- Lesson details
In this series, instructor Charles Hu teaches you his approach to beginning head drawing. In this third lesson, you will learn Charles’ approach to dealing with light and shadow in your head drawings. Charles will do several demonstrations from photo reference, which you can find embedded on this page for your own use.
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to be focusing on lots of light there and showing you guys how to do
a semi refined head that will show you the method
I use you know for a longer pose, a block in, it’s no more relied on observations to thinking
more and more in a 2D approach and we’re going to be exporting the value structure by
in a shorter method. So this is going to be a very influential lesson
so hopefully you guys will enjoy it.
in science how light and shadow works and how does that
apply on to a portrait. So we’re gonna spend a little bit of time on the rendering part of it because, you know, it’s gonna involve some
gradations and show how to achieve a sense of structure using the laws
of lights theory.
So let's get started. So we're going to start with this
front view, a beautiful portrait. And so I’m gonna - basically right now
I'm blocking - you can see - the major angles of the face. I can start with an egg
you know, if I wanted to but like I mentioned in the other
lessons that if I do just a little more careful drawings or refined drawings I
tend to start sculpting a little more and so I’m aware of the angles, you know, the
relationships of the mark that I make. It was a little low, I think that’s better.
So I see how far the jaw comes below from the earlobe.
And notice when I lay in, I do this a lot, I go
This direction, I go this direction, I go this direction, I go this direction,
I keep up a couple things first
I'll keep that overlap, second of all I tend to run a different directions. What
that means is if this line goes this way,
the next line will go this way.
This line goes this way, the next line goes this way.
So probably not that, you know,
not that curved but somewhere I still have to give a little, like I said,
they just can give a little bit life to my you know to my
to these guidelines.
And again, make sure to move your arm.
Finding strays, right, something very important. Drawing too long better than too short.
A lot of major angles, larger angles that will help you to not to get so tired to because if you
can look at the little nuances from the model it can get really tiring.
Especially when you draw from life.
So if you can if you describe an
area just with one single stroke,
let's do that. And later on we can find smaller, you know, break into smaller
details. I use the shadow to find where the top look at this distance find where
the top of the eyebrow.
See if I look at
this distance, look at this angle,
this angle now I got a nice vertical line right here,
right? And I can compare this angle.
That's why it’s important to keep those sculpting methods
versus people like to draw quick and using this lot of circular and kind of spherical motion
that maybe works for quick sketch
but you know, I like to have some-
I like to have some straights, I can depend on it.
That’s the - remember that arch take you to right over the eyelid.
Highlight.. Give a sense of the cheekbones. Here
we got obviously
we got shadows. So you might ask me like so where does all the planes of the head,
you know, where is all the planar breakdown that I did in less one. I still have them
in my head, but I also go a mission, if I’m drawing from life and also
drawing from a picture, I want to be able to draw from my observations and this is
more of an observational drawing.
So I'm not drawing just from what I know,
I also want to draw from what I'm seeing. And I want it to
be true, you know my art to really capture what I’m seeing and translate that
to my paper. Of course later on
I am going to throw in some artistic interpretations to make this feel a little more
exciting the way I like t look but at least at the beginning
I want to be a little more careful.
I will make sure I still want to capture some of the true
elements in this portrait. Markup where that tear duct is.
I wouldn't have - I won’t have time to do a full rendering but what I want to show you is
a - probably a more illustrator approach, just a graphic dark and light pattern, right, again rendering just basically takes time.
So I want to just basically show you how I will block in
and how I approach the tonal graphic design in the portrait.
When I draw iris, I never just draw a circle, the sphere.
I'm always at - even when I draw an iris,
first thing I'll do is that I look at how much distance of the
white of the eyes. I don't just put the iris right away.
I look at - here’s things
I saw, here’s my
tear duct. I look at how much distance from that tear duct,
the white space, the white of our eyes and that's when I put the iris
and then I want to put - I’m still thinking about chiseling.
Like that, okay. Be careful when you draw females you don't want to make the tip
of nose too wide. Remember the tear duct lines up to about where the wing of
nose. See I bring this tear duct
down, see that's probably, even though I didn't draw it but that's going to be where the wing of the nose is gonna be.
Bring out too long, don’t make it too short compared to this eye.
If I'm looking at this this eye
I'm also looking at this eye also to make sure I get that symmetry.
Looks like this side has a little more white.
I see a triangle shape at the lower eyelid.
