- Lesson details
In this exciting in-depth drawing series, instructor Steve Huston shows you a step-by-step construction of the human head. He covers the basic forms and more detailed intermediate constructs of the head as well as the eyes, nose, mouth and ears. In this lesson, Steve will show you how to draw the different parts of the mouth, such as the lips and the filtrum. He will also show you how to construct the mouth in different perspectives.
- Sharpie Markers
- Digital Tablet
- Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencil – Indian Red and Indischrot
- Seth Cole Heavy Ledger Paper
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because it’s more than just the lips. We’ve got to get underneath the lips and find that
substructure that supports those pillowy forms. It’s a little tricky. As the mouth moves it
gets tricky. As is the perspective that we see the mouth from; that can throw us off too.
But we’re going to spend some time working that out, hopefully understanding it well
by the end of our lesson.
Within this lesson we’re also going to use the old masters and see how they dealt with
the same problems that we’re dealing with. Then we’ll take some time to try some assignments
where we’ll work from timed reference poses, and you’ll try and draw that mouth and its
basic structure as we demonstrated. After you’ve done it then I get to do it, and
I’ll do the same thing. And I will see you soon.
just how tight the teeth are. In fact, turn it this way and you’ll see that deep, deep
curvature there. We don’t see it as fully here because the fleshy lips, that pillowing
structure stretches over and drags off into the rest of the face this way. But we have
a full curve this way, and we have a partial curve this way. So what that means for us
is this. If we look at a head from a profile we’re going to feel the forehead push out
and then go back ideally to our construction line, our gesture line there. So where the
forehead ends and the nose begins, that’s where one pass through that gesture line is.
Then we come back with the nose. But not all the way. The barrel of the mouth, that full
curvature of the mouth that we saw moves back, and then that comes back to that point more
or less. Then the chin pushes out.
Now, how that moves forward from the nose and back along the mouth to the chin, we’re
going to call that the muzzle just like a dog has a muzzle from forehead, nose, and
teeth. Nose and mouth move forward. We have a muzzle too. It’s just this is such a big
part of our life, part of our survival that this has gotten smaller. As the brain gets
smaller, this weapon basically , this tool gets smaller. For most critters it’s the
reverse. That’s only as big as it has to be, and then this mighty form here gets bigger.
But we have a muzzle too. So it’s important to feel the nose and the mouth push out together.
Let’s look at it again and not do that. There is our gesture line going down, our
constructed shape going back, the forehead pushes out, comes back to our gesture line.
The nose pushes back the mouth and the chin. The only time that is going to happen is if
we’ve got someone with no teeth. The teeth come out and then it can actually curve back
in even farther. So we want to make sure that we push that structure out.
Then on that structure the pillowy forms as we’re going to analyze them in a moment,
the pillowy forms of the lips build out on top of that even farther. They are a costume
over that structure. But we need that underlying structure. Remember, whatever features we
do they have their own smaller structure, their own simple shapes that sit on the bigger
structure, the bigger shape of the face. So it’s important to think of each of our features
as having a specific set of shapes or a single shape. So ball in the hole. Wedge, barrel
shape, and then a little box or a ball there. Each one. Forehead has all that. Cheek has
all that. The features are their own shapes on top.
So it’s really important that we get that.
Alright, so having said that, let’s look then at our mouth in a real simple manner.
So we have that barrel of the mouth. So from a front view we’re just going to do that.
The teeth would be in here. Here is the line of the lips. Now, remember on the forehead
we looked at the arching eyebrows. That will give us whatever axis, whatever perspective
position and the axis associated with that moves through. We can see this symmetry going
on. Corners of the eye. Could be the inside or outside of the eyebrows, the peak of the
eyebrows. Each of these is going to track in that same perspective manner. The two nostrils
if you can see it and the two corners of the mouth. They need to sit on that same constructed perspective.
So if we’ve got a face like this and a head like this that’s going back in space, let’s say.
Here is the forehead, eyebrows, eyes, nose, mouth. We’re looking from corner to
corner, and then the lips are going to go on. But notice if we don’t do some fancy
dancing here, if we don’t really understand our structure it’s going to be very unsatisfying.
It’s going to look kind of cartoony. There are a couple tricks of the trade here that
we need to do. So barrel the mouth, the barrel of the mouth sits inside here, and then the
lips stretch out and beyond here. There is a lot of fill here. The muscles come in here,
the masseter muscle, all these communication muscle that can make you snarl and smile and
frown, all that kind of stuff, are filling in. And then the soft, fleshy, pillowy structures
of the lips themselves stretch and fill it out here. So your corners of the mouth are
out here some place. So we have the corners of the mouth wherever they’re at. They’re
going to track on that same construction line, that same T idea. Then we’re going to look
at the upper lip, the upper edge of the upper lip and think of a capital M, a capital M.
There is a variation of that we’ll look at when we look at the advanced section on
the mouth, the feature of the mouth. But an M. What you’re going to do is you’re going
to take the corners of that M and you’re going to stretch it out so it’s going to
do this like so. We’re going to do the same thing for the line of the mouth. It’s also
going to be a capital M. We’re going to stretch it out even more
just like it’s collapsing down.
Then the lower lip here is just going to be a flat line in the center, and then it’s
just going to move up towards but no to the flat line in the center. These things can
vary. They don’t have to line up at all. In fact, they probably shouldn’t. Let’s
make this one a little bit bigger. Maybe they come out this way. It’ll vary from character
to character. It’s going to turn up but don’t finish it out. When you finish it
out it looks cartoony. Just in general principal, when you’re drawing something that should
be realistic and nuanced, break your contours a lot. Whatever your lines are doing break
them up. Don’t finish things over. It surrounds it with a line and flattens it. So leaving
it open helps. What happens here is the form bumps quickly. You can see it here. From the
lower lip it cuts in sharply to the chin, back to the chin. So this is where we’re
putting our line here. And in the center it’s a quick cut back, but on the sides we have
this pouty area of the lower lip. We’ll see it better in a little bit. That is a slow
roll from lip down to chin and jaw like that. Okay, so that’s the basic of it, cap the
limbs and then just this flattened U shape, let’s call it.
Or a kind of bull-type idea, like so. Those are our shapes.
Alright, let’s go then and take a look at it one more time. I’ve switched to Conté
sticks, a sanguine or a brick red kind of, and a black, the Conté of Paris. There is
my construction line through. I’m going to—I could start wherever I want. Let’s
start with the line of the mouth where the lips come together. It’s going to do that.
There is my capital M. If you make it a little wandering rather than just straight lines
it’s going to seem more organic. You can even break up the line. I’ll show you how
to do that in a second. So that sits like so. Now we’re going to come up here, however
fat the upper lip is. Let’s imagine our constructed head, or intermediate construction
that has some good detail to it. Good secondary structures, let’s say. We have the upper
lip pushing out and then back in. Then we have the lower lip pushing out and back in.
We’ll put the chin forward a little bit farther.
So, when you look straight on at it notice what’s happening here. It’s going back
in. We’re seeing whatever thickness this is, and it can vary quite a bit. It can be
a little sliver or it can be a big, full puffy lip. It can go back strongly or it can go
back much more subtly. Whatever distance you want to draw it is fine. You’ll just observe
the character you’re trying to match or you’ll make it up appropriate to whatever
character you’re trying to invent or all those qualifications there. There it is there.
So this is all upper lip. Let’s give it a little dusting of red, red lips like so.
Now, the reason that capital M has that valley there is a structure up here called the philtrum.
If we have a little ant crawling over the surface of that mouth structure, that barrel
of the mouth we’ll have it come up and come down. And it’s right there. You can feel
it on your own lip. The mouth comes up right here where the mustache would be, and then
it dips in the philtrum and then goes down the other side of the mustache. That little
structure there, that little crater shape is what forces this lip stuff to change shape
like that, change its line.
