- Lesson details
Now that you’ve internalized the fundamental techniques and concepts related to Frank Reilley’s rhythmic abstraction of the head, Mark encourages you to tackle more nuanced angles, poses, and expressions of the portrait in the final lesson in his series. He demonstrates various approaches using toned paper and colored pencils, as well as a technique for creating rich blended tones using a combination of wax pencil and mineral spirits on a printed vellum copy.
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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In this final unit, we're going to be presenting some different
rendering approaches, so we're gonna start off drawing difficult
angles of the head. And we'll also cover facial expression, which
can't be well drawn unless you can draw the head at rest. As the protégé of the
famous Fred Fixler, who 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. When
you only have a few minutes, you only have time to draw the most important
salient features and points that present themselves.
It'll just be a reminder that we wanna always keep the big
picture in mind, no matter how much small detail we're able to put into a
finished drawing. It really does represent a summation of what we've done
throughout this entire course. And again, thanks for bearing with us
this is a lot of material but so much the better.
final unit we're going to be presenting some
different rendering approaches. This unit incorporates
everything you've learned before. Particularly the planes
of the head from Unit 4, obviously the
anatomy from the beginning, and the Frank Reilly
head abstraction. But it gives us an opportunity
to explore some different mediums and some different grounds.
So we're gonna start off with
drawing difficult angles of the head.
Three or four at least. And I'll use a
gray paper with some sepia
and some burnt sienna or terracotta
wax pencils and in one case a pastel pencil.
And in another case just black and white
on the gray surface.
We'll also cover facial expression, which we haven't covered
and can't be well draw unless you can draw the head at rest.
So that will be covered
and we're also going to have
a technique that I refer to as vellum and wax.
And this is an approach that is heavy on
drawing - well all of this is. And it can yield an actual
very photographic kind of a look, or less so
it can be expressive and loose either way. Altogether
that gives you a lot of material for homework. You should be
able to practice by, in the case of difficult
angles of the head, perhaps you can take photos of a friend
and then print those out so that you have angles
looking up into the head or down and across the head
or the head rotated or one quarter view seen from the back.
These are challenges. But you have to practice
them and that's the only way you'll get over
a little bit of an overwhelming feeling that at first you might feel. So for homework,
in most cases,
except the difficult angles where I think you'll probably need to find friends to pose
for you, you might find it online or we have a library
of photos too. But you'll need to get
those and draw from them. And when we do quick sketch too
we will have a chance to do all kinds of angles on the head.
For quick sketch, the best homework I think is to
use either the pose book that we published,
the Female Nude 1, or there are some other good pose books
out there and there are some figure and head reference
online that you can use as well. It shouldn't be
hard to find material. When I was a student, back in the early 80s
we didn't have an internet to help us, so we had to really work a little bit
harder to go ahead and locate resources. But they're abundant and
the only thing that's limiting you is your time
and your energy. Okay. So that's what we're covering
and let's get onto it. So in this lesson
we're going to take three or four angles of the head that are not
eye level. They may be profile, three quarter, or front view
but they'll be tilted forward or back or rotated or
tilted from side to side, or any combination thereof. When doing this
I'll draw some, sketch them out a little bit quickly and then
carry them further afterward, so you can see how to render a little bit.
But I think the one takeaway I'd like you all to have
today is the focus on the three volumes of the head.
I mention this all the time. So in our example,
a downshot, the model - the cranium on the
model is foremost. I remind you
that it takes up three quarters of the full volume of the head.
So we can see it clearly. Now I'll draw it in a minute. I want you also
to look at the cheekbone, running from the ear to the bottom of
the mouth. That is a diagonal thrust that represents the
facial mass. The third mass of the
head is the jaw. And so we find that beneath
the cheekbone, beneath the underplane of his mouth,
and running to the spine of the mandible.
Now fitting within these volumes, or adding to it, like in the case of the ear,
we have the features so that the volume of the cranial
mass overlaps the facial mass at the brow. And the
nose projects forward, almost like a bridge
between the cranial mass above it and the face and overlaps
the tooth cylinder, which is a part of the volume of the facial mass.
And then the lips, depending on the model,
they can project forward or even fall backwards.
But together the main thing with those is to remember that they are part of
the tooth cylinder that surrounds them. The abstraction
helps greatly in this case. We can use that to form
a bridge under the eye, all the way to the jaw
and that bridges the muzzle. We also clearly see the tooth cylinder
within it, surrounding the mouth, the
chin mound beneath that, and at the top of the head we see
the frontal prominence. That highlight that you observe
actually describes its position. So
those are parts of the head that we've gone over in the
abstraction itself. And we're gonna try and use those as we develop the head.
Okay, for starters, we wanna show the front angle
of the head. This
the key shape - the keystone shape at the top of the eye down
to the base of the chin, just like that. I'm using
today a polychromos
pencil which is a wax based pencil and this particular
one is Indian red. So
it's very similar to Prismacolor wax pencil and I just
felt I'd like to do something with a little color to it. We're also gonna be using some
white, either polychromos, or some white
Prismacolor to bring out the
form and crest lights and highlights.
At this point the brow is much lower on the head then with an eye level
drawing or angle.
And so here we're gonna curve
this volume that represents the brow.
Now here, don't seek out the tip
of the nose, instead half way from the brow to the chin is where
the nose attaches to the facial mass. Tip of the nose
actually covers it up and follows down farther, as we'll see.
The base of the mouth, under the tooth cylinder
here, you can see that clearly with the shadow cast
by the lip. We wanna
always keep a good bearing on what's going on with the side plane of the head
and that would be at the temple.
Okay before I get any further, let's start to develop
the form along the overlapping
Here he has a furrow in his brow
that right there. Here the brow overlaps
the eye socket.
And there's the opposite brow.
There's a slender
form shadow along the cranium
and then everything curves back toward the
apex of the cranium.
this is the nasal bone
and beyond it
the angle of the bridge.
And these are the septal cartilages that fall
to either side of what is sometimes referred to as
the ball of the nose. I don't like that
term because there are far more angles to this nose than
there are rounded, spherical shapes.
In any angle, but especially in these
unusual or exotic angles
the overlaps are gonna be your best friend. So if you can get that
eye socket overlapped by the brow
you're a good ways toward getting it right.
