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Art Lessons: Portrait Measurement

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when we draw a portrait, it's really
important to go over all of
the necessary measurements in order to see
where we are.
It's really easy to get lost on distorting
an eye or
not showing enough cranial mass or
making the nose too big or too small.
And you really have to be able to figure
out where your straights and
horizontals are.
And hen portrait drawing is really a
matter of just following a certain
amount of rules that you give yourself
that are really fun and you can do it.
I mean, everybody can do this.
So let's give it a shot.
So, when I'm drawing John, I like to take
a couple of measurements.
I take my pencil and I take it from this
side and I go all the way across.
By the way, see how I'm squinting with one
It's not because I'm squinting at you.
It's just because I have binocular vision,
like everybody, and
I wanna make sure that I only see this
through one eye.
What is the first thing I'm gonna touch?
Right there.
So I'm doing, basically I'm doing, I'm
ghosting a line.
I'm doing kind of a phantom-ish line.
And I see that his head, his cranial mass,
is going this way,
and then I'm hitting his cheek bone right
around here, and
then the head's going that direction.
So, this is pretty much his cheek bone, if
I draw a vertical down this way.
Now, if I do the same thing, a horizontal
from the top and I
use this as my horizontal, the first thing
that I come to is that piece of hair.
If I do it from this side, the first thing
that I
come to is that other piece of hair right
Then I go diagonal down, and
I find his ear, and diagonal down, the
bottom of that ear.
And, diagonal back, the neck.
So, it's not a 100% accurate
cause if it was, I would be measuring from
this ear,
to this hair, to the eye, to the, we can
do that.
But right now, these are very quick
measurement so
you can get a portrait down because, as
you can see,
John is very uncomfortable modeling, very
nervous right now, too.
And obviously, doesn't wanna be here.
But he's a captive audience.
Thank you, John, by the way.
Great model.
Just so presidential right now.
It's unbelievable.
Seriously, good looking guy.
Holding that straight, you know, sometimes
I draw with both hands.
So I like to kinda switch off a little
So I just like to kinda figure out where
certain measurements are.
So, I take that nose, I know it's coming
this direction, like that.
And, I go straight up from
that nose, I'm gonna find
that corner of that eye,
which comes up and around.
Now, you could start anywhere.
You could really start anywhere.
I just decided to start with the nose.
But we can start anywhere.
I mean, let's go back over here and say
okay, let's take the eyebrow.
Like that.
And, the eye plane here.
Eye plane here.
And this is really
Now every nasal,
every nose is so different.
Wanna be able to kinda like [SOUND]
discern the individual.
I know this is definitely going this way.
This is going that way,
the mouth going that
way down now up.
Back, like that.
Now the center of his hair is right about
And his hair comes out to about
here, and that hair piece.
That hair piece
goes right about to
the center of that eye.
And I'm kinda just getting in some pieces.
Now, I'm drawing with a prisms tip which
doesn't allow me to erase.
And, I wouldn't recommend this for doing a
final, final, final portrait for
a commission or anything.
But this is really good for an exercise
whatever marks you make are indelible and
it allows you to see all your mistakes.
So it's a good thing to make mistakes,
because it lets you get better.
That's what this is all about Okay.
So John's nose comes way more in, like
And this is the side of his head.
I'm gonna switch hands a little bit.
I'm gonna
get these big
shapes in.
Sometimes you wanna squint.
I'm just getting that negative shape of
that goatee.
That negative shape and,
this weird shape here, that beard.
Now, this cheekbone is really important
here, kind of comes out
and dips back and around and comes up.
There's a hair there and goes back.
And this hair goes that direction and
So up, back, out.
So this hair's almost creating a plane
back here.
This top wall of that hair plane and this
goes back.
And that distance is just the temporal
Sometimes I'm mumbling just because I'm
trying to figure things out.
So don't mind me as I talk to myself.
It's really all about getting these
certain measurements.
And you get these certain measurements
okay then you're on the path.
And it's this, the beginning.
This is where it's really hairy.
You miss these and you kinda like.
It's not good.
[LAUGH] Put it that way John.
All right he's got a big lid.
Heavy lid.
I'm just squinting a lot,
trying to see shape.
Not really looking for anything but shape
at this point.
The shape of that mouth going down.
Oh, wow.
That ear.
If I do it straight across the ear, it
goes right through those eyes here.
So my ear's way too high, and I should
know that.
But, sometimes you just make mistakes and
you gotta correct them.
Sometimes the most beautiful thing you see
in a drawing is when you see all these
mistakes that have been kind
of dealt with.
The bottom of that lobe goes really low.
Right here like that.
Sometimes it's not a, it's not Mozart that
gets you, but
Beethoven you could just feel the emotion,
and the mistakes, and the energy.