Now, lip stuff. That could probably be a little bit more precise in that. This we call skin,
don’t we? The lip is not skin. The lips are membrane. It’s the inside of the mouth
coming out. That’s why you see the change in texture and the change in color. It’s
because the membranes, the different material meeting the skin, and it stitches together
right at that capital M line there. We’ll see it actually has some interesting subtleties
to that structure. We’ll see that when we get a more advanced view of it. But for now
we’ll just use the border between membrane and skin right there. We’ll just outline
that. Just leave it like that. So that’s that. Now, generally what I’ll do is I’ll
take that membrane, and again this can vary quite a bit from person to person. There I’m
now—I’ve taken the capital M idea and I’ve softened it into scooping curve like
hanging hammock or a sheet on a clothesline like so. Sometimes it’ll look a little sharper,
and you can stylize the sharper, but typically it’s going to go that way. So our capital
M now has softened. Then the line down to the corner of the mouth is going to oftentimes sag.
Not always, but sag.
So notice I haven’t drawn any straight lines to draw that lip. That’s usually safest.
These can come up quite sharp here or be rounded, whichever way you want. But notice that typical
of an organic complex living form, the line is constantly changing. It doesn’t stay
the same for very long. If it is does it seems oversimplified, mechanical, cartoonish, a
lot of bad things. We put a lot of bad words to that. Nothing is good there typically unless
it’s heavily stylized in a design or something like that. But generally, the more realistic
you want to be and the more organic you want to be, not even generally. If you want to
be more realistic and have a more organic, sophisticated living sense to it then you’ve
got to vary things as they move from one idea to the other, as any particular line or constructed
form moves from beginning towards end. It’s got to change and evolve in some way or else
it’s not going to be believable. It’s going to seem overly simplified. Notice that
if we are drawing a tube, say for an upper arm, whatever it’s for.
If I can design that too so that’s it’s changing as it goes it curves in an ever new
direction, or if it’s a forearm it tapers into an ever new proportion. Maybe it goes
from round to squarer at the wrist. The more stuff like that I can do, where as I work
along as an audience things are changing. They’re evolving. Life evolves. It’s going
to seem more sophisticated. So if I can have the lips change as they go, and so balance
the symmetry with the asymmetry. This and this are more or less the same, but as we
move along this line it evolves, and it evolves again and it evolves again. Then you can even
play with expressions as we’ll do later in the advanced section. You can have asymmetry.
You can have the eyebrow go up or the quirky smile or the snarl on one side. We can get
this asymmetry. That’s more dramatic and more interesting, a bit more sophisticated,
more difficult to do, but more powerful.
And so as an artist we’re playing the symmetry/asymmetry thing. If we get the eyes out of whack, asymmetry,
they don’t feel correct or they feel grotesque. They don’t feel beautiful. That symmetry
suggests health basically to us. It’s a well formed structure. It’s healthy and
strong and vital. The asymmetry starts to subvert that. But within that symmetrical
eyes and position, this eye like on me is a little smaller than this eye. One eye might
be winking or flinching or squinting in the bright light or such. And so we want to make
them the same yet different and balance that.
because the curve is always changing direction. It’s evolving its direction as it goes,
and it can go from a slower curve to a tighter curve. It can evolve the speed of change too.
All of that adds up to feeling sophisticated. And of course, any curve you can plot out
by a straight and build it off that straight and get your curve. If you have trouble with
a curve because curves are a little bit of trouble, notice since they’re always evolving
into a new direction they’re changing on you. What I can do is take my pencil or tool
and I can close one eye and I can compare that curve to a vertical. If it’s close
to a vertical or compare it to a horizontal if it’s close to a horizontal. Then you
can see here is my horizontal pencil sighting. I can see how that curve of the lip changes
off the vertical.
Okay, so little strategies there. So there are my lips there. So there is the upper lip.
Now, the upper lip if we break it down into basic shapes we have that capital M stuff
that gets us started. But that’s just kind of the design of it. That’s fine to work
with and stick with. But what we’ll find if we look a little bit more carefully is
the upper lip is made of three little pillows of curious shape. One pillow is a heart shape.
Then on each side we have these little sagging triangular, kind of almost a horn shape like
that. They are pillowy forms. Then again we have the symmetry more or less on each side.
Now, the lower lip, let’s go to the lower lip now. The lower lip again pushes out and
how far it pushes out and how full those pillowy forms are will tell us how thick or thin to
make it. Generally, if you want the character to be younger and more vital, fuller lips,
little babies have very full, pouty lips. As you get older and thinner they thin out.
An old man or woman will have very thing lips. You’ll lose—sometimes it’ll end up being
just a slash, and you’ll lose the pillowy membrane completely. Then if you’re a movie
star you put the Botox in or whatever puffy material is fashionable and you blow them
back up. You end up with lips like that again. That’s the actor or actors trying to look
younger by showing that fullness of life in the lips. So fuller lips, younger more alive,
vital. That usually translates for a society, especially a society like ours that kind of
worships that youth, that vitality. That’s usually translates to more attractive. It’s
prettier if it’s fuller. It suggests life and health.
So now we have that center. We just break it across as a straight line. It could be
a slight curved line. But I actually like to make it straight because I’ve got so
many curved lines now, which is great. We just talked about how great that is. But it
also gets kind of repetitious. So if every once in awhile, I sneak a straight into the
curve it’s surprising. It grabs your attention on some level. They’re not going to say,
oh, straight line. But it’ll feel different, and that adds to the complexity. In terms
of design it just creates a little bit of variety. Then we’re going to curve our membrane,
lower lip up towards here or here, anywhere in there. Up towards the upper lip, the line
of the mouth. The line of the mouth is created by the upper lip structures or three structures
meaning the lower lip structure or two structures. Here we have a pillow here and a pillow here.
Now look what happens. We have five pillows coming together. They don’t come together
very well here. They don’t seal off too well. And so if you’re drawing a line here
is a new step in our sophistication. If we can make the line evolve, in other words make
that curve or complex of curves vary as it moves it seems more sophisticated, more real.
Just think about it. If you go to an art store and buy those little wooden mannequins that
just do this, you can just move them very simply. The shapes don’t change at all.
They’re just very simple kind of tube shapes with little egg shapes stuck on it here or
here, something like that. They’re completely unsatisfying. You can’t take that and really
take it anywhere towards doing a portrait of an action figure or do a portrait of a
standing figure that’s sophisticated. They don’t look real. They’re overly simplified.
So the more little variations we can do on these big simple ideas, it’s just five pillows.
It’s sitting on a barrel, a slice of a ball. It’s just a crater shape.
Those are very simple ideas.
So if we can take that simple idea that gives us control of the construction we can move
that shape. If it’s simple fairly easily in space with a little bit of practice, all
that good construction stuff. Then add some subtle variations, some sophisticated changes
to our stuff it’s going to seem more real. So in this case if I just draw a line like
this it’s going to see oversimplified and start to move towards that cartoony idea.
Now, if I give it some lovely thoughtful variations of how it changes that’s going to help tremendously.
But if also I can vary the line quality, make it darker and lighter, make it thicker maybe
and thinner. Let it vary. That’s going to help more. Here is a great place to vary the
line. We can push the line darker here and lighter here and darker here and lighter here.
Then symmetry on the other side will be more or less the same. Darker here, lighter here.
It may well get darker here too. That tip of the heart shape can puff out and cause
a shadow or not quite seal off against these pillowy shapes here and get a little darker
there. Generally these would be the darkest if you wanted to vary it against that. But
you can hit those little hot spots there. Then we come over here. We get a nice seal,
and then we’ve got the lower lip, the upper lip, and the cheek and jowl, dimple area coming
in. The face coming in on the mouth. Face structure. Big face structure gets the mouth
straight. And we usually have some kind of subtle overlap here. They all come together.
Again, you can catch a little darker corner there. You can put this little shape here
or not. The more you do these kind of subtle lines for subtle forms, the more you will
age your subject. And so if add a lot of little lines, and in the case of the lips if we thin
out those forms it will age it dramatically. So you pick your poison on that. You put in
enough to show the extra form, all these three forms coming together. This, this, and this.
And you play up or you play it down in favor of more aesthetic beauty.
Okay, and then likewise here, right here, here is that pillowy connection there. There
is the connection of those three forms right there right there. Here is where the lower
lip membrane meets the skin. In the center you can see it puffs out quite a bit.
