- Lesson details
In the third lesson of the series, Mark begins with some general rules and tips for monochrome drawings– designing the shapes, the values we assign to them, and the edges between them. He then moves on to draw three shadow patterns on three heads based on the Reilly Abstraction. He incorporates three different lighting scenarios on these heads: form lighting, ambient lighting, and rim lighting.
In this series, Mark introduces you to the Reilly Method, a way of understanding the structure of the head through the use of rhythms, to help project accurate proportions of your subject from any angle.
As the protegé to the famous Fred Fixler, who worked directly under the legendary Frank Reilly, Mark’s unrivaled knowledge of the Reilly Method for drawing the head led to an illustrious career in Hollywood movie poster design. He later founded Associate’s in Art in Southern California, a top school for illustrators, from which many alumni became the “who’s who” in the fields of figurative art. He will be greatly missed, and his imprint on the industry, students across the world, and here at the NMA studio will last forever.
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For this lesson we're gonna go over the three views
and I will design the forms of the head using the
abstraction diagram of each individual head. I am going
to be using three basic light setups. As
the protégé to the famous Fred Fixler, worked directly under the legendary Frank
Reilly, Mark Westermoe gained unrivaled knowledge of the Reilly Method for drawing the
head. Upon which he founded an illustrious career in Hollywood Movie Poster Design.
He later founded Associates in Art in Southern California, a top school
for illustrators, from which many alumni became the who's who in the fields
of figurative art. We hope that this series helps serve as part of his legacy.
Before we get into the lesson, which is how to describe the head
in light and shadow, I want to explain some of the basics
behind monochrome drawings. The shapes, the values that we assign to those
shapes and the edges between them. So I'll be showing
the head in light and shadow, I want to explain some of the
basics behind monochrome drawing and how
that amounts to the shapes, the values that we assign to those shapes,
and the edges between them. So each one of these
dimensions has three or four elements.
So when we're drawing the shapes I'm gonna rely on straight
and S curves.
Just darken that.
In the human
figure we don't encounter straights very often.
But we do see S curves and C curves
suppose we have a C curve. Some
parts of the figure, or head, have shallow C curves like this.
And others have deeper C curves like that.
And the same goes for S curves.
Here's a shallow S curve. I'm trying
to avoid inarticulate murmur in kinds of shapes like that.
You know, that's all right. There are many artists
who do great things using this kind of a jagged,
little bit less legible type
of a shape. Heinrich Clay is a great one.
Ralph Steadman, who illustrated
Hunter Thompson's books. But
this - Egon Schiele too - but this kind of a shape
it can be done rhythmically, Clay does that, but it tends
to be a little bit more jagged and creates a little bit
of anxiety. Whereas these shapes create harmony.
So I think of this as dissonance and these shapes as harmony.
So one more point: A good
drawing of the figure or the head should have some kind of a balance
between angularity and curvilinear nature.
When I say angularity a lot of people think that to mean
okay, that's gonna be all straights isn't it?
No, it doesn't have to be.
Two C curves can come together like this.
Happens in the figure all the time. And that creates
an angle, right here. Other times
two C curves can come together like this.
And that is more
of a curvilinear movement. So this one will
stop the eye and this one will carry on, through
to the next set of shapes. When we're studying the figure, for
instance, and this is true of the head,
each of the limbs has an idea depth of curvature.
Depending on whether it's flexed or extended of course. And
so that applies to the head too. So now, let's move
on and we'll talk about the next item.
Use our shapes, they're three basic shapes.
Now we have values.
What value are we going to assign to each of
Value just means - are what a layman calls
tone. So black is the darkest value and white
is the lightest value. So a 50 percent gray
would mean that it's halfway between white and black. Most
often it's best to organize your values into three or four.
If you look around the room in wherever you're standing or sitting
and you look at every part of that room, you have
how many values? Well, millions. And if you were to copy them one
by one, first of all you'd lose the forest for the sake of the
trees, secondly you'd be very disturbed, and third you probably wouldn't
want to draw again. But what we can do is break the world down
into light and dark pattern. So, here
the lightest value
is the off white of the newsprint. Right there.
And then - that's our main light pattern.
And then here, I'm gonna draw a dark gray.
This is what we call a 25 percent
gray. White is 100 percent
meaning it's filled with light. And black
percent. It means the complete absence of light.
So I'm setting myself a little legend in the corner.
And I'll stick to it. So here I have zero
and dark gray would be 25 percent
and light gray would be
If you take something to a printer to be published
he's gonna use the opposite. He or she will
say that zero percent is white and 100
percent is black because they're not talking about the light, they're talking
about the amount of ink. Now
these two values, dark gray and black, represent your dark pattern.
And these two values,
white and light gray, represent your light pattern.
Now, there's something called
the squint test. And this is what's gonna help you
design your values. If you imagine
just these two values,
the 25 percent and the zero
percent, and you squint at them, they visually
mass together. Only when
you keep your eyes wide open do they separate. Similarly
if you do the same thing here,
you'll notice that if you squint at the white and the light gray
they visually mass together also. And
that's your light pattern. But now try
to make your dark gray, no matter how hard you squint,
mass with your light gray. You can't do it.
So that means there's a gulf between your light and your dark
pattern. Even the 50 percent gray
is within that gulf. But we're gonna focus on the dark gray,
the black, the light gray, and the white. So we're breaking
things down into just four values. If you look at a painting
by John Singer Sargent and you reproduce it in black and white, you'll
notice that in spite of all that color, all those glorious brush strokes,
it still breaks down into just these four values. The
whole composition. Yes, within your dark gray pattern
there could be somewhat slightly darker here or slightly lighter,
but there's a family of dark gray. Same thing with black.
And yes there are some things that are 70 percent gray and
others that 80 percent gray. But basically the average is 75 percent.