I don't think about, you know,
the roundness of the eyeball yet. I just trying to realize you can
see just graphic shapes. Remember I said see how the the eyebrow looks like kind of
hook up and come back and onto the side?
We still need to make sure the eyebrow has to still sit - at least beginning of the eyebrow has
to sit on that eyebrow line.
Double check this distance here. The cheekbones
and where the hair - where the side of the temple between the eyebrow and
the hair so I need to double check this distance.
And if you look just a lot of echoing relationship, you take that corner of that eyebrow
even this one is fine too.
If you look at the picture carefully, take it diagonally.
you can remember it’s going to have a little zigzag or something.
is going to kick back.
And that’s going to come back to the side of the face.
That's a good thing.
That helps to again, to create these
dots, kinda brings the viewer’s eyes around. And I'm always trying to find that
diagonal. you know, relationship.
Look at this angle, brings it back up.
You see how you get that - don’t make it parallel. It’s going to look kinda
boring. But I still need to see.
You see how these are kinda echoing and it's good to have wider on top,
which you always think of - I’m always trying to avoid,
you know, avoid parallel lines, evenness. I’m always trying to avoid in
my drawing even when you get to the eyelid. We’re gonna talk about that. I’m always trying to create
somewhat a triangle shape or something but not necessarily triangle but it could be wider on the top, you know, tape on the bottom if I’m designing,
you know, designing your shapes. If I run into an area like that I'll mention
that again. So follow gesture for that, bring It - come over here and
you see that's where the cheekbone
connects. Same thing, take that over to here.
Take that point, continue. That's where the canal for the ear.
Again, I still follow that apex right here, that cheekbone. Everything
I'm still thinking about the harmony, how every all the gestures flows. How al the gestures
relates. More careful block in you have, probably a little bit less work you need to do
towards the end because all you need to focus on is,
you know, to making sure all the rendering looks well
so you don't need to spend time to still fix proportions while you're doing the
rendering. You’re probably going to do to some degree but the major stuff
you don't want to move, you know, while doing the refine stage because that can sometimes
ruin the whole picture.
That's a cast shadow. As we all know the cash shadow has a hard edge.
So I'm going to make this pretty firm.
You probably don't want to make that edge all the way through, you know, that long shadow
looks too sharp, too harsh.
You’re gonna create too much attention, you don’t want that.
We can have a hard edge and maybe at the end also have a little hard
edge. The view is always going to feel in the middle for you so you would have to draw all the way through.
This will be the same processes as
I would do, you know on a newsprint,
you know drawing from sitting on the bench and drawing from a live model.
And, you know, using a black charcoal instead of red charcoal, this is the same process. This is also the same process if I used a ball point pen, fountain pen, whatever I use
the same process. Whatever it would be I would still, you know, using the same process. There are some exercises I would approach differently, for example like the quick sketches.
Five minute sketches, three minute sketches of the head,
I might - my only concern with the shadow mass, the shadow shape.
So I would just draw the shape shape and fill in, you know, instead have
to kind of carefully carve out every major shape like this.
You know take it much slower.
But this is like I said, a more refined study
that's how I would do it.
I will drop the ear back just because push the face forward.
That left side is a little more light but I'm still going to drop back.
Okay, I'm going to start block in some of my shadow mass.
I'm going to put in some of the darker dark.
Okay earlier I said I don't like to design or draw anything
repeat or anything
looks kinda even. See if you look at those eyelashes
I - first of all I kinda simplified.
Or I see just from reference
I see just get block of a black shape,
but you see how I want to make sure these two, the eyelashes, are different.
This is little wider, this is a little narrower, this is a little bit longer, this is a little bit shorter. And I think
I'm going to draw the eyelid.
Okay, that's going to refer back to what I was saying here.
I want - you have to make sure the thickness, the distance of the eyelid has to be different.
Wider here, thinner there. As we can see it looks a little darker.
That’s a little better. So wider here, thinner there. You can not - and I say often,
people make a mistake. They make all the eyelid equal thickness.That’s gonna
flatten out the eyeball. Imagine there’s a round ball in there because you aren’t able to have
the same distance throughout, you know, it looks - it won’t look good.
I talk about in my structure lessons,
this is the part of that skin fills in
so you got a little darkness in here.
Let me get rid of this line here.
I don't know what that is.
So again that's the side, still the side of that keystone shape.