It pulls out quite a bit. It’ll usually catch a strong shadow. That is where the shadow if there
is a direct light. The shadow will catch it. We haven’t talked about shadow, and we won’t
for a while. That’s where the shadow catches so you can make it darker in the center, a
lot darker or subtly darker; take your pick. Then it’s going to swing up and lighten
up and swing up and lighten up.
Notice in the center we get this strong cutback. This is all underneath, underneath and then
pushing back out. Here it is here. We’ll make it a ball shape. There is the chin there
pushing back out. Now, if you feel sad, which I can understand, you’ll find that the center
pops out and that cutback becomes even stronger. But on the outside the membrane of the lips
and the barrel of the mouth and the forms of the face all blend together well. Here
they break, apart a lot. Here they break apart a lot. Here they blend together. Here they
blend together. And so what we’ll see to some degree, we’ll see the flesh. We’ll
look at this a little more carefully and render it a little more beautifully we would hope,
so you can see that. But I think you’ll get the point. Let me dust this down. This
is the underside. We’ll just make that red under here, underside there. But we’re looking
on the outside and seeing that slow, lovely, smooth transition there.
Notice I’m going to play this up very strongly now so that we make sure we understand the
point. That drops down. This is the chin here. We’ll give it a little manly dimple there.
Notice how these track. So if we’re tilting. We’ve got the corners of the mouth and the
center of the lower lip. The center edge of the lower lip and the beginning and end of
the chin all tilting that same axis all the way up. We can really lock it in nicely.
This would go up into the jaw area here, jaw area here.
So there would be the face. This drops off and just fades away. So all you’re going
to do—let’s do it one more time. Here is the line of the lips. Here is the upper lip.
Here is the lower lip. Here is the pillowy structure in here. The more you play that up the more
fully you’ll feel the barrel of the mouth rolling into the surrounding face structures,
but the pout here, the sadder things will get. So you have to kind of balance that out.
Let’s fade this up and out. So take your pick.
And so you’ll see some cartoonists play that up a lot. It’s a beautiful way to describe
the barrel of the mouth. There are the teeth. Here are the lips over it, lips stretching
over it like that, like a thick quilt over the top. The bony structure is way underneath
there, but one is suggesting the other like so. So we have that kind of structure. Okay,
so that’s that. What could be easier, huh? Any of these things as you’re learning the
construction, rendered detail, tonal variations, when in doubt simplify. If I start adding
the secondary structure, and that goofs me up leave it out for now. Then as we’ll do
in a moment with the old masters, lay tracing paper or do it digitally and draw over the
old masters. Draw over those guys. Look at those guys. See how they solved the problem.
Find pouty lips in those folks. It can be old masters and new masters, people you love.
The comic book industry in England loves this pouty look. A lot of the cartoonists that
do comic books, Peter Pan kind of stuff and whatever else they happen to be doing , the
characters in fashion. They’ll do a lot of pouty stuff for whatever reason. You can
read into that or not, I guess. But they love that form and they’re great to see because
you see a few simple lines suggest all that.
So anyway, that’s what we’ve got. We’ve got the philtrum, that crater, the whole barrel
of the mouth curves in the slice of a ball. Then the lips stretch over that. We’ve got
two capital M’s and this bowl shape below. Then that lower lip can get nice and stiff
and straight in the center and sag and bulge on the outside edges. That bulge is hanging
over the chin that’s pushing up. And it’s like having a big old buckle and tucking in
your shirt. Then as you move around through the day the shirt gets loose. The belt buckle
holds up the center of the shirt, but on the outside it sags down. That’s what we’re
getting as an analogy here. So that’s that.
simply since we’re going to play with perspective now. Now, I already said if you take that
mouth structure with all that we’ve learned about it. We’ll just make it a simple construction
line in the beginning. We’ll go from the corner of the mouth to corner of the mouth.
We’ll build all that stuff on it. That’s great. Now, what happens if it tilts? Well,
we’ll just then do a tilting line that is in the exact alignment with all the other
tilting forms; the chin and the nostrils and the ears and the corners of the jaw, the eyeline,
eyebrow line, all the way up. Widow peaks on the hairline. Everything will track perfectly
whichever direction we go. What if, though, we’re not just tilting but now we’re tipping?
Getting underneath or on top of it. That creates a whole new set of problems. Let’s say we’re
underneath a little bit of the whole head. If we put a bucket on the head the bucket
would tilt back this way. And so the curvature of that bucket would be the curvature of our
construction lines as they roll over that rounder form. What we’re going to find then
is the corners of the mouth and the construction line.
We can still use that even though it’s a deep tilt.
All I’m going to do is I’m going to compare the corners to the center. Now remember when
we talked about the jaw line, that tricky jaw and chin line area, the digastric plane.
When we’re down like this it’s real easy or as easy as the figure gets to box that
out or to box that out up like this. But as soon as that chin gets higher it gives us
that horseshoe effect that drives us crazy. So what do we do? We make it a little squarer
and we plot out the points. We find the two corners of the jaw and we find out whether
the chin in the center is lower than our construction line from jaw to jaw or higher than it. Then
we mark off that little chin as a little straight line, and we draw jaw line up to the chin.
Make it a little boxier, and then we can soften it up later. That plots it out perfectly in
constructed perspective. It keeps it from getting this crazy organic horseshoe effect,
and we got it.
So what we’re going to do is exactly the same thing on the mouth. We’re going to
find the corners of our mouth. We’ll draw a construction line across, and then we can
just, I’ll just close one eye. This is my favorite eye to close, but you might have
a different one. I’ll bring that pencil up to the corners of the jaw for the jaw up
to the line of the mouth. Is the center of the lips, that pillowy M along the line of
the lips, is that center above or below? Usually you can just look at it and you know, but
if you don’t hold your pencil up. I’ll see that it’s up a little bit in this same
perspective, this same or similar as this. Then that is the line of the mouth. Then I
go up again and pick up the upper lip. When I get underneath it I usually simplify it out.
You don’t even, here’s the capital M. You can curve it off like that so it’s
closer to that philtrum. That’s usually the case, although it can do that.
Or you can go straight across and make it all boxy. This to this construction line.
The peaks of our M construction line. You can just go straight across if you want and
worry about the divots later. And there it is like so. Then the lower lip that will also
track, track, track and go up and then fade out before it reaches because of those pillowy
pouty sections on the other side. Let me dust this off so you can see it more clearly on
camera. Let me darken it up. There it is there. If you wanted to see where the pillowy lines
are you would just add your variations. You’d just add your variations like that and you’ve
got it. Divot out there and you’ve got it. Two capital M’s. When I do a construction
line I’ll draw it nice and light. I tend to draw it darker on camera so you can see
what I’m thinking and follow the process. But I make it as light as ghostly as you can.
Then we come over. You know, if this construction is ghostly light, when you come over with
your final rendered contour nobody will see that little ghostly line in there, and you
can just render right over the top of it. That’s in there. So there we go.
And then you’ll have the pouty marks or not. Let’s do it one more time and make
sure we’re clear. I’m going to do a construction line. I’m going to find out if the center
of the lip is above or below. It’s a little bit above. There is my construction line.
Or you can make it stiff and straight, whichever. The upper lips build on top of that. You can
make it stiff and straight or any variations of straight and curves or all curves based
on the capital M idea. But anywhere in there. The lower lip is in here. We’re set. Now,
one of the problems here—the lower lip poops out before it gets to the line of the mouth.
You can then add your capital M idea here. You can use that lovely line quality idea
that we talked about before of going darker and lighter for those little pillowy separations
as the lips come together. Instead of doing this, which can get kind of pouty again like
that, and a little chubby like a young child. It’s not maybe as smooth an heroic and rugged
or whatever you’re trying to get. You don’t have to do these lines. You don’t have to
do anything. You can just stop them as I’ve stopped them here.
But one of the problems when we get underneath the mouth is it starts to look a little sad
because the line of the mouth is doing that. So what we can do is do that. Turn it out.
Again, you can push a little line darker, let it fade lighter. I’m going to make it
a little stronger than, farther out than it should be so you get the point. So I wouldn’t
take it that far. I’d trim it in there. Just so you can see the idea. It’s curving up.
