1. ## finding the axis of a sphere, Loomis head drawing

Hello all, So I finally got the Andrew Loomis book for drawing heads. At the beginning ( going right back to basics! ) you start off with a sphere and mark the axis ready for constructing the rest of the head. I am struggling though because I am not sure exactly how you accurately find the axis lines on the sphere. I know roughly where they would go and can do an alright job ( I think ) with guess work, but I would like to be more accurate with these measurements, but I am not sure how. Is there a method or a way of finding the axis / slicing the sphere accurately or is it down to guess work?

I realise this seems like a novice question, but you have to ask to learn right?

Just a quick image of the paper next to me, it's not the best example as they are just doodles/ not even accurate circles but hopefully it gives you an idea what I am talking about if the text above made no sense.
Thanks

I am not sure if it's actually marking the axis I am struggling with or more wrapping it around the sphere, knowing exactly the point it falls off at / you can see to. Am I making sense or talking gibberish?

2. Hide this ad by registering as a member
3. Jester
Join Date
Jun 2007
Location
Toronto, Ontario
Posts
3,244
Thanks
282
Thanked 1,217 Times in 967 Posts
The Loomis method gives you an approximation of the head structure, so I think he is just eyeballing his axis and slices. Don't try to be too precise...

4. One thing you might do if you're having trouble visualizing how the sections across the spheres look is to
a) get a real sphere of some sort and draw the lines on it, then draw it from life
b) use a 3D application, draw a sphere and select the edges that correspond to the sections (see attachements)

With practice you'll get a feeling for how they look and you'll be able to apply that knowledge to any sphere from any point of view.

5. ## The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Benedikt For This Useful Post:

@Benedikt what program are you using there please?

7. draw a sphere

mark a spot on the sphere

draw two lines tangent to the sphere that also pass through that point.

and then draw from that point a line perpendicular to both lines

that line intersects the center of the sphere = axis.

8. @Amir0 not to sound extremely stupid.. but I don't fully understand

9. Last edited by Amir0; April 26th, 2014 at 11:46 AM.

10. Registered User
Join Date
Nov 2003
Posts
1,924
Thanks
54
Thanked 825 Times in 678 Posts
Originally Posted by Stephen H
@Benedikt what program are you using there please?
Looks like he's using Modo, but you can easily do the same thing in any 3D program (i.e., Sketchup or Blender, both of which are free.)

11. I'm using Modo, but it should work ina any 3D software really.

Amir0's stuff I can't figure out for the life of me

12. Yeah sorry Amir0, I am struggling to follow what you mean

13. if I understand your problem correctly, what you are struggling to do is to paint a (2d projection of a) sphere, and then plot an axis line on it.

An axis of a sphere is a shorthand term denoting the sphere's axis of symmetry. obviously it has an infinite number of them. However all of them have the following properties:

1. They all pass through the sphere's center
2. They are all perpendicular to the sphere's surface.

Using these 2 mathematical properties a sphere's axis can be plotted through numerous geometric methods. one of which i've tried to present... and apparently failed.

14. I have to admit I couldn't follow Amir0's explanation either, but the way I approach finding the axis is by using it's symmetry as well.
First the axis will divide the sphere/circle into even halves. The entry point then is an equal distance away from the circle line as the exit point.

This disregards perspective though. To be more correct you'd have to construct a box around the sphere or use 3d software.

15. ## The Following User Says Thank You to Schraverus For This Useful Post:

16. Amir0, I am going to have a read over all the info you have given and see if I can get my brain in gear.

Schraverus, I am really liking your suggestion, definitely something easy to remember and use. You mentioned it might not be correct in terms of perspective, which is a bummer, but at the same time, this is just for getting the basics for building construction lines on a head showing the angle of the face etc, so hopefully this will be what I need for that!

So that worked great for the horizon line, to get the vertical line is it just a case of starting with another straight line but diagonal in the opposing direction, or is it a little more complicated then that?

17. I've never seen anyone use this process successfully, and I've never seen anyone make an interesting head design starting from it.
I think you should lay off this process for a while, and instead do a lot of quick head studies from photos, toys, a mirror, and models.
edit: I should be more specific. The problem is that the questions you are asking are irrelevant for the design of a head, a point on a sphere, a cut through a sphere, and it's Loomis's fault for making you ask these questions. That is the problem with this process, it tends to act as a distraction to more important questions, concentrating on an x on a ball floating around nowhere in space will distract you from the relation of the masses and also their expressive forms and shapes, and drama created by actions between characters.
Last edited by armando; April 29th, 2014 at 05:08 PM.

18. dammit took me ages to save up for that book!
There anything in this process that is of use then or do you actually think I am just wasting my time with it?