Not all paintings or
compositions break down into pure white or pure black.
If it's a sunny scene on a sunny day at the beach, with all the reflection
from the sand and the water and the atmosphere, you're probably not
gonna get any black. Similarly,
if it's a scene shot in a very, very dimly lit
candlelight room at night, except for maybe the
candle itself, you're probably not gonna get anything that's white.
So, our job in the exercise I'll be doing
following this, is to break things down just into the dark and the light
pattern. So I'll be using the white, or the off-white of the newsprint
and then the dark gray. That's how I'll break the light
and dark down. Okay, then we have edges. This is
the third dimension. Color is
specific to polychrome painting. It's not an issue here.
There are two basic kinds of edges. There's a
There is a
hard edge. Like that.
Notice the values
are the same. The only difference is that one has
hard edges and the other has soft edges. We also
have in between, firm edges. A hard edge
for instance you can see it on the edge of a table top, where it turns
from its top plane to its side plane.
Soft edges, you'd see them like on a sphere or a cylinder.
Firm edges we'll discuss in a minute.
The final kind of edge is a lost edge.
Here's a case where you never really
can perceive exactly where the edge of the
tone stops and the light
next to it starts. This is called a lost edge.
We see it in background a lot. We see it in the sky
as it goes from lighter near the horizon, toward deep, dark blue at the top
with no perceptible place where it changes. It's just
graduated like this. So
these two, the lost and the
soft, are part of your soft category of edges.
These two, the firm and the
hard, are part of your hard edge
category. To demonstrate what
we would see with a firm edge: it's easiest if you
have an angular surface and on top of it you throw
a velvet or some kind of a - or felt
is much better - a felt kind of a fabric on top of it so it drapes over the edge.
The edges aren't soft, because it's still angular. But it's no longer a hard
edge because it has that fabric on top of it. That's what happens
in the human figure. And in the head we know that we have -
if you look at the skull and its skeleton, you have very angular, hard edges,
particularly on the nasal bone. But when you look at the
living model, the nose is covered with tissue
and skin so that it's no longer and outright hard
edge, but instead it's a firm edge.
Let me write that down. Firm, hard,
Four kinds of edges. Now where you use
them means everything. Let's give you an example.
Right now these are just two shapes. I'm gonna give them form
by illuminating them with the same light source.
The form shadow on an object merely means these are
planes on the object itself which are situated in such a way that they do not
receive any direct light. There can be a reflected
light in the shadow, don't overdo it, but that's a different matter.
Here I'm using the same middle gray that I used
to demonstrate the different kinds of edges.
I'm using the same value for the
shadow in each example. I've only
changed the edge, not the shape or
the value. Just the edge.
Remember you can have a soft edge on a light form,
you can have a hard edge on a dark form, or you can have a hard edge on a
very light form, and a soft edge on a dark form.
When I was studying my teacher once came to me and said
no, no, you need to make that edge hard.
It's too soft. So what did I do? I immediately decided I'm gonna go
darker. He said no, no, no, it's not that,
it's the edge not the value. Okay so in
these two cases, one of these is now a form
of a soft edge. Where the shadow turns. The other is a form
of a hard edge where the shadow turns. I think you can see
that this is a cylinder and this is a beam.
So that it would look like this if I drew the edge.
Or the end of it. And this would look, instead, like
But I didn't even have to draw this. You could tell even without
my doing it. Imagine if I did this.
That doesn't look right.
But this does.
And we knew this just by the edge.
Hard edges also can be overlaps.
So where the upper lip overlaps the lower lip you'll frequently get a hard edge.
There are other examples too, where
the upper lid overlaps the eyeball,
you'll frequently get a hard edge there. But to sum it up, the
more angular the form, then the harder the edge you're gonna
get between the light and the shadow. And the more rounded
the form, the softer you're gonna get between your light and your
shadow. So these are the principles that I'm gonna
employ as I design the light and dark pattern that
describes the form of the head. Now
one last note on light.
Here there are, well there are more than these, but the three major
categories of the way light describes the form -
or I should just say the main categories of lighting are
and rim light.
A head in an ambient light condition would be
such as somebody who's in an office building. And they have just
a bunch of florescent ceiling fixtures, all going off at the same time.
Or, somebody who's out of doors on a gray day.
It's a softer kind of light. Form lighting
is a single source of light. Almost a
spot light. It can be diffused somewhat or
it can be as razor sharp as a lightning bolt.
This is called form lighting because it gives the best description of the form of an object
rather than a suggestion of it, like we get in ambient light.
Finally, rim light. This can be ambient or
form light combined with a second source of light.
And that will then describe the form not just from one angle,
the form light, but from a second angle, the rim light.
next I'll be showing you examples
of ambient, form, and rim light. But before
I do I want to make a couple comments about why artists choose
this one, this one, or this one for a
when I work for - with head models, I shoot
my own reference. If I'm doing a portrait and that subject is
absolutely unavailable, maybe even deceased,
I'll have to subject for whatever reference the client gives me. But otherwise, I always
insist on doing my own photography and setting up the kind of light condition
that I think suits the subject best. Before the
the late 16th and early 17th century
artists used ambient light,
particularly in the Renaissance, to the exclusion of form light. If you look at
Leonardo or Botticelli, especially Botticelli,
they're using ambient light. And this is called
A-T-O. Which means
smoky. So you get that kind of softness to it.
And it works best for
let's say anything that's not a realist painting.
It's something that is more of a
basic - well let's put it this way. With form lighting
with Caravaggio was the main pioneer of this in the early 1600s,
when he used form lighting, a single source of light to illuminate his
paintings, his religious paintings, particular the Virgin Mary.
She was so realistic that the Vatican was very opposed
to it because, to them, she had to be an idea, not
so much someone you could reach out and shake your hand with her. So form
lighting took us into a really strong sense of realism. And
in Italian it's known as chiaroscuro.