See how that kinda wraps around the eyes. You got that beautiful rhythm again goes back
out here. I got some dynamic shadow on the shadow side. Again
you always get this strong wedge shadow shape on that - beside that keystone.
The reason I'm painting these darker values first because you can ask why can’t I just
fill in the whole shadow?
I could do that.
If I’m doing a quicker study,
but the thing is that I probably going to lose some of the detail, you know, within
like in the eyes so what
I'll probably do
is I’ll punch in some of the darker dark
so when I fill it in flat,
you know, kinda flatly on that - when I paint that shadow flat at least
I still have the eyes sits underneath the shadows,
so I don't need you to draw back and kinda draw the eyes.
And then watch out for that,
you know, that kind of the rocking bowl idea.
There's something swing to the left, something swing to the
right. So you have that little triangle ahadow at the tear duct,
feels like it swings towards left and you can look at the cast shadow is
going to swing back this way.
I'm going to swing down this way again.
And see how that echoes that, that little shape right there, this whole cast shadow from those
this is smaller,
this is a larger, but they are going to each other.
Okay now I might just start painting this.
Make sure you need to get some shadow below the nose.
See just some distance, show where the bottom of the - bottom plane of the nose.
Let's paint the darker first.
So I'm going to paint the nostril.
Again it’s the cast shadow so I’m going to make it a hard edge.
It’s gonna drop down to the philtrum a little bit.
I need to go over.
Oops - not this way, this way.
Gonna go swing out this way.
I tried to avoid - I’m trying to keep all my shadow the same value although,
you know, maybe the nostril is darker and this section
keys a little darker, but I tried to keep the major shadow the same value
first. Be aware of that shape the shot of the angle the Shadows.
So again hard edge. This is not really a soft edge still firmly -
I guess you can say, firm edge, hard edge, and then - I’m sorry, hard edge, firm edge, and the hard
edge again. Again you can see when you put down a hard edge you
can see it creates some attention and ask yourself
is that the attention that you need?
Cast shadow on to the lower lip. Stand back.
Again hook shadows at the end of this lip.
Lower lids - even though the lower lid is facing the light
but still we know there is still a volume to the lower leg, it looks like a
water hose. So you still got top and the front and the bottom,
right? So highlight probably is going to sit at a corner.
Again also you got the cast shadow around the side,
you know, so you still need to give some tone to us.
You can see all the - in the photo reference
you can see our highlights
sits at the corner. And help me to bring out that lower lip is the shadow
underneath. Okay. So my major graphic shadow shape is pretty much done.
And you can see make sure keep it graphic, think about as a
making black and white copies.
So you get a just flat light and shadow, you know,
graphic shapes. And we can go back in and push in some of the half tones, you know, or putting down some additional plane but all that is gonna be grouping
to our right side.. Okay. I’m thinking if I - okay,
so let’s - you can see if I here get back to the structures, here the top
of the cheek, here’s the side. You can see from reference too, the side gets a
little bit darker. The light sources are left and the right side,
I'll make sure the gradations kind of goes from light to dark this way.
Here's the corner, right here is the corner.
That's where the highlight is going to be. Think of the egg, bring up to the corner. The
nose overall is kind of warm too. Usually when you’re painting it’s going to be
quite warm. Here’s the top of the nose,
either side of nose again
here’s going to be the highlight and you can see outside the ball of the nose there’s
usually a little highlight right there. The keystone is going to be a little darker.
I'm going to bring the half tone from shadow into my lighter side. So
here catch highlight. Here can receive highlight, a little bit hard to see from the reference but
it looks like highlights can sit right here.
Again this the plane that turns, that’s at thus plane
kinda facing up this way and
then you got that corner plane and then you got the side plane. The muzzle
here's always also catch highlight kinda facing out because that’s
a muzzle. Remember the muzzle, that protruding out. The corner of the chin also
we're going to catch highlight again this is a box that also is protruding out.
So it’s kinda just kinda geared towards my highlight.
When plane changes the value changes. Can probably go back in and punch in some of the
darker dark. I want to show the corners a little bit
clearer. So here's that you can see that that's where the core shadow is. I’m going to
push that a little bit darker.
Let’s see. Okay, so I can continue, you know,
kind of work on, kinda keep working on this, you know, until you
can obviously to see how refined I can get. I probably, you know, I probably
would go back using darker value like my browns and my black to really
push out, you know, push up some of the, you know, the contrast.