I feel that sometimes when I look at like
a, like a Rembrandt.
I don't think Rembrandt was the greatest
He was goddamn good, but he wasn't the
I see a lot of.
Energy in his work.
Kind of a lot of correction.
The beard goes all the way down.
It's like I said before,
the brow ridge has to be glazed back.
Squinting to see those shapes.
Always keeping a center point.
The nose, lower than the wings.
Thicken that cast shadow,
but just kind of, making something.
As if light is streaming
in even though it's not.
His mouth has to come to here.
And if you squint down, you can kinda see
that the dark point of the mustache.
as dark as that top lip sometimes.
And the bottom lip kinda recedes.
Here, that negative shape.
That's interesting.
And that beard is soft.
And it goes down and
connects to his beard.
And this cheekbone comes down to the
maxilla here.
A little bit of light on that plane, and
then his beard.
And all this is the same value, same
plane, same value.
And a little bit of a darkness in
the middle part of his, part of his
eyebrows, and then it kinda goes to light.
And this collar is kind of important.
Oh, let me get that beard first.
The beard here is all soft edges, it kinda
wraps in space.
And the beard really goes in,
I mean it really actually has this, this
diagonal push in.
It's a very full beard, good job growing a
full beard.
I can't do that.
Who needs it though?
When you have the mustachio.
Full beard on you though, good job, always
wanted to do that.
God, how does one do that?
So, as you can see.
We got a little more arc here.
And that earlobe.
Really needs to feel like an earlobe.
And it gets, the temperature gets really
red over here.
Kinda hard to show that.
But you usually go a little darker with
So it's getting a little redder here.
Even though we're drawing a black and
white, I'm always translating things to
And where are those accents there?
He's got a little hair coming down there
So, I want to feel that collar
wrap sculpturally around in the back.
Okay, the back of that collar kind of
lines up with the back of his hair.
Kind of, and
then this neck
comes in.
I'm not going to line up everything.
Because this is somewhat interpretive
But I will get that hard line.
That beard.
A beautiful beard he's got going.
All right.
Now this quickly kind of working that.
Those stripes in, because that's kind of
an interesting design quality to it.
And as long as you're kind of wrapping,
with the form, you're, you're okay.
So you're wrapping with the form showing
that the collar comes up, and around,
up and around.
This is coming down, down, up.
And there's a whole, kind of, soft cast
That is casting onto his shirt.
And if you really squint down, that beard,
under this underplane, it's very dark.
As does this.
Right here, the neckline, the beard, gets
And that neck kinda gets softened into
background a little bit, lose some edge.
And kind of lose a little of the light
everywhere here, too.
There's something about the mouth where I
missed his likeness but.
As you could see.
That's your eyelashes.
Just really, not thinking about the hair
in terms of each strand,
but as an overall shape, there's just this
shape here,
this top shape here, this bottom shape
This one plane.
And this other plane below.
Are there things I would do different?
Can I?
No, I have a Prisma stick.
That's why I can't.
That's why this is a great exercise.
But You do what you can do.
Ooh, you okay, John?
So just a couple minutes, a couple, couple
You're doing great.
See if I could just erase a little bit
into the blondeness of that beard.
Not really.
Doesn't really erase.
Gonna give it a little bit more volume.
So the light's kind of falling and
hitting, top plane of his hair first.
And you wanna always soften that hair.
It's hitting this plane and
then it's gonna hit the secondary plane
which are his cheekbones.
And the light kind of falls off, see.
So light's gonna hit here and it's gonna
fall off.
And you can feel his cheek bone right in
pushing all the way down to the barrel of
the mouth here.
And if you want pick up a couple of
strands of that beard.
Just a couple of strands,
to make it give it a little bit of
And here too.
Pick couple up, like that.
It's not really letting me erase too much,
Little texture with those pores make it
look a little bit more realistic.
Just little things, little things, little,
itsy bitsy teenie weenie things that make
it look a little better.
There's that hot spot on the ear too, that
I managed to keep.
So obviously if I was painting this my
adjustment would be in this mouth.
I lost the likeness a little bit in that
mouth, but I would fix that.
And the thing is who's gonna really know
that it looks like him or
doesn't look like him besides you?
At the end of the day we just wanna know
if the portraits good or not.
My portrait will be around forever.
John, on the other hand, he may not.
Although, I did, I did draw him very
Maybe a lot more than he is in real life,
[LAUGH] I'm just saying.
All right this is this is a little like
you mixed with Abe Lincoln.
But it's cool.
Abe Lincoln was a quite a handsome devil,
by the way.
Dashing actually, with John Wilkes Booth
thrown in.
All right.
Probably throw another Abe Lincoln vibe
there that I'm going for that.
Okay, done.
Thank you.
You're amazing.