should be able to feel the side of the head that you can't see. I'll try that soon.
It's just struck me as I'm writing this that it should also be a good idea to draw the heads transparently, as if they were made of glass. Actually, that's a bloody good idea. I'll definitely try that one.
The drawings were starting to look a little more confident at this stage. Some of the forms are undeniably wrong, but a greater emphasis on the central line seems to be helping with the balance.
Loomis stresses the importance of knowing what's happening beneath the skin, in particular the shape of the skull. Much of the visible shape of a head is determined by the shape of the skull, so these drawings, copied directly from the book, emphasise this.
Hopefully you can see fairly clearly here how each head has been built up from a flattened ball which forms the cranium.
The first four drawings here are also copied directly from the book, and show another way of building up the form. Loomis doesn't dwell on this too much, and seems to be introducing it simply as a viable alternative. He's building the heads out of shaped blocks, but still starting with the basic flattened ball shape.
The two drawings at the bottom aren't connected particularly with the other four, and are built using the usual method. But it shows that it ought to be possible, with enough practice, to draw a head from any angle, entirely from imagination. It strikes me that if you could do this, you would have a very good general knowledge of the form of the head, and the way it sits on the neck. I'm hoping that by the time I get a little further through this book, I'll be able to do just that. By that time I'll also have covered the main planes of the head (which will be the next instalment in this series), perspective as applied to the features of the face, the skull in more detail, and the muscle groups of the face.
What I hope to gain from this is a more thorough understanding of the construction of the human head, which should translate into stronger portrait drawings.You might this related post too:
30th April 2007