Then that forces it back towards a bit of a smile and kind of neutralizes that sad
expression that may not be appropriate at all. So we can curve it that way up instead
of the pouty overlap in like so.
Alright, let’s do it one more time. Now it’s going to drop down. The center of the
lip is lower because we’re way on top of this constructed idea. We’re on top of that
head, so we’re going to be drawing this. So I still find my construction line across.
Now I look for the center of the lip. The line of the lip is usually easier. But it
could be the edge of the upper lip, doesn’t matter. You can make it straight or curved.
We did curved like the tube last time. Let’s do straight like a box idea this time.
Then I’m going to see some upper lip. You’ll notice that it gets a little thinner there.
Observe how thin it gets. We’ll talk about it in our advanced section exactly why that
is, but it gets a little thinner.
Then the lower lip always straight in construction line on the front. It doesn’t have to be
straight. It could curve. But I’m going to make it straight so it tracks our lovely
dramatic perspective like this. Let me push it a little bit darker so we make sure you
can visualize what we’ve done here. There’s our capital M wobbling off that little heart
shape pillow. Moving into our little corner pillows. Let’s make this a little bit bigger.
There is my capital M there based on my philtrum.
Then there is my lower lip. Super big or super
thin or wherever in between, whatever is appropriate.
Again, if you draw it nice and light you can change it a couple times and say, well, let’s
see here. You know, actually it should be a little smaller. And I think it should be
a little smaller, probably a little too much for the average Joe or Jane. Notice now we’ve
got a slight movement towards a smile. And it look very, if we’re way on top of it
it can get very smiling. So then we can curve these corners down like so. That’ll soften
that expression and finish our construction, and you push darker and darker, darker, darker.
Usually on top I don’t push darker here because the lips are on top of the lower lip,
and it seals up pretty well. So that’s just like so. Okay?
Easy enough. Well, no it’s not, but with a little bit of practice it’s manageable
isn’t it? Again, sketch this around. What I like to do with these kinds of things where
it’s a real basic construction but it’s not easy because you have to think of several
things at once, and they’re things that you’re having to reinvent in your mind.
You’ve looked at lips all your life, but you’ve never thought of them this way, and
so that takes a while, like learning a new language to be conversant in it. So when I
work on construction ideas from old masters or from lessons or whatever it is, I will
sketch a little bit out of my head. Can I imagine the lips that I’m a little underneath
or a little on top of? Can I construct those simple shapes out of my head? If you can it
means you visualize the idea well, and you’ve got it. Even if you can’t do all the subtleties,
but you get the basic spirit of it, and you won’t be able to do all the subtleties.
Every set of lips is going to be different. Every expression and angle on those lips is
going to be somewhat different. So we’ll be able to get a basic truth out of it, but
not anywhere near the range of sophistication that nature chose.
But if you can do this out of your head you’ve got the concept. Alright, so we can get underneath
a little or a lot. We can get on top a little or a lot like this. What happens if it starts
turning this way, though? If we got his way, now notice our symmetry from the center line
of the face to the corners starts to recede. We start to lose some of this side of the
lip, with this corner of the mouth, and it might be gone completely. So what happens
when that change happens. This is the tilting, let’s call it, where it tilts in and out
of the paper. This now is going to be the facing dimension. So when we have a facing
dimension, let’s say here is the jaw and chin. Here is the center line. Here is the
nose coming out here very simple. Here is the philtrum here.
Now we’ve got the construction line, construction line, construction line. That stays the same.
But wherever our center line for the features are I’m going to see more over here and
less over here. Now, let’s do this again real quick. Remember when we look at a profile
we have that muzzle shape. The barrel of the mouth with the nose pushes off our constructed
construction line/gesture line here.
So I’m going, if this is a construction line I want that—let me go this way. If
this is a construction line through, I’m cutting through the barrel of the mouth and
the pillows of the lips so I need to push it back out. That means my center line, which
is here on the lips is going to be out farther. So here is my construction line for the whole
face. But now the barrel of the mouth is going to push out a little bit. Chin is going to
push out a little bit in here. That means the center of the lips is going to push out too.
So we’re going to have construction line here, capital M strongly stretched out here.
So notice that I made it nice and tight. And you may not see it nice and tight on a particular
model, but we’re going to tighten that up a little bit as it wraps around. So what we’re
going to try and do is feel this going around here, and then here is the upper lip capital
M in whatever incarnation you want to draw it. Here is the lower lip pushing out. Then
we’ll come—let me dust this down so you can see it. Little better.
There is my pillowy lip.
Now as this turns away, as my face turns away from you notice the cheek is closer to you.
The jowl and the dimple area is closer to you than the lips. We’ll start overlapping
the lips going away. So that little pillowy line here will start to get more powerful.
Again, if you play it up too much it’s going to age the figure and kind of disfigure that
person, especially if it’s a younger person, especially if it’s a woman in general. A
general aesthetic. This is very generalized, of course. Aesthetic is you play down those
marks, those lines. That’s considered more flattering than showing the variations. So
that sits in here like that. Notice again here is—this is all the one side, our left,
this person’s right. And this is the other side. Notice that there is only this much
on that receding line as it rolls around. There is this much as it turns out on the
side that’s most directly confronting us there like that.
And so we start to lose that symmetry, what started out as the center right in the center
visually in the center. Now as we start turning that head away, that center place where the
capital M’s bump. This point starts to track over this way. Eventually, we end up in a
profile where we only get to see one side. We only get to see that much. And here it
is here with that overlap right there. So again, something to be practiced.
Okay, so that gives us some of the basic positions of the head. Let’s take that now and apply
it to our old masters drawings and our timed poses, and then we’ll come back and we’ll
see a few even more subtle nuanced ideas on that. But that gets us to a good spot to stop.
Let’s move to our other section of our course.
from corner to corner and from corner to corner here. Notice, let me take those away. Notice
how carefully he has played down all those little forms, those little marker forms that
I was talking about this stuff. This stuff. This is a somewhat austere but a regal, lovely
looking woman here. And so he wants to flatter her. And so around all the features look at
how he has played down anything but the most important detail. Look how subtle the tones
are around those features. They’re really played down so that we get the whole silhouette
of the face and then the spotlight of the features.
So on the mouth, look at our capital M. Here are our corners of the mouth. Here is our
construction line through here. Look at the capital M stretching for the line of the mouth.
Look at that line of the mouth there and how absolutely amazingly sensitive that is. That’s
the mark of a really terrific draftsman. When he or she can track through the truth, the
subtlety, the organic complexity of a form but do it with the volume turned way down like so.
So here is the lower lip then here coming up. Look at how the line fades out here or
here or if it continues like it does on this side, it lightens up and continues just subtly.
Look, this is a pretty, as I said, somewhat austere woman. Look at that, not pursed but
stretched upper lip. Very, very thin upper lip. She wouldn’t get her own TV show nowadays.
She would need to get some puffier lips. But I thickened them up. But you can still see
that capital M. But he’s taken both sides and really stretched it out. So it’s not
very far off a straight line there. Then the upper lip is even more stretched, just a sliver
structure. This all ends up being that membrane so it’s darkened a little bit. Then look
at the subtle tones in that pouty section here, right here pulling down. Let’s take
this back to the original and let’s do this. There is the lower lip, and then that pulls
right down here. And you can see that—remember that structure I talked about? There is the
chin pushing up, intruding into the lower lip structure, the lower part of the barrel
of the mouth. Let’s darken it. Then there is our pouty area. But, of course, he has
played that way down because it wouldn’t do to give her a big pouch. She is really
above all that kind of petty emotion stuff. But it’s still there. Let’s take it away
and look again. Still there. Beautifully done. Here is a little bit of the philtrum. You
can see the tone on this side.
Let’s do this. It plays up again a little bit more right there. Notice if I play that
up it really becomes unattractive for her, doesn’t it? It’s just too strong and it
takes the focus off the feature. The line and the basic construction of the feature
itself and moves it into the surrounding tissues and structures. And it kills that lovely aesthetic.