Here we're gonna
go ahead and design the
base of the nose and there's a
shadow falling over the tooth cylinder
and then here we'll notice
that from the septum
down, this is the general
angle of the tooth cylinder. That's the front axis of the
tooth cylinder. And now we can draw the
philtrum, overlapped by the nose.
And let's design the mouth.
If I take a line
from the wing of the nose
that's parallel to the angle of the bridge of the nose and I move
my way upwards, I'll find the tear duct.
But everything is shrouded in shadow
so let's go over the bridge with the shadow here
and then down the side plane of the nose, here,
and then across the front angle of the face
we're gonna suggest a few creases, but we're not gonna go crazy
with that. It's the form not the
texture that matters.
Notice this angle and this angle are
sympathetic to each other. So you wanna bear that in mind as you create them - as you
design them. Notice several
small creases along the way here, here.
Not gonna go too crazy with
those right now but we can suggest a few.
And if you look at the photo and squint,
it's easy to make out the shape of the entire socket
with one value for the darks.
Not itty bitty details within it. If we wanna draw those
later, we can. But you still have to remember that they're covered in shadow.
And it's the shape of that shadow that will dictate
try to keep your pencil nice and sharp. I'll take a moment to show
you something. Sometimes the pencil has a little
stamp on it, paper
with adhesive at the back. You want to strip that off.
That's just for the sales people. If you get
this into your pencil sharpener, it might
jam it. It probably will, so let's take that off.
That's the far
side of the tooth cylinder, overlapped by the nose.
we pick up some of the
lashes from his right eye,
extending in front of
this overall shadow shape, which now I'll fill in just like I did with his
This shadow goes over the tooth cylinder
and then here
off describing the muzzle as it overlaps the
Let's go back to the mouth.
And here we find a
crease that represents the tooth cylinder overlapping
the - I'm sorry that represents the
muzzle overlapping the tooth cylinder.
a form created by the triangularis muscle coming up from the jaw.
I'll do a couple quicker ones
so I can show you how to really simplify it
but for now, let's carry this one a little bit farther.
Here the muscle
comes up under the lower lip.
can erase now, if I like, the axis - the vertical
axis that I drew at first. And I can erase
what else? The front axis here
of the tooth cylinder.
The highest point lines up just
outside the left eye.
And the cast shadow here looks like this.
Here's the tooth cylinder
in silhouette and beyond that
Shadow turns diagonally.
Okay, now to go back and complete
the head, we wanna see here
side plane of the cranium and here
we wanna see the cheek bone. he's got a gaunt
head to begin with, so that's pretty easy to find
here the zygomatic process
at a very steep angle.
Getting the ear positioned
correctly is very important in
conveying the angle of the pose.
The jaw is actually
behind the ear, at the lobe.
Here is the pit of the neck at the tendon to the
And the shadow wraps
over the collarbone and down
over the torso.
You can always go back
and select the
areas in the head that are gonna be the most
are gonna be the darkest.
while at the same time
making any adjustments
to your shapes or your scale or your placement.
You can suggest a few of the furrows in his forehead
but I suggest to you that you keep them mostly on the
edge of the shadow pattern and not too
much within the light pattern. At least at this point.
Because they're not really form itself, they're
actually almost like texture instead.
It won't help us get the pose and it won't help us get the form.
I'm still concentrating on
the, either the silhouette or the
edge of the form shadow as it turns
away from the light coming from
his left, our right.
We can come back to that a little bit more later.
But before I move onto the next one, in this case let me just put in
some of the form where it's reflected by the
So here I'm coming back into it
with a white Prismacolor wax pencil.
You can see clearly on this head where
the light is reflected at the turning of the front
plane of the cranium into its side plane.
Try to find
or to design those particular
places where one plane comes together and at that
point joins another
there reflects the light source.
You can do this with a
black pencil to start out. It doesn't have to be this
reddish earth tone.
So the hottest
spot, in fact we call it the hot spot,
is in this particular angle I'm lighting. The cranium itself -
I don't want to draw too light because I
still want to leave some room to put in those lightest lights.
The crest lights. But still given
the light source, the body value of the
cranium is the lightest part of the head. If you squint
you'll see that.
I'm not gonna bother with this kinda sketchy drawing but
Prismacolor does make a verithin pencil
which is much harder and finer
than the white prismacolor
so it's a good thing to have those on hand.
Okay. So there's an example of a down shot
and now we're gonna move on to another example with a
view, sometimes called a three quarter back view.
Here the muscles of the back
and shoulder overlap the neck and head.
What else is important in this pose,
the occipital bone lines up essentially with the base of the ear
and it's the back of the cranium formed by
six bones. The next one we see is the temple,
it's quite prominent between the ear and the crest light next to his
eye socket. And then we see a bit of the front and top
that would be the frontalis and
the parietal bones. We see clearly
that the jaw overlaps the face and the eye socket
and we see also that in this angle, it's the
eye socket - deep forms of the eye socket, the eyelid,
lashes, lower lid - that those
overlap above it the
brow bone and below it the nasal bone.
The facial mass overlaps,
having been overlapped by the masseter, it overlaps
the corner of the mouth and nose. So we barely see
the tooth cylinder overlapped by the facial
mass. And then the tooth cylinder turns under slightly,
we come to the chin and we find the underplane
of the mandible in shadow. Finally
at the neck we get the trapezius muscle coming up
around the back and we get the
shoulder overlapping the head.
This time I'm gonna switch to a pencil known as Stabilo, it's a
carbothello pencil. it's similar in color to the last
pencil I used, which is wax based, but I'll give you
another chance to experience a different tool. Let's see, where shall I put this
head? We'll place it here.
Put in a light line for the angle of the neck.
Now all the way
up through the occipital bone
and very close to the apex of the head.
Let's pick up the angle of the cranium
at the top of the head.
If this is the neck, and this is
the ear overlaps the head.
And then here,
this is the angle to the
apex, lining up above the ear
like that. And then angling down
like this. And then we find the
of the face and
overlap the back of the head at the
sternocleidomastoideus muscle here.
And here at the trapezius muscle.
Here's the angle of the masseter
muscle. The rim
or helix of the ear.
The rim overlaps the body of the ear here.