I think it's an o there. No,
chiaroscuro. And that means
light and oscuro means shadow.
Obscure versus light. So it sets the light
strongly against the dark pattern. Unlike ambient light.
in American and most 19th century Russian painting,
were dominated by this kind of form
emphasis, not just ideas. So we're
considered realists in the tradition of Western Art. The rim
light has become really popular for posters and
advertising and anything else that you want to jump out off the page.
And since printing processes became so sophisticated
in the 20th century, we find rim lighting being used
an awful lot like people like J.C. Leyendecker or Norman Rockwell.
Rockwell in particular being the arch-realist.
So the rim lighting really gets something to pop.
It's not subtle. The form light - sometimes the shadows can just melt
into the background. So I'll be showing those next.
three views. That's the three quarter, front view,
and profile. And I will design the forms of the head
using the abstraction diagram of each
individual head that we did last lesson.
In this case, I'm going to be using light and shade.
I like to think of it more as light and shadow, although there are some half tone
shades in between the lightest light
and the shadows. The figure that I'm gonna start with
is the three quarter view. This has a single source of light
It's one of those three basic, light set
ups. With a single source of light, we call that form lighting, and we'll start
with that. Although we have ambient and rim lighting to come. You can use
any tonal medium you want for this exercise, but I'm
gonna use a black wax pencil. I think we get the best
tonality, coupled with the best edges and half tones.
Graphite tends to smear a little bit and the
charcoal might smear also a little bit more than you want.
But again, you can use any of the above.
The tracing paper is a lightweight tracing paper, which I tape on top
of the traced, individual abstractions which we just completed.
So, with that I'll start with our head on the right.
And that's the three quarter view. Now we see
the abstraction designed here. But there are extra
details, which we can introduce as we do this part of the exercise.
But always with a mind to the rhythms that we find in the abstraction.
So here, I wanna get a convexity
for the frontal prominence overlapping the eye socket.
And as we go down the nose,
we notice that he has a distinct bridge of the nose
terminating in a strong
descriptive set of septal cartilages.
I'm gonna follow
the form. Along the turning under of the wing of the
Turn it into a form shadow, and with a
light coming from the left, we're gonna also mass it with
a cast shadow.
That cast shadow will follow
the upper tooth cylinder and will
describe the forms as it runs over and above
the philtrum beneath
which we can describe
And all he - he has a
thin lip, but it's still is very descriptive
and follows a nice and distinct set
make any adjustments in scale
or placement that I think will
improve the drawing. So I'm definitely not just on auto pilot
quickly look at what we've got.
It is important
from time to time to lift up the tracing paper
and see what exactly it is that you've designed.
This is a very gradual turning of an edge. You can see that on
the photograph quite clearly.
Lower lip is fuller and it's
considerably shorter from left to right than the upper lip.
I'm not gonna, generally speaking, I'm not gonna fill in
any of my dark pattern until I've designed it.
Here's the turning under of the orbicularis
The gradual turning of an edge.
At this point
of that muscle
the chin mound.
Which starts here. So here's the shadow
and this is the plane just
above the chin mound.
I'm gonna use a hard or a firm edge
to overlap the chin here
at the orbicularis -
orbicularis oris muscle I should say.
And let's symmetrically design the opposite side.
in this case I am gonna add a gray tone
for the shadow beneath his lower lip.
So that I can make better sense of what otherwise might be a confusing
set of planes.
So now we come to the top plane of the chin
and here it turns to its front plane in half tone only.
And then, here
we find a cleft just
right about on a line - a plumb line with the philtrum above.
And to it
quadratus labii inferioris muscle.
And that's the beginning of the
turning of the spine of the mandible.
for clarity's sake, I'll go ahead and
introduce a shadow value for those
planes that are in shadow, not in half tone.
Remember, half tones belong to the light pattern.
They're merely darker than the surrounding
lights. But they're not as dark as shadows, ever.
A rounded, soft edge for the wing of the nose.
A more angular edge for the cartilage forming the septum,
and I'm just gonna mass the form shadow
of the underplane of the nose with the cast shadow it creates
above the mouth.
Being careful not to
compromise the nice, careful design
that I've tried to make out of the edges. So
when applying this tone, you have to respect the
edges. Don't just fill it in in a willy nilly,
hasty manner that probably, in the course of doing it,
is actually just gonna make your efforts less graphic and more
We're getting a hard edge under the upper lip because it
overlaps the lower lip. Hard edges suggest
angular forms or cast
Putting in a little tone for the
complexion of his lip. But not as dark as any shadow
we see the silhouette of the mandible.
I'm trying to limit myself
to S curves, C curves, and straights.
Not many of the forms are
expressed as straights. But some of them, here for instance,
could be very effective if you had both
a firm edge and
a straight. You use those to convey
the form of the chin and the jaw.
Now we're gonna - we've worked our way down the vertical
axis, and now we're gonna move across, at the
horizontal axis. Once more, you
want to get that inside angle of the eyebrow
and give it some convexity.
A rhythm that you can build off of the frontal prominence at the inside
of the eye socket.
His eyelid - eyebrow -
expresses an S curve really. From here
to here and then through to here. It's a subtle
thing, but pretty important.
angularity to the brow bone here. So we're gonna use a firm
to soft edge, not just a soft edge on the form shadow.
Now we're gonna follow
the nasal bone on the inside of the
Notice the three parts of the eyebrow.
The inner, which is convex and under the brow,
and then the center, which rises up onto
the forehead, and then the outside angle,
forming the outer third
of the eyebrow.
Here is the end of the cast shadow, created by the bridge of the nose
and brow. And
being a cast shadow, it has a hard edge.
Look carefully at the
distance between the two eye sockets, at the bridge
of the nose.
