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Recently i have bought this book (the reprint of Constructive Anatomy), and since i'm already learning anatomy and memory drawing from this site, i have decided to use this book as a "completion".
I have read the part about the head because that's where i am at, and frankly i don't get it why Mr. Bridgman uses a box/cube to start drawing the head in his approach..
I am used to start things by drawing a slight oval shape.
Overall i just think(from the few pages i have read so far) that this book is a little vague. I find it hard to believe that when an artist needs to draw the human head he will start his construction with boxes etc.
What do you think?
A box, a circle, oval and a sphere are all used in several books(loomis, bridgeman,...) to start constructing the face.
Just see what works for you and run with it.
Some people just prefer to see the head in boxlike forms from which they carve away the excess, some people prefer to see the head as a circle and add the facial features onto it.
The head isn't really round or oval. Having people draw it in a box will prevent people from drawing a head like children draw them. To draw the head properly in perspective it's also easier to use a box.
The construction/understanding of the planes of the head and their influence on light and shadow is also easier when working with flat surfaces instead of curves and round surfaces.
Both circle and box are methods to help you understand certain aspects.
Box is alot easier for me so I can see the planes easier, I'm just a noob however, it has made it easier to distinguish.
With a box, you get the direction the mass is facing defined clearly in three dimensions as well as the major planes. It's also very conducive to thinking about symmetry. You can get all this using a sphere or an egg, but without care it won't be as clear as with a box (i.e. a lot of people misplace the centerlines on a sphere turning in space, and then all the subsequent features are skewed).
hmm anyway for me starting with an oval and then carving and sculpting the features and overall shape makes it more intuitive, its a lot easier to handle various angles of the head, this is just my opinion. I will try to give the box method a chance though.. :-)
This is the answer:
Carving and modelling can be accomplished with either approach. Just like boxes, spheres can be constructed using planes: by rotating a circular plane. Sketchup is an easy way to see this.
"Having people draw it in a box will prevent people from drawing a head like children draw them."
Loomis gives a genius approach in "Fun With A Pencil" that is derived from the way kids draw heads. The circle that kids use is an abstract way of representing an object. The circle could be anything: man, machine, animal, plant, and so on.
"Both circle and box are methods to help you understand certain aspects."
"Box is alot easier for me so I can see the planes easier"
The understanding of surfaces, and the direction of the masses, is inate. Boxes and ovals are just shorthand ways of jotting down pose ideas. Without that inate understanding they're useless.
"Beliefs are rules for action"
"Knowledge is proven in action."
"It's use is it's meaning."
From Gegarin's point of view
I think that it is best to try both the oval and the box method in order to understand different points and to see what works best for you. I have been using ovals, though I'm going to be starting Bridgman studies soon, so I don't really have a preference yet.
It's not either/or. The different approaches are only different in emphasis, not in the underlying concept, which is to get you to think in terms of three-dimensional construction.
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From Gegarin's point of view
Bridgman is very vague, but in a good way. His books helped me allot with general shapes, but when he gets specific with faces things fall apart. What he does well is explaining the mechanics of human anatomy. Don't bother with his book on heads though. He is only good for one chapter on that subject (boxes). I also wouldn't recommend his "book of a hundred hands" because 100 poses of the hand doesn't cut it. You just have to learn to draw your own hands (total pain in the ass)
I wouldn't spend $70 on a dvd. I actually bought a bridgeman book for under a buck on amazon, but the s&h was like $6.
If you don't like bridgeman try Hogarth.
I recently picked up Loomis's construction method and it really helped me. Without construction geometry, you are drawing a head like you would draw a landscape or a potato, but a human head has so much internal structure and symmetry that it makes sense to me to use it.
I would like to add my complaint here about Bridgman's construction method in Heads, Features and Faces. If you already knew where to put the nose, ear, cheekbone and chin and still don't know where to put the eyes, I suppose this is useful. I am unimpressed.
from page 58:
1. Number one line is drawn down the face touching the root and base of the nose.
2. Number two line from the base of the ear at a right angle to number one, with no relation to the face as to where the line crosses.
