any tutorial on simplifying facial structure from a photo ref to then draw

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    any tutorial on simplifying facial structure from a photo ref to then draw

    Hi, a few days ago, i decided to draw some faces again, just found out that my ball pen sketches as not as good as i like to think they are. i came across the fact that drawing with black pen can tend to lead to too strong a line and over shadowing, especially drawing female face. I realized that i might need to use a comic drawing approach, simplify the lines and shades might be a solution. are there any tutorial or books that any would recommend on this issue: simplifying lines from a photo reference??

    i wish i can scan up my crappy drawing and post it here to show you what i meant, but i don't have the original photo with me...

    anyway, many many thanks in advance.
    hope to hear all your wisdom.

    the little guy
    keith

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    There's not really a tutorial, it comes with practice. You have to train yourself to break down complex shapes into simpler ones. Your simple shapes being just any basic geometric form like a sphere or cube. Simplifying isn't just a comic approach, its done by most everyone.

    Female faces tend to be softer and rounder. Though that's just a guideline.

    Pens are good in a way because you can't erase. They force you to see your mistakes. In order to not make mistakes you have to improve hand-eye coordination. So drawing with a pen can be beneficial.

    I would draw with a pencil merely for the fact that you can draw very very lightly with a pencil. Start off with marks that you can barely see. Mark the locations of the major features and proportions. Then the major forms. Then refine and start getting darker and darker as you get what you want. But most of your drawing should be done lightly. The final marks will be the heaviest.

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    I think a lot of it depends on the style you're going for. You can do a highly rendered pen portrait with hatching and shading, or you can just use basic lines to suggest things like they do in comic books. (or you can lose your mind and do this )

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    You have to be very, very aware of the facial structure. Photos don't generally make it easy to read, so you must substitute your own knowledge. Best of all, observe the structure in the faces of all people you meet, and sketch them.

    Some books that can be a lot of help include Loomis's textbooks (in particular "Fun with the Pencil" and "Drawing the Head and Hands") and Tiner's "Figure Drawing without a Model".

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    Quote Originally Posted by arenhaus View Post
    Photos don't generally make it easy to read
    When using inks with photo reference, I like to make the photos black and white and up the contrast to see their facial structures better. Especially with bland lighting.

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    And then God said, "Let us make man in our likeness and our image. Let us make him ridiculously hard to draw so that poor artists everywhere will have to spend 10,000+ hours failing repeatedly before they can begin to capture the form and likeness onto a two-dimensional surface." And there was man. And it was good. And artists everywhere lost their minds.
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    Most of all, Learn to simplify the skull. After that, proceed to search out the planes of the features and explore their variations. Raileyh has posted some good diagrams that that outlines the planes of the face in a simple wire frame. Most photographs these days tend to smoothen out the features of the head and highlight the features, reducing the sense of mass and bulk. I would suggest copying paintings, rather than photos, using whatever medium you like. Find some portrait where the planes of the head are clear and focus first of all on drawing the shapes that define them.

    Most accomplished portrait painters agree that the key to the subjects likeness lies in the main characteristics of the subjects head. I's been documented that Sargent would paint the planes of the head first and lay on the features last.

    Edit: If you are interested, students notes about Sargent's methods can be found here.

    Last edited by AndreasM; February 28th, 2011 at 07:18 AM.
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    Here is something that might help you. It's some WIP drawings I did along with the photo reference.
    As arenhaus said above, the main thing is to realise the structure inferred by the photo reference in your mind and then put down marks that explain that understanding. The likeness, expression and 'lifelikeness' will then take care of themselves and with much, much more conviction, strength and potency.
    Hope it helps a bit!

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    Last edited by Chris Bennett; February 28th, 2011 at 07:57 AM.
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    An idea for other references.

    Black, Line Drawing, Google Search: Portrait

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    And then God said, "Let us make man in our likeness and our image. Let us make him ridiculously hard to draw so that poor artists everywhere will have to spend 10,000+ hours failing repeatedly before they can begin to capture the form and likeness onto a two-dimensional surface." And there was man. And it was good. And artists everywhere lost their minds.
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    you may also take a look at those pdf, very similar to Reilyh sheets.

    To be or not to be , this is the question !

    Help me drawing the head


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    PS: Sorry for my bad English
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    This:

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Bennett View Post
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    shows exactly what the danger of working with photo reference is. The artist succeeded to draw the face just fine, but then failed to place the head on the body - possibly because the pose in the photo was different.

    Always analyze and reconstruct the pose; remember that photos lie.

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    Quote Originally Posted by arenhaus View Post
    This:



    shows exactly what the danger of working with photo reference is. The artist succeeded to draw the face just fine, but then failed to place the head on the body - possibly because the pose in the photo was different.
    Hey arenhaus, that artist was me! The placing of the head like that was entirely deliberate since I was after a semi abstraction - a kind of flat and solid dicotomy.
    However, you are quite right about the the dangers of working with photo reference regarding this sort of thing.