You don't see much inside the shadow
and so we're not gonna describe, we're just gonna suggest. But
key form is where the brow bone and
the orbicularis oculi muscle attach to it overlap
the upper lid. Setting the eye
into the socket.
Very important to keep your
shadow shapes consistently uniform
one value at this stage.
I can put
some half tones though to help make clear
the structure of the nose.
This one helps to show where the side plane
of the nose joins the face.
So I'll put down
a light gray, which when you
squint will mass with the light surrounding it.
And that will be the side plane of the nose
in half tone.
I'm gonna repeat this process on his right eye.
There's a half tone beneath this form at the bottom of the eye socket.
There's our upper lid, overlapping the ball,
overlapped by the brow and the muscle.
the thickness and the shadow cast by the upper lid.
On the opposite side we just don't see that
at all because everything's inside a shadow.
We'll leave the top plane of the lower lid light,
because the light coming from above will catch it
And then the lid's front plane
will fall again
into shadow, overlapping the
the underplane of the brow
overlaps the zygoma.,
All of this eyeball
is part of the shadow pattern in which it sits.
a diagram based on the Reilly abstraction
of the head and its features,
I don't really have to worry about placement or scale
because I've already established that. I've merely traced it.
That leaves me free to
focus on important issues like the edges
or the rhythms of the
head and its parts.
is the turning back at the temple
And here is a half tone.
Just above the zygoma.
And on this side
we pick up the lashes, casting shadows over
the line, drawn from right to
left or - you know, from right to left
above the wing of the nose, we pick up the
We wanna carefully design how to turns from its top plane
to its side plane.
There's the silhouette of the tooth cylinder.
I have the zygomatic arch.
allows us to describe
the turning back of the muzzle.
And here's the frontal prominence.
Hugged closely by his hairline.
You don't want an abrupt ending
of the hair strokes at the top of his
forehead. They grow out of the scalp
and they follow a certain, curved rhythm.
Almost like the wave
on the sea coast.
Now, in life
drawing, or in illustrating from photographs,
of course I don't just go up into the tracing paper and
trace right on top of the model. But I do,
as I've mentioned a number of times,
I do mentally project the abstraction
onto that individual head.
that makes it subject to
some occasional errors and placement of
scale, it does still give me
the ground work to design the head
and the freedom to do it without having to worry
too much about any other form of construction
within that subject.
or the rim rather, overlaps the shell of the ear
which in turn
overlaps the rim.
Shadow rows curving over the
into the hollow above the collar bone
and then straightens up to run
across the clavicle.
direction of the curvature of his hair changes, here,
at the part.
The abstracted head
lies inside the silhouette of the
hair because the hair obviously adds
height to the living
None of these shapes - I won't allow them to
interfere with the big movement of the vertical, diagonal,
and vertical thrusts of the three volumes of the head.
So regardless of what the photo or the live model looks like
I will definitely go into those
and simplify them or push them in order to keep
all of them in support of the bigger movement so that the trees
support the forest
This form rests on
the muzzle and then on the zygoma.
It's not just an isolated form at the bottom of the
his eye socket.
So here's what we have.
And I'll continue now
to break things down into my simple light and dark pattern
Once again, go back and look at
Richter or Hans Holbein
and you will definitely see that they're employing
a form of head abstraction
and it really shows in
their portrait drawings and painting.
So this is something tried
and true. It's not some contemporary
experimentation that's come
around in the last 50 years
or more. It goes back
In fact, far, far longer than that.
It's nothing less than a key,
central to understanding
behind all great portrait painters.
the area of greatest harm involved in
in most student drawings, is putting in half tones that are too dark.
Really the human eye is capable of seeing the very
smallest in variations of value.
So you don't have to go overboard.
You certainly should not.
You'll become adept at
getting these things right alla prima, or first stroke.
But even then, it's better to put down half
tones that are too light than too dark. It's more difficult
thing to go back and darken them if you feel you need to.
Far more difficult to draw too dark
and then have to adjust, making it lighter.
So avoid over modeling.
A lot of the student
drawings that have been submitted to me
in my head and figure drawing classes
in fact most of them suffer in some
parts from over modeling.
Just overlap your strokes. It's not
a hard thing to put down a generally even
value for any part of your subject.
So just take that extra moment and be careful
to do that, overlap your strokes.
I'm looking for the planes of his head.
Only then if I've established that well am I
real concerned about texture such as hair strokes.
Almost think of him as
being made of a plaster cast.
And so, you know,
we only suggest, at this stage,
any hair texture.
A texture doesn't matter if the form
is not made clear.
See how simple it is just
overlap your strokes.
And again, this really feels
like painting with a pencil.
A monochrome painting.
Okay so I lift it up so I can
see what I've done more clearly, and then I'll lay it down
so that it's nice and focused for all of you.
Okay so what kind of lighting is this?
This is form lighting. A single source of light.
review characteristics of form lighting.
I'll draw -
I guess I'll just draw like an egg shape
And then we're gonna bring the light,
describing it from the upper left.
In this instance, the forms
that the light cannot reach beyond
will be in light.
And those that
the shadow can't reach will be
in shadow. So
we tend to get a form lighting like this. And then
if there's a surface or a torso,
you get cast shadow opposite the light source.
And that's form lighting.
Good. Now I'm
gonna proceed to do ambient light. Which
will be an even light
source over the whole subject, not really
breaking down into shadow and light very much.
So we're now gonna switch from our three quarter to our front view female.
female head at eye level, using not
form lighting but ambient lighting.
And typically in ambient lighting you have
uniform lighting either from a gray sky
or from a bank of lights in the ceiling.
No one of which illuminates the head, but they illuminate the head in common.
And so we call that ambient
lighting. In that case
let's draw that same egg a second time.
You might get some
tones that turn the head back, or the egg in this case.