Sketching in the temple, lightly.
There's the front axis of the facial mass.
And here you can see the
underplane of the masseter muscle.
The bottom of the tragus
with the overlap
of the brow bone.
over the eye socket.
Here we're gonna drop just about a vertical
where the zygomatic process overlaps the eye.
we get the front plane of the zygoma.
There's the angle of the nose.
A shadow cast over the nose by the
There's a rhythmical relationship here
between the overlapping masseter muscle and the
S curve that we've created -
we've designed for the eye socket
and the eyebrow.
Here we find the overlap of the
and the zygomatic process.
Here's the muzzle, overlapping the tooth cylinder.
Corner of the mouth, right here
and as for the nose
we build the septal
cartilage on top of the bridge.
So now we're gonna go back in to what we've designed
and improve it.
There's a strong overlap here.
A lot of expression in the eyebrow here as it rises up onto the front
of the cranium. And then even
you can see the far side of it
beside the silhouette of his brow bone.
Here we see the shadow turning
under of the brow over the eye ball.
The eyeball comes out like this.
Let's make the nose
a little bit different at this angle.
And here at the septal cartilages.
So there's your masseter muscle overlapping the facial mass.
on the overlapping forms.
Keep the jaw nice and angular.
The shell of the ear
above the tragus.
The tones that you place for a dark pattern
just one stroke over the last. Try to keep it nice and simple and clean.
Areas where you placed construction lines
can be cleaned up very easily
The shapes cleaned up.
Putting down a few
carefully thought out half tones.
Again here we've got
the so called egg effect on his cranium,
this being the hot spot, everything else falling down in value from it.
Okay, that's good. I'm not gonna bother with the
whites - lights
at least until I do a couple more head angles.
At this time let's take a moment and switch heads.
and looking down, and now we have an upshot.
They call a worms eye view. I think I'll go
ahead and I'll continue with this, this is the
Stabilo pencil. Stabilo pencil's very much like a charcoal pencil -
sorry a pastel pencil. In fact it pretty much is. When I'm drawing with -
doing the underdrawing for
a pastel painting I'll use this
because it can give me kinda a linear feel or a slight tonal feel where I wanna use
that. Okay, so here
we have a situation where - let's think of a three volumes or
masses of the head. We have the jaw at the bottom, the
facial mass in between, and the cranium at the top. In an
upshot, the jaw dominates the angle.
And then we have a much narrower
facial mass. And the same goes for the cranium.
However we do see very much underneath the brow ridge and
underneath the base of the nose. Obviously
the same thing goes for the chin and the jaw.
The angles of the jaw, left and right, are considerably lower
than the chin, which is the front of the jaw.
The ears, that's the basic pivot point of the head, are
much lower relative to the features - or I should say
the features are much higher relative to the ears. In fact the top
of the ears line up with the - right at the top plane of the chin
or a little bit lower. And from
there on, we divide again into the features. So let me go
ahead and start off. This is not a pure front view but it's
very close. So I'm gonna put in my angle
with a slight diagonal to it.
And then I'm gonna go
from the base of the chin
to the top of the head.
Okay. That means
the bottom of the head, the underplane, is down here above
the neck. And those
ears are gonna be
the earlobes down at the position also.
There's the base
of the jaw and starting here at the
cranium we're gonna divide from the chin -
well first let me put in the brow line, where it overlaps the eyes.
Not the eyebrows, but the overlapping
bone and muscle.
And then we're gonna divide here to the base of the chin, first giving
us half way, the bottom
of the nose. And then, halfway from there,
of the mouth. We
also want to get - always stay aware
of the turning of the head at the temple.
And notice that this is still a vertical thrust
and at the face, the thrust is diagonal
running to the bottom of the tooth cylinder.
Okay, so here we find
on either side of the nose
the brow ridge and the obicularis
oculi muscle combining to overlap
the ball of the eye.
Kinda draw across
to keep your bearings.
The wings of the nose
here and here
can be useful in measuring on a
plumb line to the tear duct. This one
is less so. But that's fine
Almost like columns, let's build the
planes of the eye socket first.
I tried sharpening the pencil but
it jammed in the sharpener so while they're
doing their technical stuff, I'm gonna improvise, which is what you would
have to do if this were a real deadline or a real job.
So I have, first of all, the Indian red
which is the, it's made by Polychromos,
it's a wax based. I also have a verithin
which is terracotta, quite similar. This is wax
based but quite fine, made by Prismacolor. And then
I have another one, let's see what it says
I'll run a little test on the side.
It seems like it's a wax based pencil, and it's a slightly different
color, but it's close enough in the family that I'm gonna use it
anyway. Who knows, these kinds of things sometimes turn out to be
to your advantage. Don't count on that
though, but we will make it work. So here I'm gonna switch over to
the verithin terracotta pencil. This comes to a fine point
and holds its point pretty well. So
we'll start with that.
There is the top of the underplane
of his nose. And
that overlaps the face
and the brow above it.
So I'm just
recording the shape. Now here's the base of the
bottom of his nose. And this is the
angle to the septum, from the face,
and here's the angle of the
And here is the turning under
of the wing of the nose.
I'm gonna use a Staedtler Mars plastic eraser
because with a very firm wax
based pencil, such as the verithin,
you wanna be able to cut corners
using the right angles of the eraser. So it becomes a drawing
tool itself. And in a moment I'll show you
what that looks like.
Here you can see the four
corners of the eraser.
You can see its got four corners
that are cut at right angles. So I can use that to draw with.
So in a moment here have a look.
verithin wax pencil is the hardest of the pencils and so
naturally it's toughest to erase.
But I'm not drawing too dark and it's still
on this side of the nose, we get the nose turning into
shadow from right to left and
we have here the wing of the
And then the nostril curving
over the tooth cylinder
And there's a cast shadow
at the side of the wing.
So we're gonna go ahead and
fill in that shadow cavity like that.
Next we wanna find here the philtrum, or the pillars
of the lips and beneath that we find
here the upper lip overlapping the teeth
and then a slight tone for that upper
lip. Here this is describing the tooth cylinder
And let's find now the corner of the mouth.
It's far - if you do your plumb line work you'll see that
it's far over from the wing of the nose
in fact it's, gosh, I would say maybe
about here. The whole thing,
as with everything else, all these axis curve.
