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Art Lessons: Abstraction of the Head

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the abstraction of the head has been going
on for literally centuries.
Leonardo da Vinci did his own version of
the abstraction of the head.
Fixler did his version.
Frank Riley did his version.
Historically people have been trying to
figure out
an easy way to break the head down, that's
easy to learn from.
So, my version of the abstraction of the
head is a,
just another version that I found was
easier to apply
to portraiture and to construction of the
I call it the Boo Abstraction of the Head.
Call it what you want.
But here it goes.
And it's really fun and it's really easy
to do.
And I think, you can not only do this, but
you could have your own take on this and
make it your own thing.
But it really will help you, whether
you're drawing from life.
Or you're drawing from your imagination.
It's kind of an invaluable tool for
creating heads.
So, first off, you know,
the head is, here's, here's.
Here is an egg.
So the head has, for me, always looked
like an upside down egg.
So it's, like, wider at the top and
it comes to a point, here, like that.
That's kind of how I always start.
Now, before we get into anything we gotta
just kinda just break everything
down into, simple shapes and simple
The central axis, we will bisect the head
like that.
And the central axis is kind of showing
you were the center, of the head is.
So if we take the top part of that head
and the bottom part of the chin.
We just quickly measure out halfway down.
And I feel like halfway down, should be
right about there.
And halfway down are gonna be where your
eyes are.
Now halfway down, from that measurement.
And I'm going over this over and over
again because it's really important to
really hit these certain basic fundamental
You gotta get the basics down.
The more basics you have the better you're
going to be.
The more words you have, the more
articulate you're gonna be able to be.
The more keys on the piano that you play,
the more you'll be able to express
So it's the same thing with drawing.
Don't skip the foundation.
Especially you.
Right here, halfway down, is bottom of
that nose.
Like that.
So I like to start with the ear.
Because the ear, to me, is an amazing
landmark for everything else.
So the ear, as we know, comes from the eye
the lobe goes to the nose.
I'll go all the way across here, here.
Now I take the top part of this helix and
I bring it all the way down to the corner
of that mouth.
Right there.
Take the top part of that helix and
bring it all the way down to the corner of
that mouth.
That is really representing the barrel of
the mouth here.
That's kinda what this whole area is, the
barrel of that mouth.
Now the bottom, or the inner part of the
helix I take
and make it come right to the jaw line,
right here.
And this comes right.
To the jawline like that.
So, top part of that ear is all the way
[SOUND] This nose is gonna be broken down.
The nose is starting from the glabella.
And let's get that nose in and construct
that nose really fast.
You've got the nose coming, emerging from
the brow ridge.
Got this plane here.
Then you have this plane here.
You have the under plane, the corners of
that nose, and
the bottom of that nose sits lower.
You have the under plane, and the corner
of that nose.
The top of that nose comes up to the
corner of the eye.
Like that.
That's the corner of the eye.
Other part of that eye is right about
This part here.
Okay, so, let's just get the eye
So the eye measurement is five eyes across
the face.
So we've got an eye from here to here.
That's one.
We have an eye from here to here, which is
this eye right here.
Then you have an eye width here in the
glabella area
that's also called the third eye.
Then you have another eye width here, you
have another eye from the corner
here, from your eyebrow, as it turns
Goes back into space to here.
So, you have in effect one, two, three,
five eye widths across a frontal view of
the face.
So, the eye here is
sitting in a cavity is
basically a ball that
sits in the cavity.
Corner of it, corner of the nose comes to
the tip of the eye.
I'm just
gonna draw
one side because that's really not that
Now the corner of this jaw here, if we
back along this eye, the outside of the
and we swing it back we're going to have
the side plane of that head.
Like that.
That's going to give us the side plane of
that head.
Same thing.
You take this, brushing it back,
it's gonna give us the other side plane
that head.
That jaw comes down here.
And it's back.
Jaw comes down here.
LIke that.
Now the neck is going to emerge.
The neck is a lot wider than we usually
think it is.
For some reason like if you, a lot of
people draw really thin necks.
Which is problematic because the neck if
it's to thin,
it can't hold the weight of that head.
Like that.
you really want to make the neck a lot
thicker than you really think it is.
Because neck can be pretty thick
especially in some men, myself included.
You know what I'm
talking about.
Okay. Neck. Neck.
And incidentally, that nose is not only
aligning with the center of the glabella.
It's also aligning with
the philtrum here with the center of the
lip here with the bottom of the lip here.
The mandible here with the voice box.
And also with the pit of the neck.
Like that.
So, there are a set of muscles here and
you can almost see it like when you, when
you laugh, and you smile, and you frown.
There's a whole set of muscles here called
the orbicularis oris.
And that abstraction is, I like to do it
like this.
So it comes from the corners of the nose,
of the wings of the nose, alll the way
around like that
And attaches here like that.
So, you have another group here.
On your temple area that I like to,
kinda draw in here, like that.
All comes from the brow ridge, all the way
up there.
And of course, the sternocleidomastoid
process muscles come down here.
These come down here
as well and attach.
The end of the neck is here.
So, here are just basically some really
important measurements that I like to use.
And I like to always kinda think about
when I draw the head,
this is a symbolic abstraction of the
Obviously, when I'm drawing a head from
I'm projecting maybe some of these
principles, but not all.
But when I'm doing stuff from my head,
I use it all the time cause it's really
So just to review,
corner of that nose is going to come up to
the corner of the eye here.
Corner of that mouth goes straight up and
is going to be the center of that eye.
It's going to be the pupil.
Right here.
Goes straight up.
And that's where that proportion is.
The eyes are lining up, with the tops of
those ears,
the bottom of the ears line up with the
bottom of the nose.
Always have a central axis.
Like that.
It's gonna be where you have the mandible
all the way to the center of your lip,
to your philtrum, to the bottom of your
to your glabella, all the way up to
the top part of the head, like that.
The eye is five widths.
In proportion across the front of the
The jaw lines up with
the corner of the mouth.
The set of orbicularis oris muscles attach
in here.
The interior part of the ear comes to the
corner of the mouth.
The outside comes to the bottom of the
The back of the mandible, this part of the
mandible goes all the way up
on a diagonal, like that.
As does the ear, like that, which seats
behind the mandible.
The temple, where you're turning form,
turns all the way down to the mandible
which lines up with the corner of the
And right here, your temple area is where
personally find a really interesting place
a protrusion and for color shifting.
That's really interesting.
And so these are also breaking up.
As we paint them they're breaking up into
color zones.
We'll go over that later.
But, we're going to be mostly warm yellow
a little bit more red right around the
nose area and
the cheek area because it's closer to the
And then a little bluer, expect blue gray.
Violet especially in men because of our
beards and the facial hair.
It's cooler here, really warm here.
And a little prettier, and more golden
right up here in the forehead area.
So, also just remember that the neck,
it's coming right about here from the
That's just really, really important to
know that, because in general,
the rule of thumb is that people make the
neck way too thin.
And everything is lining up going right
down to the pit of the neck,
which is here, and it's just good to have
those principles down.
So you can memorize all of this.
You can memorize some of it.
This is my take on the abstraction of the
You could look at Leonardo Di Vinci for
You could look at Frank Riley for
You could look at Fixler's abstraction of
the head.
You could look at a lot of them that are
out there, and
artists historically, have kind of,
developed their own signature abstraction.
This is my particular one, because this
really helps me with what I do.
I think it will really help you with what
you do and help guide you through drawing.
But you could have your own take on it.
At the end of the day, you just wanna have
fun and
you just wanna have the best time ever.