But it's very soft.
And it involves half tones rather than outright
shadows. So the light is diffused
and this is called ambient lighting.
Now let's take a look at our subject. The forms are a little
softer on the female head. And
we do get this kind of half tone running around
the silhouette and into the subject. So it too
still has three dimensions. But it's not as descriptive
of the form as the single source of light. Hence the name, form
lighting. Okay, let's see what points are really
important when we design her head.
Again we're gonna key off - this is the whole point - key off
of the forms out of the abstraction.
You can really see the three
well, the thirds
of the eyebrow.
With a strong arch.
So you see here, we get the
eyebrow under the socket. And here
it rises up above, onto the brow ridge
and then the tail angles off, slightly overlapping
Very small differences between the two eyebrows
but they are pretty much symmetrical.
Together those three
divisions of the eyebrow
form an S curve.
And I'll design this pretty
lightly because I may want to make adjustments later.
And now as we move down the vertical axis, here at the root of the
nose, I get a half tone and
that's true on each side.
The light evenly describes the head. It doesn't favor one side or the other.
So now, we're just describing
the bridge of the nose using, not shadows, but half tones.
It also is true, generally,
that less said makes for a more
elegant woman's head.
Often just an indication of the root and then
of the base, including the septums - septal cartilages and
alar cartilages - with not much drawing at all on the bridge.
That usually is sufficient to get your point across.
Where would we find
examples of this kind of lighting? Well
in the Renaissance
it was typical
until the period after the Mannerists
which became the Boroque.
we find Venus on the Half Shell by Botoccelli
or some of Leonardo's famous paintings.
A lot of wonderful, anatomical drawings
by Michelangelo. And these
typically are drawn
with less reference to a light source than
to an ideal or a concept.
And when that is the case, instead of
calling the description of the light
chiaroscuro, which is what we apply to form lighting,
it merely means light and shadow.
Chiaroscuro. We have -
the dominant usage was
A-T-O. Which means
something looking like
smoke. So the changes and planes
are subdued, more gradual.
And it's less outright
realistic, if you want to use the word, than
form lighting or chiaroscuro.
There is really -
there is no preference one over the other. It depends on the circumstances
and the lighting of your composition.
And also the type of model and idea you're trying to get across.
Once you put down a specific
spot of light
as opposed to overall
light, then the form tends to really pop.
And it looks more, well,
it's more easy to confuse it with the real
and the tangible and the corporeal as opposed to
the ideal or the conceptual.
Sfumato worked very well, and still does, in many cases,
but in particular in describing
Christian religious subject matter.
Particularly the Virgin Mary.
she's not somebody that we think of that
you would reach right out and shake her hand, like in a Norman Rockwell
illustration. So, when Carvaggio
for instance really exploited
chiaroscuro, it offended many in the church
because it just made the transcended
into the real
world that we experience all around us. Not just the world of
concept and inspiration.
Even though it was certainly
used to describe such
Chiaroscuro, not sfumato,
was the dominant treatment
of the 17th century -
of the Boroque. And it is still
is a preferred
in portraiture, history painting,
there are certain subjects, like film noire for instance,
where it just works really well with the subject
matter. On the other hand,
children playing on a beach you wouldn't
want to have deep, dark shadows, nor probably would you
have them because of so much reflected light in an atmosphere like that.
the subject matter itself suggests, or even dictates,
what form of lighting
you might want to employ.
Film noire for instance
is frequently handled with chiaroscuro
form lighting. And your darkest dark
can go all the way to black. But
subject matter like that, which I just mentioned, or
in female fashion magazines,
you'll notice that ambient light
is more popular.
So GQ, men's fashion magazine,
is gonna have,
in most cases, a chiseled look, which
is almost always in favor for the male subjects.
And so form lighting is
typical in men's fashion magazines.
But as I said, in women's cases
generally the preferred kind of lighting.
Okay well, if we don't have many shadows
to deal with, then we're gonna describe her head
using half tones and a few
Now half tones, we mentioned in the last example,
you have to draw them carefully. And
once they become too dark they can just kill
a drawing. Which, in this kind of lighting,
is usually meant to be not heavy but
light. So we follow the
abstraction, not with light and shadow, and the edges
between them, but with the half tones that describe here, the
underplane of her tooth cylinder. Or here
the contours of the chin mound.
In a lot of cases, if I had a subject like this,
I would draw even less than I'm drawing for you today.
Just a few things and I get it across.
But I do want to at least show you
how the planes operate.
I'll push it about as far as I'd like.
Or as I should go.
Okay. Here we have the eyeball
on the abstraction. But in the living model
of the orbicularis oculi muscle and the brow bone
to which it attaches.
I'm not thinking about eyelashes, irises
now. I'm thinking about the very form
of the entire ball of the eye. Over which we'll wrap
the lids and lashes, so forth
But first, let me get a good sense of the form
of the eyeball.
Here now are the upper lids,
overlapped by the brow structure.
Her head is directly centered on
the neck, which is directly centered on the torso.
And that's good for certain kinds of
stories. It's very arresting,
it jumps out and catches your eye. Often times
my preference is to -
certainly for portraits and
so on - unless there's a reason for such a symmetry,
I like to turn the head on the neck a little bit.
So the neck is facing one way and the head
turned on the neck, somewhat to a greater
or lesser extent. It's
almost as though the person is looking back and seeing
But there's a gesture to it you see.
This kind of arrangement can be arresting. it can
also be kind of static. So
osing the model is a matter that you just don't
you know, point and shoot. You really have to give it thought.
Now you are an artist afterall, and that's not just in the drawing or the
painting or the scultping. It's in the very posing itself.
I'm not a fine
art photographer. I don't take figure photographs or
structural photographs of buildings
and so on so that they can be treated as fine art
I use them for references for my paintings and drawings and
I've done so many photo shoots, particularly
the female models
that I understand a few things about it.