But like I said this for the time limitation we have. At least I got kind
of I could take you guys through from the observation of the construction, the
lay in part, the construction part, and then block in, filling in the shadow mass,
and kinda start developing basically shadow and light, different and slowly working to the
half tone. And like I said the rest of the rendering process basically
just takes time.
which is gonna show you how I would do in a quick
sketch scenario and still focusing on blocking in the shadow shadow mast.
So I'm looking at this three quarter view of the head.
Okay in the lesson I said
if I have an egg
the ear will be, you know, behind this egg so I can
place it right here. now so talk about it is about one-third - about in
the middle of the hair so I can just kind of place right there.
Place right here at least I'll have some distant below, some distance above.
Okay let’s get that cheekbone, the cheek shadows right here, again to say how they flow into the
ear and they kind of swing. You can see how they swing towards towards the chin. I’m always trying
to find that interconnections.
Now that can actually go probably go out you know exit and going to her hair
and come down here on my design, the end of the hair still
kind of swings up, swing back up,
you know, and she’s kinda brings your eyes back up to,
you know, her portraits again.
So here is the step-back,
the eyebrow line starts right here.
We can see the corner of the eyebrow. I got this nice wedge shape.
The whole eye socket and this portion is going to come into the keystone
and is going to swing - this going at the bridge of nose going to keep pretty
still, pretty straight and is going to going to come down to a M shape
shadow. That's kind of short cut when I do a quick sketch
is that because the nose - the tip of nose can can be expressed with
a V like this can show the top plane and
then the wing of the nose sits back down so you can then falls down like this and
so it looks like an M. And now we can see the other wing of the nose.
Now if we do, like I said,
it looks like, you know, looks pretty much like a letter M and
this is usually the way I do it quickly, indicate the bottom
shadows. Keep your shadow shape clean
and readable. Eye line.
This is my a keystone shape,
right? And then I remember that arch comes down like this.
The eyeball is gonna sit right in here.
The other side going to be right here, follow this arch going through.
The mouth protrudes out, comes back in. The further side of the corner of the lips looks
like lines up to almost where her tear duct is.
So it looks about right here.
The further side is going to be more in the center of her lips.
I need to double check with my nose too. Probably somewhere about right here. Step back and check.
I can make the corner of the lips
just hook up a little bit so make her look a little more cheerful, slightly happier.
I can bring the corner up a little bit. The lower lips more of a
U shaped like this. Got that shadow underneath again
I like to use that to push out - brings out my lower lip.
Stand back and check again.
You can see eyebrow wrap around the bridge of the eye socket, it kinda
comes in and swing back like this.
This is gonna kinda cave in. And they’re gonna come out because
the muzzle, this muzzle pushes out and comes in again
so you got all this wave, things pushing out to the left, part pushing out to the right. So keep that balance. Keep that drawing balanced too.
I got a nice kind kinda firm shadows here.
Just gonna bring this down. Again look at this
in here. I got a nice
angle about right here.
And it comes down and tucks back around the ear.
So when you draw an ear, give it a
couple planes too. So I usually like to chisel
so you have a different distance, you know, different sizes of the distance of these lines go around the ear and make
sure draw it all from the angle. Drawing through. And I'm going to push it here and in the structure lesson
I said the nose right here again looks like a - you got that coffin shape.
So you got that ball of the nose.
And here all this is a side plane.
The eyes here is the tear duct.
Since I’m looking this way into the eye so we ‘re going to see
the inner thickness of the year duct.
And so we need to make sure you get
See this thickness right here again that paper idea. See that flip paper. Look at how much eye you
see and that's what I'm going to decide where I'm going to put the iris.
I draw the highlights and I will paint the whole iris.
I got that strong cast shadow from her eyelashes.
See how the lower eyelid is thicker here and tucks back toward the tear duct.
And I think I talked about this at the skull
lesson, see the three quarter view the eyelid turns really quickly around the eyeball.
A little bit hard to see here
but like I said when we get to the feature lesson draw it bigger
so you can see better.
I’m gonna raise up the back of head a little bit, feels a little flat.
Okay so that’s the quick -
that’s about 15 minutes.
So that's a kind of quick sketch I would do, you know, with these head drawings.
I'm going to put it up here.
Maybe a little bit smaller.
Cranium, jaw bones, the center line.
All this is gonna kinda angle towards the chin, the ear kinda pointing towards that jaw and pointing towards the chin then you gotta
take that ear back is probably
going to be where the back end of the hair.