We look back again and we see he didn’t even want to put a highlight or a lighter
halftone over here like he did on the nose, for example. But even that was too much, and
you can see it is too much when we put in there. Played way down.
These structures can be worked with. So here is the pillowy mass of the lips and mouth.
The teeth are underneath that. The barrel of the teeth is underneath that, and then
the chin intrudes into and that’s what gives us that pouty structure. So beautifully done.
All the structures are there. They are just incredibly sensitive in the application.
Alright, then here in our Madonna, going over here on the lips here. Let’s push that darker
so we can see it. Notice this is a young woman, or for us even a young girl in a way, you
know, the age of 15 or whatever she is in the Bible. So we’re going to bring out.
We don’t want to make her austere and courtly and sophisticated. She is this lovely child
of God I guess you could say in terms of the metaphor here. So we’re going to take those
shapes. Look at how strong—let’s steal away the cast shadow. This is Raphael. Look
at how fantastically strong our friend here is played up. That M. I never drew it that
strong in the construction. Let’s take away the shading here
like so and like so. Now we’ve got—look at this cupid bow or kewpie bow as they call
it. It looks like a recurve bow and arrow. You can see how we come off that capital M—this
is the edge of the upper lips—and go right into that curvature there. We are just ever
so slightly on top of this head. And so there is going to be an ever so slight curvature
to our kewpie bow shape here. And the line of the mouth tracks more or less the same
but simplifies a little bit because of the angle we’re seeing it and the intrusion
of the lower lip against it. But it also has that capital M idea.
Then he, rightly so you would think, walked away from the idea of a straight line there
for that center construction idea and went for the curved, the loving, attractive, inviting
curve of a young mother with a young child. And so round is more comforting, more organic,
more human that squaring things out. That becomes more mechanical. So that became a
correct choice. You can see everything is eggs. That’s because this is a birth/rebirth
idea. Birth of the child, rebirth of the soul if you follow along with the religion, that
born again idea. And so you always see eggs. And you see them everywhere. Everything in
here is egg-like. This even has an egg-like quality to it all the way through. Egg, egg,
egg. And that was the game that was played. Egg here. How many eggs can we put into that
Renaissance structure and still have it feel realistic. Egg here. So just beautifully done.
Let’s take this back, and you can see the shading lays on those ideas but doesn’t
hide the idea. Then we get the pouty structure again. The barrel of the mouth, the teeth
would be right in here someplace. Just gorgeous isn’t it?
Okay, Piazetta. Here is the construction line. We’re going to cut off the nose and the
barrel of the mouth. Here is the forehead coming back. Here is the nose and the mouth—let’s
go back here. Mouth is pushing forward. Here is the chin. So ideally you’re gesture line
or your construction line goes through those two points. Then the muzzle, the nose and
the mouth push forward. Notice if we get that nice eye socket into the cheekbone and on
down as far as you’ll want to take it. This is all side of the head. This is front. This
is all front as we get around the front. And so that overlap of tones and structures helps
to put that nose and that mouth on the front of the face, not on the side.
Notice the problem we have with the mouth. The mouth wraps around the other side that
we cannot see the nostril, the other eye, and all of the accompanying forms. And so
how do we give a sense of that? Well, it’s hard. Partly we depend on the audience’s
understanding of the form, the fact that we’re seeing an asymmetrical position but it’s
actually asymmetrical construction or structure. But what we’re going to do is we’re going
to take half of that capital M and cut it off. Depending on the angle we might even
have to cut off that part and be just left with that, which is what we have here.
Right here. There is that little pillowy form. I’ll play it up. That helps too. That’s the cheek
in front and the lip behind. Then notice the line of the upper lip is just the curve up.
We just see that much of our capital M. The line of the mouth we see this much of the
capital M. You can see that little line go down. That starts to take us behind. Then
he does little things that we’ll talk about later, but little things to help us pull around.
I’ll mention those in our advanced section, our construction 2.
Okay, but all we’re doing is we’re taking the sliver. At this point we’re just taking
the sliver of the capital M. The part of the capital M that shows off more or less half,
and we’re working with that. And so there it is. You can see the little pouty structure
right here. Right in there. I’m playing these things way up, of course. There is that
easy transition. Notice how he opened up that lower lip. He outlined the upper lip, but
he left open the side, and if you could have seen them, the sides of the lower lip. And
then we move into that pouty structure. So very good. Nice job there, Piazetta.
that mustache, but we still got the stuff going on that we talked about. We’ve got
the construction line of the mouth moving in exactly the same direction as all the other
features. All the way down. So important. That’s number one priority. Make sure all
those things track. Everything that’s on the front of the features. You can even see
the nostrils here. On the front of the face I should say track in that same constructed
line, that same T idea here. Then we move on to the side and that does what it does.
We’ll talk more about that when we get to here. But all that stuff is perfectly acknowledged,
conceived, and executed. Then every detail tracks that execution. Should, and in this
case, does track it. Give our take an expression. In this case it’s, as is typical in most
realist art, but especially in this time, there is no emotion shown. Even like an enunciation.
My God, Gabriel has come down and talked to the young girl Mary, and she shows no expression.
That’s just the aesthetic of the day.
But even if there were wild expressions, it would still track. So there is the lower lip.
You can see how funny that looks when I play that out even a little bit cause it’s falling
into that halftone. That gives us the sense of it. Then here is our capital M. Notice
now if we split down here is our philtrum here. I’m going to make a boxy version of
it. Notice it of course tracks along our construction line this way. Notice when we get to the center
which is where the philtrum is—there is the center line. The center of the face is—whoops,
should be here. The center of the face is here. The barrel of the mouth pushes that
mouth forward a little bit. And so we’re getting—let me take this off so we can see
it. So we’re getting less on this side, more on that side. Notice that difference.
Just that much there, that much there. Boom. So that’s still tracking.
You can see also look how beautifully and sensitively the—let me do that. Look at
how beautifully and sensitively it darkens. That little line right there darkens. That’s
the… it’s this section right here of the capital M. Right there. That’s that line
there. Let me take it away and look at it again. Look at how beautiful and sensitive
that is. We’ll darken it a little bit and thicken it up. Fantastic there. You can see
it curling out here at the corners of the mouth like that. Tracking off here at the
corner of the mouth and the mustache are kind of coming together. But still, he’s made
sure that mustache does not destroy the architecture of the mouth. Look at how the center of the
lower lip is a little squarer to come back to our tracking. Notice how it fades off so
that that rolls into that pouty structure here. Let’s play that up there.
Then it gets cast down farther. The bones cast farther down in here because of the bearded
structure and the angle of the head to the light source. But it sits right in here right
up here. So there is the barrel of teeth, the barrel of the lips and mouth under it.
The intrusion of the chin into it. It’s all right there. Notice how that barrel, less
over on this side of the barrel, more on that side of the barrel, he’s doing it all, isn’t he?
All that structure is there. Not even really implied. It’s there. It’s just
incredibly subtle. It’s all smudged here. The line is hidden and dancing inside of those
dark tones, dark line and dark tones. So it’s incredibly subtle, but the more you look the
more you see. That’s the mark of a great master usually. Even when they’re editing
things out completely the structure is still implied.
Alright, so here we have this lovely little mouth. Again, we’re only getting a profile
or very close to it. Just a little bit of the other side. Here is our capital M idea. We can do better than
that, can’t we? There we go. Like that. We’re only seeing this much of it. Let’s
find it again. We’re just seeing this much of it here. And then here we have a little
bit more of an angle than we had at the others, and so we can feel although we’re getting
just have the M it wraps around that philtrum and goes around the other side there. And
so we’re feeling that closure around. Let’s clean it—whoops, let’s clean that tone
up there. Get rid of the nose tone. And look at that lovely—there’s that kewpie doll,
that cupid’s bow working in there. There is the overlap of the chubby little cheeks.
Notice how that could be played up because of the fatty shapes sag in.
They’re new forms and so they don’t have the strength to fight gravity as much, and
so that flesh kind of gives in to gravity and falls down and over the corner of the
mouth. We’re playing that up, of course, but it’s still there. And then this is the
philtrum in here. We’re not going to get a big dig at all on a baby though. It’s
going to be all puffy pillows that pushes out. You’re not going to get that divot
like you would on an adult. So that’s all but lost, that little bit. But we feel it
wrapping around the other side. Wrapping around the other side and going to the other corner
of the mouth we can’t see.