One of them is, I don't want to digress too much, but while I'm
on the subject it might help you. When you're
doing a photoshoot you must set up your lighting. Lighting, lighting, lighting.
That's the priority.
And it has to be ready so you don't have to manipulate it very much during the photoshoot.
All these things can distract the model and cause
her, or him, to lose his natural
flow as it were.
You don't want to
over direct the model either. Try to give the model
to come up with her own poses.
And you can shoot a series of
poses, not all of them will be
real useful to you generally, but enough
of them will if you're careful with this. It helps to
have an assistant. Somebody who's there if you want to move the light stand or
hand the model a different drape.
All of that.
Even to the point of,
importantly, providing water to the model and
making her job as simple as possible so she can
focus on what she does best. And you can work with people who've never
modeled before, if you're careful with these things. But
don't over direct. So you really have to have
your idea pretty well formed, and don't just try
to shoot from the hip when you have your time with the model.
This is a
very straightforward, almost Richard
Avedon type of a photograph, or head
study. Just very
forthright, very frank.
No frills attached.
During an actual photoshoot, it can be
really helpful to have an assistant who can pull -
or first actually
cinch the fabric so that it describes the model's figure.
Sometimes that involves - almost always that involves -
safety pins. And it can involve
pulling on one part of the costume to give movement to it.
It can be, even
using a fan, to get some movement in the hair.
drapery has two main functions.
describes the form underneath and even where it doesn't do
that, it can lend movement to the gesture.
To the figure, to the pose. So
if you're trying to frame the photoshoot, or
the photographs, you really can't do that at the same time.
So enough on photography,
except to just remind ourselves that good
photographs are done with an understand with these three
basic light structures. Ambient light,
form lighting, and rim lighting. Which
we'll describe next. And so, all good
figure photographers and portrait photographers are well away of these
things. And they exploit them to create their best
She's not exactly
symmetrical. She favors, a little bit, her left side.
But as a set up it's almost
best to think of it as a symmetrical pose.
In places her hair describes her head,
in other places the hair takes on a more free
life of its own.
Hair, like a drapery, can
also describe the head and it
can also, in its movement,
And you should always think of the rhythms when your drawing the hair.
Or the drapery.
Couple of the greatest designers of hair
would certainly include
Alphonse Mucha or Charles Dana Gibson.
discuss, before this series of
lectures and demonstrations is complete, we'll discuss
also how to idealize eyes,
lips, and how to
idealize male figures and heads too.
idealize male figures and heads too.
It's best to keep a
woman's neck slender and graceful.
Tapering gradually toward the shoulder.
Let's just lift this up slightly
and we can see better what we've done.
And that will let my half tones
fall back into an even
lighter effect. Let's start with the eyebrow.
This now is
the stage we call refining and designing, but already
done the spacing and placing. So this is your next step.
You don't settle for what you've already
created. You're not just merely
going over it, you're trying to improve it. And the
shapes and the edges
and the rhythms. Remember, it's generally best to
keep your pencil sharp.
You can use a manual pencil sharpener.
And in some settings, like in a life drawing class, they may be even
more convenient. But except for that,
I almost always prefer an electric eraser.
I'm sorry, an electric sharpener.
Electric erasers have their place too, in
other subject matter which I'll touch on later.
But you wanna make it
as easy for yourself to just reach over and sharpen your pencil.
Rather than having to get up, go
to the other part of the room, and every time you want to sharpen your lead you have to
disrupt your train of thought.
if you do get an electric pencil sharpener,
please make sure you test it at the counter, using just
a number two pencil, or anything else like that.
Make sure that it allows you to get a very, very
tight, sharp tip.
Anything less and you haven't really sharpened your pencil.
The edges of these hemispheres,
which are her irises,
they should be softened slightly
because we're talking about a wet
surface. That of the eye. And
if they're too hard edged all around, then
it just looks too graphic and painted on.
So give it a certain softness.
Keep the edges on the highlight
blend them out. It will look like she has an unnatural film
over her eye if you do. So the highlight should
be pretty hard or firm edged.
And don't draw the highlight too large.
do soften the edges on the iris
make sure you don't lose the regular geometry
of the rounded iris.
So when you're
designing your edges, be very careful not to design
in a way the forms - the shapes and the
forms that you designed already
for the sake of edges by themselves. They're not as important
as the shapes.
But there's no reason they can't both be very good
looked at any of my drawings, at least
seriously, and been able to say well, that's
great. There's nothing I can do to improve it. With your
three basic values - three basic
elements, which is shape -
which are shape and
value and edge,
you can get endless
different solutions to the same subject matter.
And you may get
a little bit of distraction when I lift -
the noise made when I lift the tracing paper,
but there are a couple reasons why you want to do this at home.
You do want to see what you're drawing, without distraction, from the wire
frame beneath it. Also, if you lift the
paper taut, watch what you can do
paper taut, watch what you can do
it's like drawing on air. You can get such a
fine gradation of half tone.
So it's a good thing to practice that. It will serve you well.
for your lightest half tones.
These side planes are not in shadow.
They're just in half
tone. Well, right here
it does verge on shadow so I'm gonna darken that a little more.
Now before I get too far onto anything
else, let's finish off.
We've done the eyes and the nose. Let's do the third facial feature,
Here the corners of the upper lip
drop off into a shadow, but a very slender
The pillars of the lip,
those vertical planes opposite the philtrum,
they can be
accented a little bit at their root.
Her lips are slightly parted
which is interesting.
Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Baroque
sculptor, architect, painter, and
He is well known for his innovation
frequently choosing to sculpt his subjects with
the lips parted as though they were just about to speak.
emphasis was something that
hadn't really been very developed before.