3. Number three line is drawn from the cheekbone at its greatest width to the outer border of the chin.
4. Where two and three intersect, start the fourth line and carry it to the base of the nose.
I've never been able to make heads or tails out of Bridgman's "draw the head in 4 lines" thing.
LOL! If you've got something with a cheekbone and a chin, you've pretty much got your head drawn already!
As far as drawing line 2 at a right angle: does this mean always at an actual right angle? Or, does it mean the way that a right angle would appear in perspective?
It's always been a mystery to me.
Over the years I've learned both ways of approaching a head drawing or painting. I find that, for me, I use a blend. I start with a circle or oval for the cranium and I drop a wedge for the chin according to where the head is looking. I then find the mid-line of the face and locate the corners of the eyes and the thirds (in perspective usually). From there I carve the brow ridge and carve the sides of the head from the front - I then place the nose, eyes, muzzle, and pull the chin in last.
That's my basic approach. I'm careful to build everything off the mid-line of the face and to think about continuity and wrapping of forms around the face. I carve all the major planes into the face like the eye wedge, the sides of the cranium, the sides of face, the back of the cranium. The face will usually sit above or below eye level, so it's important to take perspective into consideration when applying the thirds and placing the corners of the eyes.
Hope this helps
Just rediscovered your thread in Fine Arts.
Haven't asked anyone this in awhile.
How fast can you draw a decent solidly rendered head with your method?
And, just for continuity, do you have any idea how that 4 line Bridgman head drawing thing is supposed to work?
[I'm beginning to think it doesn't work! Why? It appears to be based on an isometric cube like draftsmen would use to draw machine parts. It's not demonstrated by Bridgman with a cube that is in proper perspective!]
The four line thing has always seemed loony to me. I find most of bridgeman's writing completely incomprehensible. I just look at the pictures.
Here's a scan of the 4 line method from the Bridgman "Complete Guide."
1. The block he predicates this head upon does not have lines that converge into the distance. Rather, they splay outward when extended. For the way things appear in nature this is wrong.
2. Looking at the next head based on this block, we see that the far side of the figure's forehead is too tall. Being that it is farther away from the "picture plane," it should appear shorter/smaller than the closer side of the forehead. This carries through the perspective error from the block.
Further, if a head proportion block is drawn in correct perspective, and the standard 3.5 units is used to measure the heads height, it is a simple matter to construct a line that passes under the figure's nose level without the need to draw several other construction lines.
There're a lot of great things in Bridgman's various works. And, using the simple Asaro-type planes to block in a head is a valuable tool.
But, this diagram is seriously in error!
To answer your question, I can tackle a head in 20 minutes or so. I've seen 5 minute drawings by Fred Fixler that are insane, the amount of information he was able to fit into 5 minutes is remarkable. I keep at the 5-10 minute poses, but they are crazy hard.
I think I'm still trying to figure out the 4 line thing. It doesn't seem to make much sense in it's limited amount of information.
Kamber Parrk: Thanks for posting a picture of the 4 lines. It was a curious choice for Bridgman to build from an Isometric cube. Oh well, I've vented.
I appreciate your mention of the Asaro planes of the head, too -- I hadn't seen that before.
Last edited by johnb; September 16th, 2010 at 02:56 PM.
I believe the cube thing is just for simply understanding perspective's effect on the head.
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a quick note from my experience: the third line in the Bridgeman method is the most important line when drawing different types of characters. By placing that line, you'll see how easy it is to define a certain type of face. Imagine an ant moving between from the cheekbone to the chin, following the relief of the face and lay down that line.
i never draw the 4th line, i just go free-flow from the third. As far as i understood Bridgeman, first line is line the symmetry axis of the face, second is a right-angle line to the first connecting it to the lobe of the ear, the third is seemingly unconnected to the others, i think it's supposed to be placed instinctually. As for the 4th, i didn't get it.
what's important is that you can define character very well by drawing the third line (highlighted in blue), even if you don't follow Bridgeman's method fully.