Then, let’s go ahead and take that back. Then we have the same thing going on with
the lower lip. Wrapping around, wrapping around, chin wrapping around. What’s that like?
That is like this idea. Chin wraps around to the other side. Dot, dot, dot. Lower lip
wraps around the side. Dot, dot, dot. It’s continuing to go on behind the interruption.
The line of the mouth and the upper lip wrapping around the nose. Dot, dot, dot. That gives
us that sense, so a beautifully done again. What seems incredibly simple has some amazing
sophistication going on. You can feel the cheek in here picking up over here. Feel that
architectural continuation, the forehead.
So when we see this, like the forehead, this like the cheek going along and then dot, dot,
dot. It goes behind the brow, gets lost here. But this pops out completely. This pops out
mostly. And so when we look down here at the mouth area we can feel that as an audience,
the sense of the completion on the side we will never see. And so it feels complete.
Notice what we’re doing in effect. If I draw a little tube here and put a little belt
on it. When I do that what I’m telling the audience is even though you can see only let’s
say the front, dot, dot, dot, can’t you feel the back? If the form is cut away from
everything else then you get to see it at one of the ends perform that function. Usually
one form is morphing into the next, and that then, that elliptical construction which is
what we have in the features here, all the features here, that elliptical construction
is taking us through, completing through that idea even though we can’t see it.
So no matter what you draw the very best you’ll see is half the form. The other half is going
to be on the other side. If you can see the bottom you probably won’t see the top. If
you can see the front you probably can’t see the back. If you can see one side you
probably can’t see the other side. And so it’s a constant game of seeing part but
giving the feel of the whole. If they can feel the whole moving all the way through
then they’re going to feel your drawing is vital and alive and rings true.
lecturing adult. It happens to all of us at times in our life. And you can see how the
eye socket following—remember that eye socket is the eyebrow and cheekbone, where the cheek
meets the lower lid or anywhere around there. Everything beyond that is going to be front
of the face. And so the nose, whatever you can see the eye, the glass is getting away
a little bit. We’ll just give him a little eyelash. The nose and the mouth. There is
that barrel of the mouth. The nose pushes forward. And the barrel of the mouth pushes
forward. I’m going to push this out into the lips a little bit so we make sure we see that.
But that pushes forward too. And all of that is behind this pouty cheek area there.
And so let me pull this away so we can see it more clearly.
You can see that lovely line right here. There is that overlapping.
Let’s look over at our little young man here. If you can see the two lines of the
mouth, that pouty area there that crosses here. Here now that dominates. Since he is
an older gentleman. Not super old but he has been around for a while. As he leans down
gravity pulls that, this little area down on him in a way it wouldn’t on a young man
or an indifferent way than it would on a baby. And so we get that increase of that big form
there. That gives him a certain age and authority and lack of health. He’s aging and so gravity
is starting to dominate energy. More mass than energy is what age is. More energy than
mass is what youth is in a way. So we can let that overlap nicely.
But also, this guy, Norman Rockwell is a terrific artist and terrific draftsman. Look at how
he is darkening the line here and here. Lighten it up there. So he is varying that line as
we talked about to great effect. He varies it here and that shows the gap of the mouth.
The guy is talking. It’s open even though we can’t see the teeth or anything. And
he varies it down here because that is where the chin, lower lip that is wagging at this
poor guy and the jowl area all come together. And so we push a dark accent at that conjunction,
at the junction point.
And then look at that rather unattractive lower lip. It doesn’t the strength, the
power, the tautness of a typical male, of a heroic male. You know, that would be in
here and here. He’s wagging that. It’s almost like a tongue sticking out at the poor
guy. And so he is playing up that quality and making him slightly unflattering because
of it. So a lot of smart stuff going on here.
Now, on our buddy here, on this side, the young man, here is our capital M.
But instead of doing this his fists
are prying up those corners. We can’t see this exactly, but we can see it good enough.
So there is a distortion of that capital M, and that’s happening, as I said, because
of the hands but also because we are on top of this fellow. This is going this way. And
so the lips are going this way. And so our capital M is distorted this way. Notice because
the mouth is a tighter curve than the rest of the face it bumps on like that in effect.
That M, let’s lighten up the lower lip. That M, that curvature of the mouth is a tighter,
sharper turn than the fairly subtle barrel of the rest of the features.
You can see how the wrinkles of the forehead and the eyebrow track that construction idea.
So it’s playing up. Again, he is youthful and he’s pouting, and so there is no reason
to make that square center for the lower lip. Then there is that pout line here as the chin
intrudes up in, the pout drops down. Let’s wrap it around. So there is that pout there.
If we could see it there is a pout on the other side. There is the full mouth slightly
twisted away as though this hand pushes in. There is the little philtrum again played
down. This is something we haven’t seen before. It was played up on this side, this
way through distortion. Sometimes that philtrum and the flesh around it draws up into the
nose. We’ll see that more clearly when we get into our deeper structure on the mouth.
But we’re seeing a little bit of that there. As you can see as I play it up it becomes
unattractive, doesn’t it? So we want to make sure that if we play those forms they’re
very, very subtle. Look at that philtrum. It has been reduced really just to a dot right
there. Then we have these subtle little forms on either side playing here beautifully done.
Very, very nuanced.
Okay, here is our Manet again. You can see how he simplified this down tremendously.
There is our line of the mouth. And it’s almost unchanged. It’s just a cut across.
So what he has done—let’s track it—is the barest turn up there. So he has all but
destroyed that capital M. Instead of having this stretched out he has just done that and
tucked it up here and pulled it up into a slight expression. You can see how rather
than trying to separate a lot of lips he’s carefully placed the lips in the right place
and then just drawn—let’s get rid of that, just drawn this. Really just kind of an upside
down triangle, rounded triangle there. Just doing that. Then he’s plotted that. Look
at this tone here. Let’s play that up. This tone here, and that subtle, subtle tone here.
There is the barrel of the mouth. This is a small mouth which was considered beautiful
at that time. So you see it on that Raphael Madonna too. A tiny mouth. That was very typical
of the time. It was considered attractive. In some ways it still is. We like full lips
but we don’t want that mouth to stretch across the whole face. We want it to be contained
and usually be just slightly wider than the nose.
So you can see here where he has carefully reduced and stylized things down. But it still
tracks on the bigger form, barrel of the mouth there. It still separates from the chin, but
just that much. Instead of getting that lower lip pushing out away from the chin like this
it’s been reduced to a little dash, just all this plane here has been filled in, and
we just get a little dot to show it, and it’s enough. Oddly enough, he’s played up that
philtrum quite strong. It’s made it slightly unattractive. But we forgive Manet because
he’s Manet. This is not as simplified. And there are some romantics involved, some idealization,
but it’s also moving towards a more austere realism. The Corbets and the Delacroix and
the Anges, where they really idealize and romanticize and/or formalized the figures.
Here we’re moving towards realism. If somebody has some quirky thing going on, they have
a double chin, we’re going to show the double chin. If they’ve got an odd philtrum or
an overplayed or a certain asymmetry of the eyes or whatever it is, a lock of hair out
of place, we’ll play that up. Manet is starting to move in that direction. And so he has played
up that philtrum much more than you’d want to do if you were doing a portrait commission
that was for some heavy hitter that is going to pay you a lot of bucks and help your career.
So take these reference poses. They’re going to come up for a certain amount of time. You’re going to draw
from them with no pressure. You can always cheat and pause the video stream if you need to. Just take your
time. Don’t render them. Just get some of that basic information we’ve been talking about down on the
paper. See how it works for you. You can go through it more than once if you want.
Then we’ll see you on the other side.
Transcription not available.
here, here’s the line of the mouth. We have the straight-on view, of course. Every set
of lips is going to have its character, of course. So her character is a slightly pouty
look. So you could do a straight line from corner to corner. Here is our center line.