That's what happens when the head is foreshortened or
any volume is foreshortened in the figure.
And now we're
gonna take a line that arcs from the peak of the
lip to the corner of the mouth.
top of the tooth cylinder and then, if you remember the head abstraction,
it arcs around the whole mouth.
As it does here.
The lip's a little bit crooked. That shouldn't
knock us off stride, we just put
down the angle we perceive and then we see barely any
of the top of his lower lip.
Here the teeth turn back. Here
we find the
top plane of the chin.
Let's go back to the eye socket now.
So this is the eyebrow.
It's not the underplane of the socket. It rests -
it rests atop the underplane like this.
Tear duct is here.
Maybe there. And then the lower lid.
angles like this.
And then here's the top plane of the upper lid.
is the brow bone and muscle.
Side plane of the bridge of the nose
and we pick up the irises
leaving the underplane
of the upper lid to catch the light.
Try to get a pretty good sense
of the entire socket.
There's the form of the socket, turning away
from the light.
Okay, here's the
underplane of the chin at the mandible.
Let's try to get a good sense of the tooth cylinder itself and
its volume. So I'm gonna place a column of half tone on each
side of it.
Notice I can
express everything in the way of a
Here the turning back of the zygoma
Yeah, I can look at each of the major forms of the
head, whether it's the eye socket or the
chin mound or the nose or the volume
of the tooth cylinder. I can express all
of the above as I'm doing here, as though they were just cylinders.
Adjacent to each other, overlapping each other.
And then, on top of that, where it's
helpful, I can place the muzzle, which is of course
something you've studied in the abstraction of the head.
abstraction is always with me. I'm mentally projecting it onto
That pencil is pretty much
history, so I'm gonna switch over to another one.
Slightly different color, but in the same family
and a little deeper and darker, which wouldn't hurt.
The ears are
angled diagonally on the side of the head.
Seen from this angle, the ear is foreshortened
making it shorter from top to bottom.
Here is the spine of the mandible.
So because of the foreshortening of the ear, it's
The part of the ear dominated by the lobe
that we most proceed.
Okay definitely want to find the pit of the
the neck turning from its center to the side.
Just a half tone underneath the
Okay so we have the whole head laid in.
Now I'm just gonna go back
and emphasize those parts that need emphasizing, such as
the eyebrow. It's not just that it gives us the character of
the eyebrow, but it also, because of its angle, reinforces
the sense that we have a worm's eye view. An upshot of
Here's the underplane
of the brow.
I can't sharpen the pencil right now since the machine is jammed
we just have to adjust our grip and we can still
get close to what we want to have.
I always said that if you gave Norman Rockwell
a seat on the sidewalk and a stick
from a tree and then some mud
that he could still draw better with that
then almost any of us could with the best
tools available at the stores. So
this is gonna kinda test that premise.
I've never really actually done that but here we are.
I'll really draw an unnaturally graphic
silhouette shape with my
pencil such as it is.
Here we have
an important overlap
where the base of the nose overlaps the
the head and eye
sockets above it.
Let's see if I have anything
else in my reserve pencil stock.
Yeah, I do. It's a little bit like a
bull pen or a bunch of relief pitchers in a baseball game.
You should keep a few sharp ones at your side anyway because
this kind of thing could happen to you or
anyone. And that'll help
get past it.
In one sense I'm kinda glad it
happened because it shows you how it's not your tools
but it's the level of your drawing that
So for the next head that I draw
I'll just switch over to black wax
pencil highlighted with white
and that'll get the job done.
I am thinking, as I draw, about the montage,
the actual composition of these several heads.
It's not an after thought. You need to think about it and you really don't wanna just
line them up, bop, bop, bop, bop. Like rows.
Instead, think about
the composition as a whole and
try to make an interesting
montage out of your heads.
Never just draw the separation
between the teeth. Remember the teeth being light
reflect light into each other.
And so it's sufficient usually to just show
the point where the teeth come forward
here rather than
an artificial looking picket fence of teeth.
not only described the form over which it falls, but
it actually helps to frame the head.
And that will not only make it look better
aesthetically but it will tend to describe the form
better too. So it's an important aspect
of this drawing.
Not just an afterthought.
This ear is in
shadow so make sure you put it in shadow
One thing you can do -
this white pencil's a little bit dead but
you can actually go back and silhouette
the design you've created.
J.C. Leyendecker or Saturnino Herran.
Okay so now let's do
one last head.
I'm going to demonstrate
a technique that I developed
doing movie poster work. It's a very quick but very finished looking
technique that involves doing the drawing, in this
case from our head here, and then
photocopying that drawing onto vellum.
In this case, the product is known as clear print
HP1000. Then that
vellum, with the toner fixed to it, will be the
foundation for finishing. And that will be done
using - I'll use black Prismacolor wax pencil and verithin
turpenoid. Orderless turpenoid will be my medium that I mix with it.
Very small amount which goes a very long way.
And to do it, I'll be using kneaded erasers,
plastic eraser, and Q tips.
Okay so our subject will be this gentlemen
and I think we can see he's got a very nice
craggy head, the planes are quite angular
contrasted with a very round cranium,
features are very clear, the nose is a little longer
than the standard nose, but with age the cartilage does grow
too. So that's a factor here. It's been shot with a somewhat short lens
so the ear is somewhat smaller than it might normally be
in life but we'll disregard that. Important to know
notice these things though. We can talk
about the three volumes of the head as we should when we start any drawing
of the head. So we have here the cranium, quite large
and round, and we have then the facial mass
overlapped by the brow and extending down beneath the lower teeth
and then up again to the point where the zygoma
turns to the side and toward the ear.
We also have the jaw, clearly overlapped here by the face
and here too. And then at the bottom of the tooth cylinder
overlapped so that the chin forms the front of the jaw
and then much of the jaw is in shadow. It's a three quarter view
so we don't see as much on this side.
Now characteristic here
are the small wrinkles and creases and
we have a lot of those, especially in the vicinity of the features.
The eye socket and the mouth most of all.
People tend to fall in love with this texture.
Remember though, texture is not form per se
The form is what we find along the volumes I just mentioned.