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    Read this post from Hope Railey's blog.

    http://drawthefigure.blogspot.com/20...ting-head.html

    This pdf from Fred Fixler is a big help too.

    http://www.fredfixler.com/downloads/Reilly_Head.pdf

    Identify, memorize and practice those lines that setup your facial planes and proportions. I traced and drew 100's of photos until it became 2nd nature.

    Now, when I draw from my mind or from the model stuff comes out a whole lot more realistic and correct.

    Here's a pic I found on the net. I then identified all the structure lines.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CaW_ View Post
    There's not really a tutorial, it comes with practice. You have to train yourself to break down complex shapes into simpler ones. Your simple shapes being just any basic geometric form like a sphere or cube. Simplifying isn't just a comic approach, its done by most everyone.

    Female faces tend to be softer and rounder. Though that's just a guideline.

    Pens are good in a way because you can't erase. They force you to see your mistakes. In order to not make mistakes you have to improve hand-eye coordination. So drawing with a pen can be beneficial.

    I would draw with a pencil merely for the fact that you can draw very very lightly with a pencil. Start off with marks that you can barely see. Mark the locations of the major features and proportions. Then the major forms. Then refine and start getting darker and darker as you get what you want. But most of your drawing should be done lightly. The final marks will be the heaviest.
    your wisdom are very much appreciated! and you are right about sticking with pen, cause it forces you to just "draw"! for me who is a OCD, yea, this helps a lot, this is why i stubbornly drawing with black pen!!

    p.s sorry 4 the late reply!

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    Quote Originally Posted by arenhaus View Post
    You have to be very, very aware of the facial structure. Photos don't generally make it easy to read, so you must substitute your own knowledge. Best of all, observe the structure in the faces of all people you meet, and sketch them.

    Some books that can be a lot of help include Loomis's textbooks (in particular "Fun with the Pencil" and "Drawing the Head and Hands") and Tiner's "Figure Drawing without a Model".
    thanks!! there was a very kind guy posted a link and now i have them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by manlybrian View Post
    When using inks with photo reference, I like to make the photos black and white and up the contrast to see their facial structures better. Especially with bland lighting.
    right on approach!!! i think i will borrow that and see how it goes!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by AndreasM View Post
    Most of all, Learn to simplify the skull. After that, proceed to search out the planes of the features and explore their variations. Raileyh has posted some good diagrams that that outlines the planes of the face in a simple wire frame. Most photographs these days tend to smoothen out the features of the head and highlight the features, reducing the sense of mass and bulk. I would suggest copying paintings, rather than photos, using whatever medium you like. Find some portrait where the planes of the head are clear and focus first of all on drawing the shapes that define them.

    Most accomplished portrait painters agree that the key to the subjects likeness lies in the main characteristics of the subjects head. I's been documented that Sargent would paint the planes of the head first and lay on the features last.

    Edit: If you are interested, students notes about Sargent's methods can be found here.
    thank you for all the links, they are great!! and i think you are right about using painting, cause when my reference is an ink drawing or a CG images, i could draw to 80% to 85% likeness to the original reference. i was using the head portrait of Gordon Freeman from HF2, i think i did a better job with that. yea, i would agree with you on this!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Bennett View Post
    Here is something that might help you. It's some WIP drawings I did along with the photo reference.
    As arenhaus said above, the main thing is to realise the structure inferred by the photo reference in your mind and then put down marks that explain that understanding. The likeness, expression and 'lifelikeness' will then take care of themselves and with much, much more conviction, strength and potency.
    Hope it helps a bit!
    those drawing/paintings are great!! i hope i can be as good as you somedays...
    the figure proportion from those female drawings are great!

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    Quote Originally Posted by bfowler View Post
    Read this post from Hope Railey's blog.

    http://drawthefigure.blogspot.com/20...ting-head.html

    This pdf from Fred Fixler is a big help too.

    http://www.fredfixler.com/downloads/Reilly_Head.pdf

    Identify, memorize and practice those lines that setup your facial planes and proportions. I traced and drew 100's of photos until it became 2nd nature.

    Now, when I draw from my mind or from the model stuff comes out a whole lot more realistic and correct.

    Here's a pic I found on the net. I then identified all the structure lines.
    those are really good stuffs!! triple thanks to you!! and i agree with your 2nd nature theory! i will try to put more time, and one day i might just able to get to the level you guys are on....

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    just want to say super big hug for all of you guys. you guys are one of the warmest people. seriously, i didn't so much help would come.... you guys have offered in depth suggestion to my problem. so i am forever thankful!
    this is a great place to learn indeed!!
    thanks!

    the little guy gets a little bigger today
    keith

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  28. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by manlybrian View Post
    When using inks with photo reference, I like to make the photos black and white and up the contrast to see their facial structures better. Especially with bland lighting.
    Yes, that's a good idea. Black and white photos make tone much easier to read, and that helps in recognizing the structures. When I do quick sketches from photos for exercise, I prefer black and white ones.

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