Beginning Head Drawing | Part 1: Basic Head Construction

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  • #29279
    New Masters AcademyNew Masters Academy
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    In this exciting in-depth drawing series, instructor Steve Huston shows you a step-by-step construction of the human head. He covers the basic forms and more detailed intermediate constructs of the head as well as the eyes, nose, mouth and ears. In this lesson, you will learn how to use basic shapes (boxes, cylinders, spheres) to form the basic structure of the head. This lesson is a fundamental step in learning how to create a solid foundation to place the features of the face on. He will also show you how to construct the basic head in different perspectives. Following Steve’s lecture, he will illustrate how the Old Masters constructed the human head. You will then be given a timed assignment from Steve to utilize what you have learned and practice your skills. Finally, Steve will share with you how he goes about the assignment through his own techniques.

    Materials

    • Sharpie Markers
    • Digital Tablet
    • Waterman Paris Fountain Pen
    • Brown Fountain Pen Ink
    • Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencil – Indian Red
    • Seth Cole Heavy Ledger Paper
    #49949
    JulianWaite
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    Marvellous of course, with the incomparable Steve Huston.

    There’s an editing issue as sections 3 and 4 are a repeat of the second two thirds of section 2.  Go straight from 2 to 5 unless you want a repeat.

    #91069
    SasaVucic
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    Great lessons from Steve Huston. I have repeatedly watched this lesson and improved considerably, thank you.

    #91331
    The Dane
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    Great lesson, but where do I find the master drawings (Holbein etc) on the website?

    #140253
    javierromeroprados
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    Everybody makes mistakes, and this teacher made one. The base of the nose it’s not halfway from the eyes to the chin, it’s halfway from the brows to the chin. You can check this with the reference photos and of course with the other classes in this website. The thirds are from hairline to brows, brows to base of the nose, and base of the nose to chin.

    If you ignore that mistake, everything else is very good. (Steve, if you are reading this, it would be nice to have some instruction regarding acrylics on this website).

    #221194
    Amante Reale
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    Javier, you’re way too quick to call something a mistake. If you go from the top of the skull and divide in halves, or you go from the hairline and divide in thirds, everything basically falls on (or around) the same place. Since we’re not going to be drawing “perfectly average” people, the exact pixel onto which the bottom of the nose falls doesn’t really matter, because no-one has “perfect third” and “perfect half” faces.

    You can see here I divided the face along the hairline, brows, eyes, nose, mouth and chin with measurement lines either in yellow or red. As you can see, red lines fall in place as expected using halves, and yellow lines fall in place as expected using thirds. And they both do a good job in giving a sense of where things should be.

    #229155
    Bruggemann
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    I had the same doubt Javier had.

    Steve explains that the bottom of the nose is halfway from the eyes to the chin, but in your example it’s halfway from the eyebrows to the chin.

    I’m still trying to figure it out.

    #349814
    Matthew O’Fallon
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    Is there a video where he goes more in depth on doing a 3/4 view with the mask and egg like he used in the earlier videos?

    #394194
    Zaki Zakaria
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    How do you compare Huston’s style with Loomis’ head?

    #402828
    Joshua JacoboJoshua Jacobo
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    There’s different ways of thinking of these proportions and it matters if we are talking about the face or the entire head. There are also preferences. These are all estimates and some artists prefer some to others. It’s good to learn different systems and use the one that works for you. 👍🏼 I would compare Steve’s breakdown to how Glenn Vilppu and Mark Westermoe does it.

    The way I think of it is:

     

    The eyes are halfway down the skull. The brow line is slightly above this but it depends on the skeletal development of the brow area so this is variable. The base of the nose is roughly half way from the brow to the bottom of the chin unless the subject is young, is missing teeth, or has an underdeveloped jaw more common with women. The same distance of the bottom of the chin (not counting the submandibular fat on the diagastric plane). The half way mark between the nose and chin gives you the margin of the lower lip as is joins the pillars of the mouth. Remember that the opening of the mouth is quite close to the bottom of the nose. It’s a common mistake to give too much distance there. Think of how Michelangelo would indicate these with simple horizontal dashes. If we continue up from the base of the nose to the brow and then repeat that measurement we get the hairline (hopefully), or the top margin of the frontal eminence. In this way the “face” not including the cranium above does break roughly into thirds.

    Steve gets more into the construction in subsequent videos. The beginning head course and advanced head course includes this. A lot of this is shown in his master studies throughout the course.

    There’s a lot of similarity in Steve and Loomis’ approach to the head but Loomis was an illustrator and pushing the “appeal” of the head more at the expense of some of the structure Steve is drawn to.

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