So but we want to indicate the
craggy nature of his head and to include textural elements.
Though we can edit them to the degree that we want. I'm gonna actually take
this opportunity to explore them and develop them. We haven't done a head
with this much texture up until now and it's a lot of fun
to do but you do have to keep every element in its place.
It's as though you're a symphony conductor and you're, you know, working on
the wood winds and then working on the percussion and then working on the
brass, so everything has to be in proper relation to
everything else. Our value structure, if you squint,
becomes simple. Shadows above the eyes, dark
irises, shadow cast by the nose, shadow of the
upper lip and lower lip and then along the spine of the jaw
and up to the zygomatic process, running along
the side plane of the head. And then a strip of shadow
on this side of the head as well as shadow within the ear.
The clothing may not be in the shadow
but it's intrinsically dark, so it's part of our dark pattern
also. We may decide to put some of the darker background
to stage our subject. We'll decide later in the drawing about that.
Okay so that's our photo reference. From
that you do a drawing.
Now I've already done that. And the drawing
can be done on bond paper. Any kind of paper you want except
a tone paper. In this case I drew on a tracing paper
and it can easily be erased. It's non absorbent.
So that's one of the things that you're looking for with your vellum. You don't wanna do this
on an absorbent type of paper. Once you've done the
drawing - and you'll see here I've tried to
make my stroke with a little bit of direction to them
and move the stroke down the head so we can
continue the big shape and direction of the head. It's
dangerous with this much texture because it's possible to break up the whole
thing into a kaleidoscope of little shapes that don't add up to anything.
So you really wanna maintain the woods
while drawing the trees. Don't lose one at the expense
of the other. So that
point you're going to take this drawing,
put it on the glass of a photocopy machine that has a bypass.
My copier at my studio has one
and I can bypass onto different kinds of paperstock. Anything from
acetate to colored or
gray paper. And in this case onto
vellum. That's the surface that we're gonna use
for the vellum and wax technique that I'll demonstrate now.
So let me show you what that looks like.
Vellum is a little bit like tracing paper but instead of being
mostly transparent, it's
more translucent. First I
ran run one like that and it's too dark so
I set it aside
and I ran another one, a lighter version.
And this is on clear print HP 1000
vellum. It comes in a pad and this pad
is 11 by 17, I just cut it in half to make a
an eight and half by 11 which is a standard format.
Okay. So here was our
original drawing and here is our drawing photocopied onto
clear print HP1000 vellum.
I'm just setting the
darker drawing aside. By the way
it's nice also to keep a record of what you do
so I photocopied it onto regular
printer bond paper for my records.
Let's just set this up so it won't wiggle around too much.
at some point during the rendering I may
untape it so I can turn it to the side or what have you so I can get a better
angle on a particular plane. And now before I start
let me point something out about planes.
Planes almost always, unless it's a
cube or a beam, or pretty much
just that, planes have one side that's harder than the other.
So in our case, this edge on this very small
plane is harder than this edge to the right. Same is true
here. Also you'll notice here the
nasal labial band overlapping the tooth cylinder
has a harder edge where the overlap occurs than it does here
at the fullness of the cheek. These
planes creating the mouth have harder edges where the upper lip
overlaps the lower lip. And in the corner.
Cast shadows tend to have harder edges, but
cartilage that's near the surface, or bones,
tend to have firm edges. The soft edges are found where the
form is roundest. Alright. What I'm gonna do
next is to lay some of the Prismacolor
pencil, wax, onto the vellum. So
let's start by doing that. By the way the drawing is quite nice
already in terms of let's suppose I were to do a drawing just like
this, it could be used for editorial illustration, portraiture,
advertising, movie, a whole host of things. I'm just gonna
take it to another level. It tends,
when it's done right so let's cross our fingers, it tends to
look somewhat photographic. I developed this
technique personally when I was working on
Kenneth Branagh's movie Frankenstein with Robert De Niro and
everything in that series of drawings and movie comps
was very dark,
low key work, you know,
almost a film noire type of a feeling to it.
So I'm just going back here into the areas
that we've already established that belong to our dark pattern.
And I'm holding to the edges that I
describe to you.
I don't need very much because when I put down a Q tip
moistened by just a touch of odorless
turpenoid, it's gonna go very far just by that.
It'll go black. Naturally if I put down
a little less wax somewhere else where I don't want it to go full black
it will go darker but not black.
If I've done it right then after I've applied
the darkest tones with the Q tip - and I'll use
kleenex by the way also to apply some of the pigment
which is wax - then just whatever remains on the Q tip
or on the kleenex is gonna be enough to go over the areas
which are presently white and give them a half tone.
And I can go back into that half tone
and I can darken it further, using
verithin pencils, very soft, very subtle - I'm sorry very
hard edges but creating soft, subtle effects.
I can use Prismacolor pencil there too.
going this dark, which isn't really wholly black
you can see how much punch it gives to the drawing.
The plane beneath his lip
is a little complex.
If I were just to squint at his head and simplify it,
do away with a lot of these small textural planes
it would be simple enough. But it does include those in my
rendering. So I have to select carefully which areas
go the darkest.
How about the side plane of his head. Well that goes quite dark so let's -
I'm not really pushing very hard on this pencil and even here you can see how
dark it goes. Normally you'd have to really push down
with some force on a sharpened wax pencil to get it this dark
but not now.
You can get a good number of drawings done in
one sitting if that's necessary
using this approach.
And I think I did nine -
nine very tight wax
drawings using this technique for the film
and most of them had three of the four
characters. That would be
Frankenstein, his bride,
and the doctor.
So you can see it can go pretty fast.
There are also ways of using this to
approach to be very broad and loose. I
know a couple artists who adopted this procedure
and almost always use it in a very loose, broad manner.
I really don't want to eliminate all the pencil
strokes. I fine them decorative. I like designing them
So I'm not gonna try to obliterate everything and make it look
Just not too much pressure.
Just overlapping my strokes as I go. This doesn't take any more
time to do it nice and clean than it does to do it
fast and sloppy.
Let's put down our tone here.
Not at right angles to the previous strokes, but
at the same time not parallel. So I'm going at a slightly different angle
Not sure much of that
texture will show up anyway once we apply the Prisma - I'm sorry
not the Prisma but the turpenoid.
