Basics #14 – How to start a portrait drawing from live


(Student: Before you start, remove this.) There are many ways you can start a drawing. In this process, I’m going to start with a sketch. So, what the drawing would be… maybe what I’d like… So, what I’m sketching is…
This is the face. I’m going to put it on. And this is the hair on top, and there’s some hair on the left side, and some hair on the right side. And you want to give it a moment to think about it, and maybe this is not what you want. And chances are, this is not what you want. You really want to think about it.
And is that big enough? Is that small enough? Or should this be moving to the left? A little bit to the right? Higher? Lower? You want to think about it.
There’s no right or wrong answer. Maybe I want it a little bit smaller. I
want to make the chin a little bit higher. I just want to get an idea of what I want. Roughly, this is the composition I want. Actually, I feel a little bit better when the face is a little bit smaller. If it’s only 15 minutes, and if you don’t take that 15 minutes or 30 minutes, you know you’re going to waste another 10 hours of your time when you realize later that the face is too big, right? You’d rather spend the time at the beginning. Drawing is not hard.
The hard part is following the process. This would be the eye, the nose, and the mouth. Too low. It should be higher. And now, I’m going to get down to try to measure. First, I’m going to start dividing the space from the top of the head to the chin, okay? And, let’s see. What I see are these four proportions. I’m not sure if you guys can see it. Let me show it to you. From the top over here: one, down to the hairline from the hairline to the eyebrows, from the eyebrows to the nose, and from the nose to the chin. They are all of the same height. From the top over here, there’s one. Now, the bottom right here, and the middle is right here. So, that is divided to four. So, this is the hairline. I need to make it a little bit higher. And these are the eyebrows.
Is that right? The eyebrows. Yeah, these are the eyebrows. No, the eyebrows are a little bit higher than that. so good in that case there’s the So, good. In that case, there are the eyebrows right here. The eyebrows are on this side. And, the nose is right here. Starting from the hairline in these three: one, two, three. But, we counted from the top because her hair is so high. In actuality, what we see are four equal spaces. Okay, that is good. Now, we know there’s the nose here, and there are the eyebrows here. So, what are the eyes?
About somewhere right here. What about the width?
You cannot just assume the width because the width, according to the height… This is the width from here to there. From the top of the eyebrows to the chin is the same as the width of the face. Okay, that’s good. I take that and rotate it. So, if I set the width, starting over here, the left over here, then the right should be right here. Now, this is good. Make it very easy.
That is the left. That is the right. I’m going to draw with this straight line and find out… okay, that’s good right here.

Dereck Turner

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