19. A lot of people swear by Loomis, if you like the way they draw then stick with it. To make a short explanation of it being able to follow along with Loomis has a lot to do with cultural background, Loomis has a very photographic way of working. Slicing the sphere seems to be the only area where people get stuck on, and a lot of people never pass it, it threw me off for a long time. I haven't looked at Loomis in a long time, and I don't think I owe him anything.

edit: "slicing the sphere" isn't the only spot people get stuck, they also get stuck on the generic proportions which serve as a similar distraction.
Last edited by armando; April 29th, 2014 at 05:23 PM.

20. ## The Following User Says Thank You to armando For This Useful Post:

21. That's actually pretty helpful to know I am not the only one it's throwing off a little then, Cheers Armando. I was starting to think there was no hope for me in the art world if I couldn't even make the slicing a sphere work for me! I will maybe work through the book but take each bit of information given with a pinch of salt, I'm sure there will be some tips I can use within the book if nothing else, plus there's always the hands section at the back too.

Would be interested in hearing if anyone else has had a similar experience/what everyone else thinks too

22. maybe I am a bit late in saying this, but my recollection from loomis's book is that this excercize is meant to be done to imperfection.

meaning you're not supposed to "get it right". you're supposed to just do it quick and dirty and move on to the next step.

23. ## The Following User Says Thank You to Amir0 For This Useful Post:

24. Haha that does help cheers Amir0

25. Jester
Join Date
Jun 2007
Location
Toronto, Ontario
Posts
3,244
Thanks
282
Thanked 1,217 Times in 967 Posts
Originally Posted by armando
I've never seen anyone use this process successfully, and I've never seen anyone make an interesting head design starting from it.
That says more about you than about the process, I have seen quite a lot of professionals successfully using Loomis as a starting point. Just understand it is a guide for constructing proportions in space; it was never meant to crank out interesting head designs.

26. ## The Following User Says Thank You to eezacque For This Useful Post:

27. I just found this video which is pretty cool, summarises the method I think, although instead of getting the hairline and then finding the nose size from there, he finds the nose size first from the cut off of the sides of the sphere and then gets the hairline from there. He makes it look pretty easy. Think I just need to practise those basic bits like he says in his video

28. Originally Posted by eezacque@xs4all.nl
That says more about you than about the process, I have seen quite a lot of professionals successfully using Loomis as a starting point. Just understand it is a guide for constructing proportions in space; it was never meant to crank out interesting head designs.
All it says about me is that I've seen a lot of drawings. Your error is that you believe it is a starting point but on the contrary the starting point is to first have a lot of experience looking at and drawing heads from photos, life, sculptures, drawings and paintings. This head geometrization can be thought of as a summarization, it isn't possible to summarize something until you have acquired a lot of facts, therefore it actually occurs only after someone has a lot of experience. Whether or not someone chooses to use it for an analysis is arbitrary since any form can be geometrized a thousand different ways.
Another thing is that the demos of this process aren't examples of the artist doing real work, they're examples of the artist being a teacher and demonstrating a teachable method that doesn't require any new analysis of the process of making art by the teacher. It's good for making videos on youtube and guaranteed to get hits by the key word "loomis" or "loomis head construction" etc.
The only purpose of a construction is to carry an effect over into a finished drawing. It's not just something you do at the start then discard, the quality at the beginning remains at the end. So if someone starts with blocky forms the quality of blockiness remains in the final picture, start with round forms and the quality of roundness remains at the end, the geometry of the page is part of the construction, the types of symmetries etc. etc.
Browsing through the sketchbook section will prove all this.

29. Jester
Join Date
Jun 2007
Location
Toronto, Ontario
Posts
3,244
Thanks
282
Thanked 1,217 Times in 967 Posts
Originally Posted by armando
This head geometrization can be thought of as a summarization, it isn't possible to summarize something until you have acquired a lot of facts, therefore it actually occurs only after someone has a lot of experience.
Excellent point! I decided to leave this summarization to someone who has acquired a wealth of knowledge, and wrote instruction manuals about it that have been valued by many professionals over the past decades. Yes, I am building upon the knowledge of Andrew Loomis, as I do not like to reinvent the wheel.

For me, it is okay if you insist on telling others to build upon a different source.
Just do not tell people to start at square 0, because they first need to acquire a lot of facts: ignoring the history of art education is worse than wasting just one life. You are wasting a full generation.

30. I'm not telling anyone to ignore art history or the history of art education, I actually believe in the opposite.
It doesn't matter that Loomis was able to make a summary, that his use of that scheme was backed by years of practice, it simply isn't possible to transmit that kind of experience via a book. Something like a transmission is possible if you work with someone side by side in real life, if there is an artist who favors this scheme they can nudge you along and have you drill this over and over and correct your drawings with their own drawings right over yours, but this isn't possible from a book.
I've seen this question come up dozens of times, and I can look at people's drawings and see what they are thinking because drawings are transcriptions of thoughts, they are searching in the wrong place. It's better to ignore this sphere problem for a while, get a bunch of experience, then come back to it.