Keep in mind the cranium will rise
up higher in the back.
Maybe even more so. So we got, again, I will check check from the forehead how much forehead
that I have and that's where my - you can see where my eyebrow.
Kicks out, comes back in. Got that keystone. Clean shadow shape. Get the whole - get the sense of
the whole eye socket shape down. So you see the eyebrows right here at the
beginning of the eyebrow line.
Here's the eyeball sitting here in this is hole,
eye socket. This swings toward the bottom of the lips and here’s the chin. This is where the zygomatic
are is. See where that shadow shows.
And I’m gonna drop all this darker like this.
Drawing through. Let me clean this shape really quick.
That's better. See how the the cheek bone structure comes,
you know, wrap towards the bottom of the nose. This whole plane comes out
this way and drop down, this will come down, comes down. This will come forward.
Feels - sometimes I have to draw through that cranium, how far the cranium extends towards the back.
Okay that’s gonna be back here. Also let’s put down this cast shadow right here like this.
Use a darker charcoal to clean pu the drawing a little bit. So we got the
eyebrows come up here and kind of swing down.
Comes around. And here’s the eyeball.
The cheekbones you get a sense of where the other side of cheekbone, this corner verse
that corner right there. Remember this is called - the last lesson we had - the corner of the cheekbone lines up.
45° out from the eyes and nose of the center of the
head. The shadow is gonna be wider here and it kicks back and tapers
towards the eyelid. Curve the lip and it's and it comes back straight.
So you can feel like we can feel it sits on back to the face.
It’s gonna leave the impression of the eyeball like this.
Still get a sense of see this plane right here on the side comes back to,
you know, to the front and wraps around the lower eyelid. The lower eyelid
sits on the side plane and swings up.
And you can see this where it cuts off,
goes right to the sternum.
Okay, so in this lesson,
we did a little more refined head and then I show you guys how
to render a little bit.
Mainly I want to show you guys how to block in for longer poses,
you know for short poses the way I block in is. a little more gestural, drawing through a little more because the time is
just - because of limited time basically want to
get this sense of volume quickly as I can and then for the longer poses
I’m focusing more on the observations,
like I said in the chapters
I will be more truthful with my observations.
And so blocking in the shadow mass the idea is
the same, you know, just looking at a shadow shape and understand if you’re
look at a core shadow, a soft edge, or it’s cast shadow, it’s hard edge and just filled in as
a flat, you know, a flat graphic design. And rest of it just basically
taking your time how to, you know, to render, get the highlights, get this refined drawing
of the head and but I think it’s most important is that initial ground, okay, you have to
make sure to keep it solid
like I said, you don't want to get stuck still working on your proportion
while you're doing the rendering stage. So the exercises you can do for this lesson,
I would use obviously you can use photo references and it might be better to us
use a black and white photo reference so you can see the
value better and you know,
there's a couple ways can do it. One, you can you know,
you can start off laying your tracing paper over a black and white photo
and just basically, you know, outline the shadow shape and fill it in graphically.
And you do a few of those and then try to draw one
without tracing just, you know, pure drawing on the paper,
but using the same process. You know, get the lay in,
get it all the gesture
and block in all the shadow and just to see if you can be able
to do it comfortably and accurately like what you did with tracing. And if you run into
problems while, you know,
when you try to draw and then go back to the tracing paper, figure out what
the problem is until you’re able to do it without it
and after that I will do couple drawings
more to see if I can able to do it without, you know, without the
system with the tracing paper.
That's one way you can do it. And of course another
homework or exercise you can do is just again be consistent. You know,
five heads a day from picture references,
you know, and I still prefer black and white picture or pictures that
you can find from New Masters Academy site. Actually I go onto their reference quite often to
practice and to draw on my own I even used their photo reference for my own classes.
And, you know, and to really focus in the shadow pattern, the
graphic design of the shadows and keep
practicing on that, hopefully almost to a point that it becomes muscle memory and
you can and because everybody’s shadow is going to be very similar.
And once you can memorize that,
like I said, it’s going to be very beneficial for you as a
painter and will help you able to help you when you paint all prima
you know from life. Okay,
thanks, and I'll see you guys next time.
Free to try
1. Lesson Overview50sNow playing...
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2. Demonstration 1: Front View46m 58s
3. Demonstration 2: 3/4 View15m 57s
4. Demonstration 3: 3/4 High Angle View16m 57s