And it made a real difference in the sense that
that sculpture, that marble or bronze,
was a real person just about to
you know, engage you.
here again, these are good ideas that you might want to
develop in a photo shoot.
Here's the tragus overlapping the center of the
ear. Here's the form opposite, called the
antitragus, which is
a form at the end, opposite, at the end
of the shell, opposite the tragus.
We'll skip the earrings for now.
We actually do get a narrow strip of shadow
on the left size of her head.
is one of the greatest illustrators of my generation
and he, when asked
what the most important skill
was for an illustrator
or portrait artist or a painter,
he replied it was being able to work in very close
values. You know, the more capable of
perceiving just the ever so slight
changes in close values. And if you
can't do that, then your work is gonna
be confined to much heavier, less subtle
treatment. And that's not
what we need in many cases.
It's also important to be able to lay down
your strokes so that, like a plane
landing on a runway, they
gradually meet the surface beneath them.
In this case, the forehead.
don't see any texture in the body of her hairdo
but we see it right here
at the scalp.
So I'm just getting the form of this
bun, turning it
into its front plane
and its side plane.
Now I'm turning the hair into its darkest part
at the top plane above
the hair line.
And I can go ahead and place this in any direction of shapes that I like.
But if I go here, counter to these shapes,
and I overlap them,
it should work really well. There'll be a seamless
so I'm not gonna carry this one any further. but you'll notice that
the framing devices, like the hair, they can go
just as dark as you want. But there are no form
shadows within our subject like this.
Just at the edges. Now we're gonna move on
to our third example, which is a profile rim
the third of our forms. It's actually a composite
of either form lighting, in our case, if you look at the
photograph the light's coming from the right, plus a rim light coming
from the left. That's actually a second source of light.
Usually one is darker and the other
is much, much lighter. In our case the rim lighting is much lighter.
And that's typical. It can also be combined, though not in this
example, with ambient light. Such as what we
did here. And then the rim light is shown
from slightly behind the model. It's often used
in American poster illustration because it gives it a lot of zing and pop
and you're describing the form not just with your
one light source, your main one, but you're also coming at it and describing it from the
opposite side. So it really actually gives you the best sense of form
of any of our three form,
ambient or form or ambient - it's a stronger sense of
form. It's often used in
interiors where you may have a figure
backed to a window
and so you have your light inside the room but you also have your
light streaming in through the window and back.
For painters, that's interesting because usually the light coming from
the outside through the window is a cooler, more bluish light.
And then the interior lighting is generally a warmer light. So you can
also turn the form not just with the shape, the edges, and the
value, but also with the color.
So most of you are going - if you're not already doing it - you're gonna
wanna move on to painting. And it's a circumstance to set up.
And another good example of why, if you're doing a photoshoot for this type of lighting
it helps to have an assistant who can move the rim light
and make adjustments as you go. Okay, and the other thing is
we have not quite a profile, but a near profile. We see very
little of the three quarter side and
we'll also have facial hair. The key with the facial hair
is, of course it's much darker than the skin,
it's almost as dark, really, as your darkest darks.
But it still has planes too. Observe
that here, at the underplane of the chin, the
form of the shadow - the form of the beard turns into
shadow. And follows the line of the jaw too.
Good. Okay. Now let me introduce
a useful element.
When you're drawing like this - I'm right handed, and so as I move from right to left
there's a tendency of smearing when my hand actually touches
against the drawings before. Prisma holds its shape pretty
well but charcoal or graphite, they would probably smear away
significantly. Either way, you can take
an additional sheet of tracing paper,
or if you have clear acetate, that works very well
but it's not needed. If you don't need to refer to
what you've drawn then you can just use like photocopy paper.
Anything cheap that will cover up the drawings
and protect them from smearing as you move your hand over them.
I'll just tape this tracing paper
down so it's firm
as in all cases, if you're using tape
it's best to use a
type of tape like blue painters tape or a low
masking tape or drafting tape.
So you can pull it up without tearing your drawing.
Typically, in almost all cases, I'm gonna start
a junction between the horizontal
and vertical axis, just above the bridge of the nose.
Again, the eyebrow curves
in rhythm to the frontal prominence and arches
up over the forehead
Before we move on elsewhere
we want to draw
the opposite side of the bridge of the nose. And here it falls
into shadow. Also, continue that
description of the bridge here to the edge of the nasal
and then toward the
tip of the nose and the septal cartilage.
Focusing on where the form turns from light to
shadow. Not within the light and not within the shadow, but where they
meet. Again that's where the story is told.
Where the two come together.
The nose has a little more
ruddiness and complexion than most of the rest of the head. So I just put a half
the base of the nose and the root of the nose.
Now, this is an opportunity not just to trace over what you designed
but to exploit what you've designed and to
Every time you make an additional pass over a drawing
it should be with a mind to
improving what you've already designed.
Careful with the angle of the point of the nose.
Here's where the wing of the nose turns from light into
again with the
light coming from right to left, we're catching the light right here
above the nostril.
Very important to design this set of planes carefully.
Notice the angularity
septum and base of the nose. Calling this a ball
of the nose is definitely a misnomer. It is by no means
shaped like a ball. And now
opposite the philtrum, at the pillar of the lip, we're gonna turn the form
that. And then I'll put in a half
tone plane here to describe the turning of the Orbicularis
In half tone.
The beard of course has texture.
Quite different from the skin, but before I get too caught up in that,
I'm going to
draw its shape and give it a sense of form.
On the silhouette it turns back, the mustache.
Now, here's where our drawing of the tooth cylinder can help.
Here's a diagonal
and at this point we get a similar
Alright, we've designed
and located the peak of the lip,
corner of the upper
lip, and the near
corner of the upper lip on this side.
Upper lip is not too deep.
Especially in this perspective.
And it clasps, overlapping the lower lip here.