Or you could go with the character. When we design and construct it’s simple yet characteristic.
So if you can make it as simple as possible by doing this, but as characteristic as possible,
you’re on firmer ground. You have less work to do later. We can kick that over. Here is
this. Now, I’m going to go ahead and bring that all the way across. See how when we draw
it completely across it starts to flatten it out. But you can see the membrane tissue
has a full line. So you either keep it open as we’ve talked about before, or you push
the variation of the line. So make it darker here with a soft line maybe. It could be,
you always have a couple—a little bit lighter line. Maybe that soft line becomes more of
a hatched line, and then it fades out as it goes. Notice we have a little bit of that
M here just doing that just a touch. Barest remembrance of that M, and then it drops down
into those lower.
Notice now I’m pushing the center here and the corners here. So again, there is variation,
and that gives a sense of movement like that. And then this is wrapping over the philtrum.
You can see the philtrum is in here strongly showing through the lighting. This is dropping
off here as it goes over from one side to the other. And it moves on down. And we have
the pillowy forms catching light and shadow that are beyond our pay grade at this point.
We’ll deal with that later. And then there is that underside. This is all dropping back
to the chin. It hits the chin. Here is chin here. And then this is our pouty area here.
I’m going to keep that nice and light. And if I was doing a rendering, a portrait of
her, let’s say, I’d keep it even lighter or edit it out completely so it fits in here.
Notice how even in this little sketch, kind of an analytical sketch, I’m still thinking
aesthetically. I’m always trying to create beautiful, lovely works or dramatic. Whatever
adjective you want to stick on that. But I’m going to stick with the aesthetic beautiful
work. And so I want beautiful line, beautiful shapes, beautiful subtle variations even at
the simplest stage if I can. Sometimes it’s more than I take to have to think of that too.
And so you just kind of hack at it and knock stuff out. Get the ideas. Then you can
draw it again and refine that. Then you can draw it again and refine that.
Here is the chin intruding here.
Okay, so here we have the profile. I’m just going to pick out this area here. When I’m
working on just a little area I want to see how that, or in this case a little feature,
I want to see how that integrates back into the hole, so I did the pillowy forms, did
a little bit of the philtrum so I can feel the chin, feel how it starts to move back
into the greater head.
And so here I’ll draw a little bit of the nose, let’s say, and chin. Then I’ll place
the mouth, the structures of the mouth on that. Notice how each of these simple shapes
will have a certain character, a certain personality to them depending on the likeness of the character
we’re working with. This fellow has kind of a hook nose. A very full strong movement
back and then a very powerful chin pushing forward, and if I can draw his simple shapes
or her simple shapes and not just simple shapes, generic simple shapes, I’m going to be far
ahead. I always think of my beginning drawing like a sculpture. If I can get the shapes,
the chunks of clay to be simple but very close to the finish, characteristic of the finish
then I’ve got a lot less work to do to finish it off if I ever get there. But more importantly,
in the beginning things are going to fit together more accurately, and it’s going to ring true.
So now we’ve got the lips pushing off that barrel of the mouth and pushing back in. You
can see here is the line of the lips right in here. That is where the cheek, jowl, dimple
area intrudes in on it. You can feel it in here. You can feel that in this case we’re
getting a long shape. If I was trying to make something very flattering I’d play it way
down or edit it. In this case I’m going to keep it nice and light, but it’s still
there. That puts us, that overlapping form does this. It helps things to recede back
in space and gives the illusion of turning, so overlaps are particularly helpful. I’ll
pick those out whenever I can see them. The lower lip ends in membrane and begins again
in flesh. Then there is that chin. I’ll make it a little bit bigger yet.
Now, I started here so I’m correcting that construction. That means I’m going to push,
I’m going to push it a lot darker for you. But I’m going to push it a little darker
so I’m clear that that’s the line I’m working with and not these lines here. I’ll
draw several lines for any one line to make sure I feel it. That way I can draw this and
be looking back at my reference as I’m still making the mark. I get in that rhythm and
can feel that and look back to see if that’s correct, but also as I’m drawing that I
can think about how this is going to fit or some other side or relationship form-fitting.
So that’s that. So we’re just getting this part of the capital M just right here.
That’s all. It drops down. Then here is a little bit of the line of the lips, the
upper lip, and now we’re getting that amount there. That’s going around the other side,
but we’re getting half the M there. Then you can see a strong line for the red lips,
and you can even see here by doing that line it starts to flatten it out a little bit.
But I’m putting it in there because I wanted to see it as I develop it, and more importantly
I wanted you to see it. But typically I’d keep that much more ghosted out and pick up
just moments let it be a broken line, varied like so. So that fits in there. Let’s go
ahead and make this a little stronger now that we’ve made these stronger.
And notice how overlaps, again, are so important because it’s creating a priority. It’s
telling you what’s in front of what like so. Each one of these takes you back in space
farther and farther and farther. We feel the power of that depth even though we’re on
flat. Notice how important our idea is to be seen a little piece of the form and yet
visualizing the whole form. That’s what we’re paid to do. Our pay grade to show
the audience or suggest to the audience, tell the audience about what they can’t see.
You see one side you’re going to—I’m going to let you feel the other.
Okay, now we have a front view again. But this time we’re on top of, instead of being
flat on our structure, we’re on top of the structure down here. So let’s put it down
here. I’m going to look at the corners of the mouth. And then if I needed help I would
close one eye and I would site my pencil to the reference or the model on the stand and
bring my pencil down to the corners of the mouth and then see if we see the center of
the lip lower or the center of the lip higher. In this case we see it lower. And it’s a
little lower. Not very much. Not even probably that much. Let’s do that. This is a better
mistake though. I’m going to overdo it, overdo that idea so we feel that on-top-of-ness.
We’ll invent a verb there.
That’s going to be better than underplaying that idea.
So when I have an idea, if I can overdo it in the beginning, so it’s kind of a capital
M idea. I’m going to play up that capital M-ness more. Then I can always downplay it
later. I’m going to play up the on-top-of-ness more. Pick it up. I’m going to make my scary
film even scarier. My funny story even funnier. Overdo the direction you want, the dramatic
light even more dramatic. That’s going to be a better mistake than the underplaying it.
If I keep it really subtle then it has the danger as I keep working on the art to
be—let’s darken that just so you can see it—to get lost. So if it’s curved I make
it more curved. If it’s deep perspective I make it deeper. There is that center again.
You can see how you can track the M’s on that same axis, same axis. But everything
is playing this way. Here is the lower lip against the chin. Then there is that pouty
structure again. Then that chin intrudes back in and our friend here has a nice strong manly
chin that we can turn him into a heroic character. Maybe he is a heroic character already, but
for our artwork we can make him as heroic as we would hope. So that’s that idea.
So notice what I’ve done. If I made a little fake chatter teeth like you can buy at a novelty
shop. Here is the teeth here. It’s doing that. That’s what I’m picking up in effect.
This is the corner. This is the corner, and the center goes lower. So if we look at it,
that disk flat on it would do this, and it would roll around the front and be flat on
the side. But we know it’s also a barrel this way and so it needs to be sitting on
that greater barrel like that. But in this lip area
it tracks that way. So that is kind of what I’m thinking. It’s nice to visualize things.
It’s some real simple common object, a loaf of bread let’s say for a rib cage or whatever,
a pickle barrel. Think of something that is very common, and that is going to help you
conceive of that. So that’s what we have there on that.
are the corners of the mouth. There is the center line of the features and here is our
lips pulling up there. It looks to be about there. I’m going to overdo it, make it a
more dynamic, more dramatic idea that I see just to be safe. Then this is turning up so
much that we’re losing that M idea. There is the barest drop down this way. So that’s
the last little bit of the M. Then we can pick this up on here. Remember what I had
mentioned before in these strong perspectives and construction problems; you don’t have
to get that dip of the M. You can just cut right across the peaks. And I’ll do that
here. And then you can drop straight down to find the basic architecture. But that’s
not in great character to what we see. She has incredibly full lips. And so I’m going
to play up a very curved line because that’s very much in keeping to her character. Simple
but characteristic and then we’ll dust that back so you can feel the complete shape.
