Advice On Graphite Portrait Drawing – Placing Head Landmarks


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A pencil portrait drawing from life starts with the “striking” of the arabesque. Striking the arabesque means drawing the outer circumference of the head with the correct proportions, shape, and the appropriate symmetry.

Once you have drawn a reasonably correct arabesque it is time to place the main landmarks of the head. That means that we will correctly locate the most important points of the head. These points will then be used as references for mapping out the rest of theheadfeatures.

Here is something that may help you with this undertaking: work with your eyes somewhat out-of-focus. This is called seeing with a “soft eye”. Somehow this makes it easier to correctly determine shapes and proportions. It also helps you to suppress the preconceived notions we all have of certain objects.

Let us assume that we are working from a 3/4 head profile.

* The Brow Ridge – is the first critical landmark. To locate the brow ridge you must first take your best guess at where you think it is then to check it by sighting.

Note that to train your eye it is better to first guess lengths, angles, etc. and verify them second. There is nothing to gain from pre-measuring.

Sighting means to use your pencil with locked arm and marking distances along the pencil with your thumb and index finger (starting from the tip down) and one eye closed.

So then, first sight from the bottom of the chin to a point on the brow ridge (just choose an arbitrary critical point on the ridge, but once chosen you should stick with it).

Now raise your pencil vertically so that your thumb is on your point on the brow ridge and note where your pencil point is. It should be a small distance above the top of the head . Mark on your drawing where you can best place that point above the head. This point is called the “check point”.

Note that whenever there is a choice, you should always measure the smallest length because doing so tends to be more precise.

Your point on the brow ridge should, if it was placed accurately, be exactly halfway between the bottom of the chin and your check point. If it isn’t – then changecorrect the position of your brow ridge.

* Jaw Hinge – Now you can fix the width of the face. In the 3/4 view the hinge of the jaw is a critical landmark. Again, take your best guess then check by sighting horizontally from the jaw hinge to the far edge of the cheek bone and vertically relating that measure from the bottom of the chin.

* Top Nasal Bone – Since we have already established the brow ridge we now only have to estimate a small distance to fix the top of the nasal bone. If you placed the jaw hingecorrectly, it should equal the measure from bottom of the chin to the nasal bone. If you’re off a bit, then correct the placement of the hinge of the jaw. Again, assume that the shortest distance estimated is the correct one.

Now that these primarylandmarks are placed you can further work out the arabesque. I find it best to resolve only the back, least intricate, part of the head at this early stage.

* Facial Angle – Finally, you need to the facial angle which is the center line of the face. Draw a slightly curving line from the middle of the mental tubercle up through the center of the brow ridge.

The precise placement of the facial angle is very important. You have to feel your way through this because as there is no way to accurately measure it.

Once the facial angle is ascertained continue resolving the arabesque carefully observing the form of the mouth area, the forehead, and all the other features that are expressed in the shape of the arabesque.

With this, we have ascertained all the basic landmarks that will help us to map the rest of the features such as the ears and teeth.

Do you want to learn the secrets of pencil portrait drawing? Download my brand new free pencil portrait drawing course here: Free Pencil Portrait Tutorial.

Remi Engels is a pencil portrait artist and oil painter and expert drawing teacher. See his work at Remi’s Pencil Portrait Web Site.

P.S. For the new age art of PC and video game lovers – visit the PlayStation 3 pre order blog.

Online Reputation Management – Google Loves Virtual Voyeurism


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I found this fascinating quote today:

If you haven’t heard of online reputation management: whether you’ve been hiding in a hole or throwing yourself into the spotlight, chances are something exists about you online. Google loves you. Consider Google the new peeping tom. It all boils down to one simple question: Do you know what people are saying about you?Online Reputation Management – Google Loves Virtual Voyeurism

You should read the whole article.

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Tip On Graphite Portrait Drawing – Value And Form In Relation To Tone


Posted on : | By : admin | In : Hobbies

* Value and form – are two 2 of the four elements of drawing. The other two are line and texture.

In this article we will talk about the concept of plasticity or tone and how it relates to the concepts of value and form.

* Plasticity or tone – is the visual push and pull of lights and darks which, when presented in a cohesive and harmonious whole, defines the 3-dimensional forms of a portrait.

The human eye can discriminate between many more values than the 12 we usually employ in a drawing. That means that the artist must “trick” the eye into believing that it is seeing more than is actually on the drawing paper. To this end we must understand how light acts and values are observed.

The trick is to manipulate the eye’s natural tendency towards closure, i.e., towards finishing a drawing even if parts are not actually there. But the eye only does that without protest if the plasticity is harmonious. Only then will the viewer emotionally engage.

The subject of creating harmonious plasticity is extensive. In this article we limit ourselves to realistic portraiture.

* Values – are just degrees of darkness and lightness. We usually restrict ourselves to 12 discrete values.

To understand how a form is rendered we need to understand how light behaves and how values enter into this. There are 2 properties of light relevant to drawing:

(1) Light travels in a straight line and reflects off surfaces.

(2) The strength of light diminishes quickly with distance.

From these characteristics it follows that:

* As a form turns away from the light source it darkens.

* When two planes face the light they will have dissimilar values if their distances from the light source are different. For example, the eye closest to the light source will have a lighter value than the one further away.

* The lightest light on a form is the “highlight”. The highlight is always on a plane that is directly facing the light source.

* The bulk of a portrait’s value is so-called halftone. That is, anything in-between pure white and pure black. Halftone rendering is concurrently the most enjoyable and the most frustrating aspect of drawing.

* As a form turns fully away from the light source it increasingly descends into shadow, towards totally black (i.e., the absence of light). However, there is more to it.

* There is also reflected light from one surface onto another. Keep in mind that light bounces off surfaces but with reduced intensity. So be careful not to overstate your reflected light.

* There is also the crest of the shadow which is the darkest value on the form. This band of darkness lies between the darkest halftones and the reflected light. This band of darkness is called the Line of Appelle. It is important to capture its shape properly because it determines the form’s volume.

* As a form turns away from the light, the halftone plane changes have a soft edge. The quality of this edge is determined by several factors the most important of which are the degree of plane change, the strength of the light source, and the texture of the surface.

* In portrait drawing there are also cast shadows which are hard-edged and very dark and are shed by one form onto another. An illustration is the shadow that is cast by the nose onto the cheek.

An excellent exercise for understanding the concept of tone is to draw a white egg. For a more controlled situation you can construct yourself a black box with one side open that fully controls the light of one source and blocks out the light of other sources that could pollute the situation.

In conclusion, the use of the 12-value scale together with the above guidelines allows you to produce the necessary plasticity or tone for your subject.

Do you want to learn the secrets of pencil portrait drawing? Download my brand new free pencil portrait drawing course here: Remi’s Free Pencil Portrait Tutorial.

Remi Engels is a pencil portrait artist and oil painter and expert drawing teacher. See his work at Remi’s Website.

For the artistic creativity in video games and how to get the machine to see it – please go to preorder PlayStation 3 blog post.