I initially wanted to take exception to Mentler's criticism of the 1/2 and 1/2 view. I mean, that's how a head is frequently posed, look at the reference for gosh sakes! We see it all the time! To back up my contention I looked at diverse portrait artists at ARTRENEWAL, including Leonardo and Singer Sargent, etc, but found--SONUVAGUN--Mentler's right! More often than not the portraits I looked at were in the 3/4-1/4 ratio he described, and that accounted for the strong dramatic sense of a form in space with definite receding and advancing planes. the experience made me feel even more jaundiced than previously about the uncritical use of photo reference, especially considering that the flattening effect of the !/2-1/2 ratio is seen as a virtue in a kind of documentary journalism-style photography, where the point is to provide as much information as possible, not necessarily recreate the visual experience of the 3-D world.
Also interesting to me on this thread was the personality of the artist coming through in the African-American head, in the subtle changes from photo to drawing which lend the subject more warmth, specifically the eyes being slightly wider and more focussed, and the hint of a smile playing about the lips, where the photo shows a more abstracted, even grave demeanor.
"Three's so little room for error."--Elwell