31. I think overall it is much easier for people to think about and resolve ideas if they can strip the idea to it's bare, core concepts.

When you make a scene in a painting if you can isolate the position and size of characters, their poses and interactions, their gestures, that helps you a great deal.

which is why so many people draw manikins and "dress them" when they paint. This helps divide an otherwise mess of details into a small number of simpler problems.

from what I've seen so farm there are a number of different manikin styles each with each own advantages. Even I with my crappy level of skill alternate between 2 of them (this helps solve different problems).

I think it is incorrect to say that you cannot teach manikin making. It's a conceptually simple technique that doesn't have a high skill floor and just requires you to have the right frame of mind.

Which is all you really have to learn as a first stage - how it is built, what the different objects represent, how to variate on it et cetera.

The refinement of the manikin to perfection can be done at later stage or even as part of doing other things. because "getting used to it" and understanding its structure is more important than getting the angle of the axis just right.
s

32. Registered User
Join Date
Sep 2014
Posts
1
Thanks
0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
http://blog.naver.com/hahoho09

Hello!
I solve this problem for six months and I Found it!
I found the solution in [Perspective! for Comic Book Artists] by Chelsea, David
Although this is all commented korean language(because of my nationality) you can guess What it mean.
I hope you guys struggling with this problem solve the matter

33. Thanks for that It might take me a few looks to understand it fully
Appreciate the help though!

34. I hope its okay to reopen this topic for a very short discussion.

Originally Posted by armando
I've never seen anyone use this process successfully, and I've never seen anyone make an interesting head design starting from it.
I think you should lay off this process for a while, and instead do a lot of quick head studies from photos, toys, a mirror, and models.
edit: I should be more specific. The problem is that the questions you are asking are irrelevant for the design of a head, a point on a sphere, a cut through a sphere, and it's Loomis's fault for making you ask these questions. That is the problem with this process, it tends to act as a distraction to more important questions, concentrating on an x on a ball floating around nowhere in space will distract you from the relation of the masses and also their expressive forms and shapes, and drama created by actions between characters.
If you are not into Loomis method thats fine, just because something isnt working for you doesnt mean it doesnt work at all. Your posts on this topic is very misleading, I mean no disrespect at you but you are misguiding a few. My humble opinion is Loomis books are priceless altleast to me as I have no option for life drawing and art education, I find the Loomis book on the head is very clear and practical.

Below are some of my sketches, all of them based on Loomis method and I know my sketches are mediocre, so dont blame Loomis for my mediocrity.
I'm not picking up a fight with you or anyone who disagrees, just want to point out that Loomis method (one of the many methods for drawing the head) can work if one wants to.

35. Originally Posted by Asura777
Below are some of my sketches, all of them based on Loomis method and I know my sketches are mediocre, so dont blame Loomis for my mediocrity.
I'm not picking up a fight with you or anyone who disagrees, just want to point out that Loomis method (one of the many methods for drawing the head) can work if one wants to.
The problem with these sketches is that once you have some reference, you seem to toss Loomis' structure out of the window and switch to copying the lines and blots. Which is a wrong method.

The head structure Loomis shows in his books is, first of all, for giving you a way of thinking about a head that you are seeing in front of you. If you just copy the structure and then just copy the reference without thinking of its underlying structure, you are not using Loomis' method.

36. Originally Posted by arenhaus
The problem with these sketches is that once you have some reference, you seem to toss Loomis' structure out of the window and switch to copying the lines and blots. Which is a wrong method.

The head structure Loomis shows in his books is, first of all, for giving you a way of thinking about a head that you are seeing in front of you. If you just copy the structure and then just copy the reference without thinking of its underlying structure, you are not using Loomis' method.
Just because the structure is not visible doesn't mean the structure doesn't exist, then again like the other person the discussion isnt about the sketches of the person using the method, its about the method. I dont know how else to say but all of the sketches are based on Loomis method, the head turning image was done without any reference, some(3) of the heads of children from the first 3 pages of the sketches were not drawn from reference rest are from thumbnail images of children from a magazine.

You can critique my sketches, I'd be very happy, but the purpose here is whether Loomis method is helpful? to me it definitely is, here are a few sketches without reference (after study) just to show that I try to understand structure and use the method when I draw, instead of just copying lines.

Page 1 of 2 1 2 Last

#### Posting Permissions

• You may not post new threads
• You may not post replies
• You may not post attachments
• You may not edit your posts
•

Developed Actively by the makers of the Best Amazon Podcast