I just put a very little amount of the turpenoid
in a small container.
Even that's probably a lot more than I'll be using.
Remember turpenoid is just
odorless paint thinner.
I'm pretty used to it so the smell of
paint thinner doesn't really bother me but many people don't like it and if
you're working especially in your home it can cut down
it can cut back that smell, it'll eliminate it.
like paint thinner,
turpenoid is flammable, so be
careful in your work space to keep it away from any open
flames or fire place or anything like that.
rags, paper, Q tips, kleenex,
anything that you have permeated with
paint thinner or turpenoid, it's
best to dispose of that and do not leave it around the house or the
garage. It can actually combust
when you least expect it.
I'm glad that's never happened to me but I
have artist friends to whom it has happened.
And that involves burning down whole
studios. So - or worse.
It's actually best if you have a little container that's got a lid - like a
screw on lid. It does evaporate quickly
also. Very volatile. Which is one of the reasons
it's so good in this particular approach.
I'll just let that fade off. Okay.
We should be able now, using kleenex
tissue, not paper towels. Not
t-shirt rags. And
cotton Q tips.
Be prepared to go through
quite a few cotton Q tips.
I just don't like the bottom of the page to curl up and possibly catch
my hand as it goes over it, causing a dog ear or a
let's start here with just the tiniest little touch
on a Q tip. In fact,
what I often do is this. Let's take a darker version
that I printed up of the drawing and
on it, I'm gonna create just
as though this were a pallet, I'm gonna create a puddle of what
would become virtually black paint.
When I touch that with the Q tip - well let's touch it with
first with a dry Q tip so you can see,
a little bit of movement but not much.
notice what happens when I
touch it with the turpenoid. So
this is gonna evaporate off of the Q tip. We're gonna use a number
of Q tips, but let's start with the known darks.
Just try to apply the
little bit of this turpenoid in an even manner.
If I wet
this Q tip more than I have
I can bring this down to pure black.
But I actually choose to keep it just short of pure
black. Look how much that one, not even a drop
of turpenoid can go.
I'm even now going over
to the other side and I don't have to even refresh the
Q tip with more turp.
can do your original drawing. I used wax pencil on top of
tracing paper, but you can do it using anything
You could use graphite, you could use pastel, pastel pencils
Conté, charcoal. Because
what you're gonna be drawing on is actually the toner.
from your copier. The whole reason for doing
the toner part is because the
darks are fixed. If I did this on top of my original
which would be the wax pencil,
it would, in the process of smearing, obliterate
the original drawing. And that might be a very negative
effect because there are times you need to go back to that
drawing. Okay, well that was simple enough. Let's
take a little bit more
and go back to our puddle of black here.
And let's come back in
behind the jaw.
what if you did a bunch of these drawings and then came back
into them one by one
and finished them up? It could be very
efficient and it can also be a good finish
technique for such subjects as
storyboards, other subjects as well.
Have to be careful now, you worked
hard to establish a good drawing. If you're putting down this
medium on top of it, you don't want to lose the drawing in
the process. And it's easy to do if you're not careful.
In particular stay conscious of the edges.
I recommend not going right up to the edge in most cases
because you can do that with your verithin pencil after
the fact. Or with
one of the Q tips that's pretty well evaporated.
And allows you to get a little more subtly.
Here this is not subtle at all. The only thing subtle about it is the way I'm
carefully following my design. Otherwise this is
just knocking down blacks almost at the touch of the Q tip.
Starting to evaporate
a little bit, perfect, that's what I want for this region.
Let me put up the photograph and you'll see.
In fact let me tape that photograph in place
you can all look at what I'm looking at.
And how I'm controlling my values.
I'll let that edge
soften a little bit.
refresh it again. Notice I've used one drop of Q tip
of turpenoid rather. Now let's set up
another little pool
and we'll use a nano drop
wet. You can see a little bit of a residue right there.
It's a little more wet than I want it to be so I'll just take
a kleenex tissue and let some of it
melt into the tissue.
Remember there is some fresh wax
pencil on the drawing
also. So it's not just that little blob
of dark that I can rely on. I've got
black Prisma already on the drawing.
can use this like a pencil, putting down more or less pressure as I go.
This is simple form lighting,
you remember we had ambient light, we had rim light, and we had form light.
And the light in this case is coming from the upper right.
So the shadows are opposite that and we've got a little bit of reflected light
influence the edge of the shadow.
Now let's say I'm working on a movie
poster job and the art director
come running in and says hold everything we
don't have time to finish, we have to show it early.
So give me what you have. Even
at this stage what you have is probably good enough for them to make a
So don't get carried away
with one part of the drawing. Keep thinking of it as a whole.
You might notice I kinda
skip around even from here on the jaw
back up to the ear, then to the eye.
Because I really
am trained to see the whole thing, not each part.
I've worked hard at that and that's
why, like I say, at any given time you could say well alright
you need it now, here it is.
mass into other darks.
Here we don't make a distinction
with the form shadow at the base of his nose and the cast
shadow that it creates over the tooth cylinder. I have massed
the two together.
You can draw with a Q tip.
If you did only the Q tip
as your drawing tool with no pencil underneath
it would look mushy and almost formless
but in our case, we already
designed the shapes in the original drawing.
Be careful to refer back to your
photograph. You don't want to stray
or just make things up, even though you've already designed them in your original.
Here just the lightest of touch.
See it goes over the white areas too.
Creating half tones.
Add a little bit more.
Here the wax pigment is almost
dry as I put it down.
Doesn't look that way, but I don't know if you can hear
it, I'm scrubbing it now a little bit
because it's become so dry.
Now why is that? Well I don't want to
darken these planes that I've already designed. If you look
darken these planes that I've already designed. If you look
at the photograph, they're already borderline too dark
so hold back a little bit.
Here is the side plane of the nose at the
Now if I take
a verithin wax pencil, similar to a Prisma
but harder and therefore capable of a sharper point
and finer gradations of value, look what happens
I can work back into what I'm doing.
nice and fine those edges can be made?
So I use the two tools in conjunction with each other.
Try to keep
this pencil really sharp as you go.
The lower lip has more
complexion than the rest of the face.
So - but is a
careful and subtle thing. Be careful not to go too dark.
