Understanding the face

Posted by August 27, 2009

I’m on a path of self-education at the moment with my art.  I have several books I’m using (see the About section to the right), and right now I’m splitting my time between anatomy/the human form and watercolours.  Having some knowledge from previous studies, I began my current investigation of the head with magazines – it’s helpful to see the 3D forms frozen on a 2D plane – and a mirror.  I drew and drew each part of the face, making notes, until I had got to grips with their general forms (admittedly the perfect kind as seen on magazine pages!).  I’ve posted some of my sheets of paper from this exercise below.

You can click to enlarge them if you like.






I’ve now moved onto the wonderful book Artistic Anatomy, by Dr Paul Richer, first published in 1889.  Through this I’m learning about the skeleton (again I’ve begun with the head); there’s so much you don’t realise you’re registering when you view a person.  I’ve decided, as per the beliefs of Da Vinci and the great figure-drawers of the past, that to really portray the human form you need to understand how it’s constructed, which muscles move when, etc.  So the plan is to get through the whole book, alongside others such as the brilliant Robert B. Hale books on learning to draw from the great masters.  Not a short exercise but better than using corpses like back in the day.

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