Notice when you give it a little coloring sometimes it helps you see the whole shape.
Sometimes we get caught into the process and we say, okay, here’s this and here’s this
and here’s this and here’s this. And what we really see is the inventory of shapes because
we drew that and then we drew that. And then we drew that and then we drew that. And we
never took in the whole design that we created. So make sure you stop and say, okay, now that
I’ve made the marks let’s see that whole thing. That’s one of the reason I like to
draw several lines. It slows me down and I really look at what I’m drawing then, but
I also look over here at the same time planning what I’m about to draw. Then I do this and
I’m really looking at what I’m planning to draw but also what I just drew as well
as the thing I’m drawing, of course. Then I come over here and feel that. I play each
like a ping pong. Ever more complicated game of—well, a juggling match, let’s call
it. I’m juggling all these things together, and I will go back and feel them. So I make
sure I take in the whole idea. This is in here. There is that center construction that
we can track all the way along. Everything is tracking in that lovely symmetry because
she has no expression that breaks that symmetry.
Here is the pouty area. We can just ever so subtly see that here. It comes into here.
You get these little marks here. Notice what I did also here. I turned this up, and that
takes a pouty feel of this idea and softens that. Moves it towards a smile. Likewise on
this one. I should have mentioned. I took the smile and turned it down. That will, of
course, soften that expression a little bit for us. Chin always is breaking in. That chin
might be thought of as a square too. That seems like just in general it might be more
useful for a male, more squarish we make things, just generically the more male, kind of aggressive
male it is. Oftentimes we’ll make things a little more chiseled if we’re doing a
male, a little softer if we’re doing a female. But those are broad generalizations and a
little bit of clichés. And so we might want to subvert that and change that so that we
don’t always give the audience just what they want, but give them some surprises and
hopefully some delightful surprises. There is that philtrum right there, right in there.
You can see and notice just real quickly the cast shadow. One of the nice things, we’re
not going to do shadows, but notice how nicely the shadow tracks over the form and explains
the form. And so when we do add shadows they become like contours. They’re tracking over
the volume, the character, and the dynamic position, the perspective of the form.
So very useful stuff.
Okay, so here is a profile again, but we’re underneath now. We’re underneath this like
this. So what I do is I visually put a bucket on that poor model’s head to feel what the
bucket would be like, and then I exaggerate and tilted the bucket. So this is coming off
here. Let’s just do this so we can do the context of things. This is pulling out here
and back. And so if we get a basic structure then we add the variations of that basic structure,
and that gets us going. But it’s conceiving of it as the biggest, simplest idea that we
can. Then we’re all set to move along with that.
Now, notice that this tubular idea, underneath the tube can also be thought of as being underneath
the box. In fact, I will always be thinking of both. When I’m trying to figure something
out I’ll think of it as moving over the tube, but at the same time I’ll be thinking
of it as moving over the box. I’ll look for opportunities to see that. Notice the
capital M can be thought of as a boxy idea, those points or corners. Those corners suggest
a box, and so we can make this a square idea, and it can be very useful for working out
where shadows go and highlights go as we find, but also giving things more personality, and
in this case, more position. So, if I can think of the chin going up and over, and then
this line is going to be my construction line. We would see the two eyeballs, the two nostrils,
the two ears. If we could see them they’d be doing that.
So now notice what happens. Now I can take all these constructions and take it this way.
So if we were underneath the nose. Remember, we want to keep the nose in within the bottom
plane. Let me give it a little shade there so you can see that. So that’s what we’re
thinking of. For all the features now. Here, here, here. Do that just so you can get a
better visualization. Sometimes we do this abstracting. We’re going to turn it into
something that it really isn’t, but it’s convenient and we get a little lost with it.
It’s a language to be learned, and it can be a confusing language at first. So whatever
you can do to help visualize that clearly. That’s why working from old masters is so
great because you can draw these simple ideas on top of this fantastic work.
So here is now the, since we’re thinking of a box, and I’ll actually do this sometimes
in my drawing; I’ll take out that simple conception away from the pitched battle and
look at it in a quiet place to understand. And so we want to feel the front and the side,
the front and the side. So each of these if it’s going to sit in perspective has to
show off the front and ideally shows off the side. Now notice in this case our capital
M idea is going to end up being this because we’re so far under it for the most part.
We’re not going to have that dip, but that’s okay. We’re still getting nice facets. So
front plane, corner planes or side planes. Front plane right on over to where the mouth
meets the face. Right on over. There at same point.
Secondarily, if we need it and see it and want it, we pick up a little bit of that M
and the n a little bit here. We’re going to let it fade off. Let’s dust that down.
This pulls back. There is that lovely pouty shape. Let’s do that again just so you can
see it. Pouty shape pulling in. And there you go.
Okay, so this time we’ve got the line of the mouth going this way. If you needed to
you could take and just lay your pencil right on your reference and then just put your reference
here. Bring it right off and check that angle or hold that up and look at the model on the
stand and bring it down to your drawing board to get that angle. So it hits here. The center
line is in here. And we are on top of it here. Since it’s going around, this side gets
shorter and this side gets longer, so we want to get shorter here. So double check how much
is really on that far side. It’s usually best to measure the short side first because
it’s a shorter side. There is less length to measure. And so there is less room for
error. Or you’re going to make less of an error. So squeeze that in nicely. Then squeeze
this out farther. And then we get that asymmetry going off like this. So that goes that way.
In this case I’m doing the lower lip first off this construction line because that shows—I’m
sorry the line of the lip first because that shows the constructed truth. Then I’ll add
in the lower lip around that.
Now, realize that whatever order you do to get it right doesn’t matter because the
audience isn’t going to know what just started first and what you ended with last. They are
just going to know that it looks terrific, and so if you have a comfort level that suggests—now
here is going to be our M—a comfort level that suggests that you start a place different
than me try it out. See if it works. You might well find that that is much more comfortable
to start over here rather than as Steve did over there. Then we’ll curve it back into
the rest of the face and soften that expression. Curve it back. And you can see it gives it
kind of a natural smile. There is that center of the lower lip that tracks this. You can
make it stiff or make it rounded or anywhere in between. This has a little bit of both.
It has a lot of roundness but also flattens in that front plane there. Just the barest
little bit of that pouty area, very clean line. I’m playing it up more than it is.
Very clean line there. There it is again. Repeating. This is coming under and then tucking
beautifully back. You can see kind of the front plane of the chin. You can even see
that chin kind of separating out as a rounder shape in the cheek and such going back there.
So that picks up there. I keep kind of bouncing back and forth to feel the symmetry. Make
sure I’m tracking. We’re in an asymmetrical position. We’re not straight on. We’ve
turned off this way. And so there is more over here and less over here. But there is
still a corner in a corner and a drop, and maybe an up and an up. So we’re still going
to have a certain symmetry going on there, but then it’s the, the proportions will
be asymmetrical. I’ll come back and forth. I always think of an orchestra conductor,
orchestra conductors doing this. He wants this brass section to work with the percussions.
He wants this over here and this over here to work tightly together and this over here
to be broad. And so there is a rhythm that happens to the forms.
And it can happen in the actual process.
I have a little bit of a process where my hand and tool kind of dances as I find those
lovely rhythms, hopefully lovely rhythms of the structure.
That’s my lesson on mouths. I hope you got something out of it. I hope you’ll go back
to it again and again to learn from it. Use those timed sessions in there to practice it.
Then we’ve got it under control follow me into the next lesson. That’s going to
be on ears. And there is more fun to come. So we’ll see you then.
Free to try
1. Overview1m 3sNow playing...
Watch the whole lesson with a subscription
2. Shapes of the Mouth18m 17s
3. Upper and Lower Lips16m 32s
4. Drawing Mouths in Perspective18m 33s
5. Old Masters' Analysis; Holbein, Raphael, Piazetta14m 0s
6. Old Masters' Analysis; Raphael11m 14s
7. Old Masters' Analysis; Rockwell, Manet9m 43s
8. Assignment16m 6s
9. Assignment Cont.15m 30s
10. Steve's Approach to the Assignment13m 33s
11. Steve's Approach Cont.16m 7s