But at the same time you can't leave it white
that will not do at all.
It's all fun, the pencil or the Q tip
so, you know, play with it, practice it, see
which of the tools you like better and where you might want to use one
as opposed to the other.
Naturally, the parts that
are done more with the pencil will look a little grainier
than the parts that are done with the
but as I said, I kinda like brush work and paintings and
pencil strokes and drawings, so
it's really personal, artistic choice.
Very good for those subtle, little half tones.
of the close up shots, you'll really see how I hold the pencil, which is not
much different then just holding a pen, but keeping it
sharp makes all the difference.
I didn't bother in the original drawing to indicate these little planes and furrows
but it's not hard to do it now.
So we did most of the
heavy lifting using the turpenoid.
That is for our darkest darks. And now
many of the edges and the nuances, we're relying
much more on the verithin pencil.
If you go over an area that you've worked on significantly with a
verithin pencil, if you then use kleenex or
Q tip on top of that with
verithin - I'm sorry with the turpenoid -
it will just wipe away all that verithin work you did. So
you don't do that first, you do it at a point around this stage.
Okay and you've
already done the underdrawing so it doesn't involve
that much to do this.
Here we're gonna put an
ambient half tone over the cranium as it turns
away from the light source.
And here's where your understanding
of head structure comes in. We know that the tooth cylinder
wraps around the lips. And so I can
follow the tooth cylinder like this.
So instead of just the texture, we pick up
It's difficult for most people, even those
who understand head structure pretty well to
carry a drawing to a finish. I mean a genuine finish, not just
completion but done.
And this approach
because it gets you already half way there in your first drawing
is a very effective way to do that.
You see how nice and sympathetic that surface is
the clear print 1000 to
the application of the sharp verithin wax pencil.
Now I'm carrying this drawing much farther
than you would typically have to do
movie poster sketches and drawings
because I really wanna show you how to
that finished look.
The direction of your pencil strokes is very important. Here I'm
following the place of his cranium.
And softening a few edges on the silhouette
as I go.
Each of these,
this little wrinkles, the left side of the wrinkle is harder than the right
side so that they cascade and roll over each other, overlapping as they do it.
Remember the light is coming from
above. Look at the shadow under his nose if you have any doubt.
And so these planes on the jaw
are gonna be darker than the planes on the
I'm gonna give a little more complexion
to the nose, it typically does have that.
Just very lightly suggesting a couple creases in the forehead.
So this is definitely what we call
a rendering technique.
It's typically reserved
for describing a technique that will
carry something to a high degree of finish.
We can stop at any point, virtually, from now
on and call it finished, but let us
carry it a little farther for you all.
Okay now let's darken up the jacket
and remember to do that
black Prismacolor and saturate
an area of white, clear paper
like this. Go back and grab a Q tip
and just touch the turpenoid ever so
That will not only put
black Prisma and turpenoid on the Q tip, but it will also
affect the black Prismacolor and the toner.
Above the toner that is,
on the drawing itself.
If you don't have a photocopier that will do this, you could probably just use your
computer printer and then print out on vellum.
Be just as good.
There are other vellum surfaces
that you can use for this. You can experiment
as much as you'd like.
But there, that's more or less
what you can achieve. It can be carried even further with
if you want to spend a couple more hours on it, but I think
I already made clear to you the various
things that you can do with the tools. The tools again are
cotton two Q tip swabs, kleenex tissue,
not paper towels,
clear print HP 1000 vellum,
photocopier or a printer,
and black Prismacolor pencils. You can also come back in
depending on dark an area
has become and you can carve out
if you have a white, plastic
also a way of correcting the drawing, although you can't erase
the toner itself. What you can do
is if you have an area that you think is too dark, you can take a fine brush
and you can take some white wash and thin it with water and you
can stroke over that area and it won't be there
for any reproduction. Good. Okay so
that's a summation of how to use
the vellum and wax
drawing approach. I hope it was interesting. It can be a lot of
fun and you can try it with different subjects too. Some much simpler than this
and you can use it for
urban landscapes, very effective, these are some of the areas
I've had a lot of fun doing.
a back view, we have a turning
under, a downshot, we have an upshot. So I'm gonna
do something we haven't done, which is a facial expression. This still
involves all of the same principals
and requires first, of course, getting the three volumes of the head.
That would be the cranium and facial mass running down to the
lobe, the teeth, and the jaw beneath that. In this case
a facial mass dominates.
Because the mouth is part of that. And so that means
that from the base of the nose at the septum, to the bottom of the chin, we're gonna have
an additional - so we'll have to make a judgment - an additional
length for that. Starting off, let's put
this top of the head here.
Let's move it over a little closer.
And the bottom of the head here. So make this
head a little larger, just for design purposes.
I'm using a black Prismacolor wax
pencil. And I'll be using also
white Prismacolor wax pencil, and
also some white verithin
and some black verithin. Now we have a three quarter angle
so our front axis is set about here.
Maybe even a little farther, like
that. And the - let's now establish the
apex, the base, and then the
position where the brow overlaps
There we are. That's
approximately correct. Maybe a little lower, like here.
Okay, and then we wanna put in the side plane of the head
at the temple.
And then here
the distance from the overlap
the base of the jaw. Half the distance
gives us the base of the nose at the septum and
from here to that point is halfway, that'll give us the bottom of the eye socket.
Maybe. Close at least. Okay
normally the bottom of the lower lip would be halfway from septum to
chin. In our case
the upper lip stays
in the same position it would otherwise be. But the lower lip and the
lower part of the - well and the mandible - they fall off.
Maybe to here. And then the -
and the chin moves down along with that.
now here, at the point where the brow overlaps
let's get this very strong angle as his
because of the expression.
And here is the base of the nose, but
he's angled in such a way that the
cartilage forming the
base of the nose overlaps the septum. We don't see the septum.
We still do see
the thirds of the nose, here at the
nasal bonehead at the
beginning of the bridge of the nose, here
outside at the angle, and here
at this angle.
And this is a very broad expression, so the nasal labial
band is gonna be stretched.
Here at the inside of the socket we get
the brow overlapping
along with its muscle, the obicularis
oculi. So we're gonna draw that
plane right now. Then we're gonna pick up
here, the actual point at which the bony structure and
the muscle overlap the eyeball.