Now our form light is coming from this
Not so much from above, but from the side.
Get a sense of overlap. That's where the mustache overlaps the
Using the local complexion of the lip
and the half tone, I'm gonna
model the form of the lower lip.
And place the upper lip essentially in shadow.
Always emphasis on
the corner, the peak, and the corner of the upper lip.
The beard overlaps
the mustache about here.
And that's the angle
of the silhouette of the beard.
Understanding the Orbicularis oris muscle
at the bottom of the tooth cylinder is gonna help us design
the growth of facial hair.
And before I go any further, let me
pause and do for rim lighting
what I previously did for each of these other examples.
Ambient and form lighting. So let's
place our egg.
This is an egg
not - it has no three quarter, profile, or front view because,
like a sphere, no planes change
there is no such thing really - well there is, I mean
this is a profile axis, but aside from that
here's what we've got when we're talking about rim lighting.
The light now is coming from the right.
That's a very ugly looking arrow, but you get the point.
But if this were the egg, it would turn away from the light
like this. As any other form lighting situation would.
That's the edge between the light and shadow
Now we'll just fill it in with its shadow value.
We'll put a half tone over the
form lighted side.
Okay, so this suggests
that there's another light source, coming from behind
or to the side.
So your main light source is your form light, and this is your rim light.
And this is a simple diagram
of rim lighting. And that's gonna
dictate our approach to this subject.
With the light coming from the side, not from above
we're gonna get the underplane
of the brow lighted up. So this area
is not in shadow, but in light.
It still overlaps the upper lid quite
Here's the turning of the
forehead at the frontal prominence.
And this is in
parallel alignment to the temple.
it's not the brow overlapping the eye, it's the
eye overlapping the brow. Here
behind it is the brow.
Make sure you give some depth
to the upper lid and
The iris becomes elliptical
in such an angle.
No longer strictly circular.
The placement of the iris really helps
more than just its own right. It helps us
judge smaller shapes relative to it.
So this is part of that refining and designing
stage I mentioned.
Don't let that highlight get too
big or soft-edged.
Here we see the actual ball of the eye
turning in front of the tear duct.
Side plane of the nose
glides gradually over
Which is this shape.
these aspects of the nose are in shadow.
Don't lose the crispness of your shapes
for the sake of
putting down even an even tone.
So if you design the shapes first
and then the edges, then you'd put down
the shadow value.
Be careful not
to focus only on that, but also to maintain
the clarity and form
that you're developing with your
Remember, the part of the eyeball we're seeing is from the
to the lower half of a globe.
The lower hemisphere.
The ball of the eye turns into
a very light half tone.
Right here, the bottom of the eye socket
turns into a half tone against the light source.
So don't go too
For sake of drama, you could darken it
But I'll just play it by the book. I'll treat it as
a half tone.
Here, the turning back of this form
follows the rhythm of the tooth cylinder.
front to its side plane.
map it out before I apply any value to it.
This turning follows the muzzle
A half tone here follows closely the brow ridge.
Now we don't
see where the hair grows out of the forehead, but we see where
the hair overlaps the forehead.
Overlaps the forehead, and in turn the forehead overlaps the hair.
So we're gonna soften that edge, then proceed.
Here is the rim, or helix,
of the ear.
is lighted by the rim light
And then the ear
because of the rim light, casts a shadow
over the - just above the angle of the jaw.
The hair at the nape of the neck,
keep it a little bit soft. It's not slicked
back so it's not got a hard edge.
Stuck back over here to the front plane
of the face.
This is where the beard
turns from its front plane to its underplane
and then angles back
toward the neck.
Soften the edge a little bit.
Primarily the hair has firm to soft edges.
the edge firms up, becoming almost
a hard edge.
Make sure you have a slight curvature at the front
of the neck. Slightly convex.
curving up, over the mastoid muscle.
here we pick up
the rim light on the left,
illuminating the mastoid muscle
against the form shadow of that
shadow extends to
the collar bone.
rim light lights up the back of his head
Alright, now it's time to
paint in the values
within the shapes and planes that we've described
Here the hair echoes the brow
You can see how important
it is to use a slip sheet or my arm and wrist would be
smearing the drawings otherwise.
Make sure you get that beard -
that form so that it has to turn under
Here the form turns back at the zygoma.
Beard or not
we still see the form of the
of the jaw at the chin.
So we have to understand this
structure of the head and the rhythmical and
anatomy of it for artists.
But we also really have to key on the light.
We don't see anything - no form,
nothing at all, without light.
And that's why, when I'm putting light and shadow
over a designed head
I have to be very careful
that I know
exactly what direction the light's coming from and what my light
conditions are. Ambient, form, rim.
Usually you don't want to let the lightest
value within your light pattern continue all the way to the
value within your light pattern continue all the way to the
should - the silhouette is defined in a three dimensional
form as the last half tone
before the back ground.
So now let me remove this slip sheet.
Sorry for the noise.
Just be a moment.
Okay. So we see here: rim light,
ambient light, form light without a rim light.
I have my students do this exercise
every term. And I definitely encourage them to do it
This is sketchy. I'm not gonna make it fine,
overly sensitive drawing, I want to just get the
planes across and how to describe the form in the light.
Okay. Good. So do these exercises
choose good photos, and make sure you learn in the process
the distinctions between the different kinds of lighting.
Free to try
1. Lesson Overview1m 13sNow playing...
Watch the whole lesson with a subscription
2. Shapes, Values, and Edges21m 12s
3. Form Lighting Demo (Part 1)23m 14s
4. Form Lighting Demo (Part 2)24m 26s
5. Ambient Lighting Demo (Part 1)25m 32s
6. Ambient Lighting Demo (Part 2)25m 3s
7. Rim Lighting Demo (Part 1)25m 52s
8. Rim Lighting Demo (Part 2)26m 14s