One of the nice things about using black
as opposed to an earth tone, with the possible
exception of burnt umber or sepia, is that it goes really dark.
And so you can get a lot more
contrast, a lot more punch in your drawing.
Right off the top. Of course you can be
subtle and nuanced too.
The tear duct and here
is the bottom of the socket where it overlaps
Pillar of the lip right here.
Cast shadow and it
describes a wide open mouth so it has to travel over it. And
we're gonna exaggerate if possible because in a case like this,
or most case, you
have an expression and so
if you merely conform
to the shapes you see, it'll be good, but it usually tends
to even out and become less expressive, unless you
you push it, which is what I'm gonna try to do here.
if you haven't done much of this it may strike you as a little weird during the
construction phase, which is this phase. but
stick with it. All will be well.
This space you can almost draw
at will. It could be
greater it could be less depending on how much he's depressing the jaw.
And so within a reasonable limit at least, or even an unreasonable
limit because this is a drawing, not reality,
we can open that mouth more or less.
It's up to us.
Let's - just so it doesn't confuse us -
let's add the darks
using one, even value
otherwise various shapes
that I've designed, they're capable
of throwing us off, confusing us. Since they differ
from what we're tending usually to draw.
up to the eyes once more.
Now, pretty much whenever you see space between the iris
and the upper lid, you got
some kind of an astonished or otherwise
state coming through.
Sometimes, not here, but sometimes, you even
pick up space between he iris and the lower lid.
I think in some
ways these types of drawings, with strong
emotion, over the top emotion even, they can be
a little more easy than some tender
emotional states. Especially in
romance work or any of that.
Because you can push things to a degree where
if they're not really quite anatomically what they should be
or if the range of motion is greater than
maybe possibly could be, it's forgiven. Because you've gotten
across what you wanna say. So
it's not quite as nuanced as the other
It's not easy for a model to hold a pose like
this. This is a photoshoot so he didn't have to hold it very long
but I can say that this model, Mark Synder,
is one of the very best when it comes to that.
Turn that bag under the eye away from the light.
Put the lower lip in
Bring that form here over the
Turn that bone under.
Here's the underplane of the zygomatic arch.
And that hooks up here at the muzzle.
And that drops almost vertically to
is the side plane of the tooth cylinder
Here's our cast shadow, we discussed it earlier.
Here is the side plane of the chin
and here is the mentalis
muscle and here are the quadratus labii
That's the angle of the
jaw and on our other side what do we have?
The angle of the jaw stays
positioned as it normally would. It's just that the mouth and the
lower facial mass drops below.
Here is a shadow
form shadow along the edge of the cranium.
When you draw the ears
they should line up with each other, on the horizontal
axis parallel to the brow, top of the mouth,
looking head. Now we're gonna fill in the tones.
This paper has a bit of a tooth to it.
And that means we're gonna get
slight graininess to our darks.
But I can live with that.
I'm accenting the areas that we really want
to stand out, even though the may be
in the middle of a dark pattern.
When I draw, even if it's subtle
expression, I usually like to think of it an adjective
that would describe my sitter, my subject,
my head. And so I think there are a few
that might come to mind if you just think for a moment.
And if you do it will really help with your rendition
of that subject.
adjectives as horrified
or horrifying for that matter, they can come
to mind right away.
They don't have to be too specific
but they do help.
I'm gonna get a very sharp pencil
for this part because the shapes are small.
And that would be the teeth.
Remember you don't have to draw every separation
between every tooth.
Nor do they have to be white.
Half tones can be laid in
with just the weight of the pencil, nothing more.
The eyebrows tell us much about the expression and the story
as the wide open mouth.
Or the position of the iris for that matter.
Be very careful when designing the form shadow.
Remember it's not what happens in the light that describes the form
and it's not what happens in the shadow. It's where the two
come together. And that's where the form is
best and most
The sharper your pencil
the better you're able to put down a nice, clean tone.
Particularly when you're dealing with
a grainy surface like
The other pencil's a little too dull now, it
hasn't been sharpened, so I'll just switch over for the first time to the verithin
pencil made by
not as opaque and white as the regular
standard white wax pencil they make but
it's good enough for this. It may even
be nice giving us a little bit of nuance. Remember you really can't draw with a light pencil
on top of a dark wax pencil. Now if you photocopy
your drawing onto a bypass gray paper
then you can draw on top of that and
the toner allows you to draw with white on top of it.
That's one of the things I do
often in doing movie poster ideas.
It goes quickly and
So notice I still try to express everything in planes. Try to
chisel his head. I could carry this farther
but probably just get the point across as
is. And so for those of you that like drawing
varied subject matter, try practicing facial
expressions. It is fun. Okay so that's it
this evening's lesson and we have again
three different angles on the head that are not eye level. And then we have
an eye level head but it's an quite an exaggerated expression.
So if you can do this at home
it would help just find some magazines or something
other illustrators who've drawn heads , you know, in varied positions.
And it's never bad to study from them.
That's a recommendation of course.
Now this is your chance
to express your understanding of the abstraction and the planes of the head.
For homework let me make a couple recommendations. In previous
units I've recommended homework and for Unit 5
you'll need to find some head reference. You can go online for that.
For heads that are at difficult angles you may have to shoot
photographs and print them out of a friend but you can probably find that online
too. And in drawing the difficult
angles you can do it using the simplest approaches to
simple wax pencil or charcoal. I don't mind either one. Or if you want
you can go ahead and try some of the gray paper processes that I
demonstrated. That's up to you but I'm really looking for understanding.
Even though I've shown procedures, it's gonna
be more about let's see what we've got in terms of
the basics, you know, renderings. Alright this concludes
our course. Thank you all very much and once again
thank you for participating.
Free to try
1. Lesson Overview1m 22sNow playing...
Watch the whole lesson with a subscription
2. Down-shot Head Demo36m 15s
3. 3/4 Back View Head Demo26m 34s
4. Up-shot Head Demo41m 14s
5. Vellum Rendering Technique - Part 142m 39s
6. Vellum Rendering Technique - Part 225m 29s
7. Facial Expression Rendering - Part 120m 52s
8. Facial Expression Rendering - Part 218m 17s