1. ## Drawing the Head and Hands - Andrew Loomis

Now I get the concept of how he draws heads. Draw the basic shapes before putting in the details. I have learned how to make the simple head form, and face proportions. But what always messes me up are the lines on the circle when in 3/4th view or anything like that.

Does he use an instrument to make sure that those lines going around the sphere of the cranium are accurate, or did he just practice? Because I'm having a hard time with them.

2. Originally Posted by AzuzaPesant
Now I get the concept of how he draws heads. Draw the basic shapes before putting in the details. I have learned how to make the simple head form, and face proportions. But what always messes me up are the lines on the circle when in 3/4th view or anything like that.

Does he use an instrument to make sure that those lines going around the sphere of the cranium are accurate, or did he just practice? Because I'm having a hard time with them.
It's all about visualization and "feeling the form." Try to visualize a real face, or reference a real face, and then try to imagine a contour wrapping around it, or a cross-section cutting through it.

3. It's all about feeling out the form, you have to use your judgement to tell what's right. The mechanical nature of the construction formulas are misleading in that they make beginners think that they can get their answers like a math problem. We have an inate sense of form, the function of those construction lines is get past the flat force of the page, to activate that latent feeling of form. There are actually many ways to do that. The ball with a line down the middle is actually pretty useless when drawing realistic heads. That line is a diagram, an abstract way to show something that is in actuality invisible: our sense of symetry. You could tell tell that a face was symetrical before you learned about it right? Trust your senses. Don't try to draw balls with vertical lines, draw people.

4. This is kind of a rambling post, and a necrobump that the original contributors to this thread may never ever see again, but I think it's worth it (also, if my language seems abrasive, that's just me venting/being sarcastic/self deprecating):

Eh, I've gotten to that point, OP. That dilemma of 'oh shit, how do you get from 'profile' to '3/4ths'. My conclusion was that drawing profile views or 'front views' over and over doesn't really help one's sense of depth and form.

I've practiced far more '3/4ths' or more generally, heads in space/angled, because I wanted to practice drawing the human head in 3 dimensions. I get that '3 units' rule for the head as a good guide to not draw completely terrible shit. But then you get to the 3/4ths view like you said, and then it kind of stops being as useful.

My problem, like yours, is to figure out the next step. Hogarth, in his Drawing Heads book ("Drawing the Human Head"), actually complements Loomis really well where he takes that guideline and shows how you can use that template for a 'front view' head and turn it into a 3/4ths head.

But then that will only take you so far too.

Originally Posted by armando
Trust your senses. Don't try to draw balls with vertical lines, draw people.

I know where you're coming from on one angle, but on another this comment really frustrates me. I've tried to 'trust my senses' for years and it really just gave me years of dicking around, picking up random facts here and there but never really progressing on a coherent level.

I WANT structure. I WANT that mythical 'foundation'. But here I read things by skilled artists that basically say 'yeah, that's kind of useless in the long run' and I'm left in confusion. Is Loomis even worth using as a guide for practicing? Is Hogarth? Do we just wing it on our own and eventually the animal spirits will guide us to better art? That's what it kind of sounds like to me, even though I'm pretty sure it's not what's meant.

I've winged it pretty hard. I've winged it like a winged wingman. But I don't feel like that has helped me progress nearly as fast as the material from Loomis and Hogarth.

I agree that these rules kind of end there once you understand that things like "flattened ball with wedge coming out with a line in the middle" is an abstract concept that you can mentally refer to, not obey totally.

But I also kind of feel let down at that point too, like I don't know how to really progress beyond the book.
Last edited by Cortes; April 14th, 2012 at 10:48 PM.

5. Originally Posted by Cortes
But I also kind of feel let down at that point too, like I don't know how to really progress beyond the book.
You progress beyond the book by putting down the book and looking at the world.

6. Originally Posted by Elwell
You progress beyond the book by putting down the book and looking at the world.

Yeah, I took some life drawing classes with a model back in 2010. I respect your opinion greatly, but I think my problem earlier was the complete opposite I'm having now; I focused more heavily on drawing directly from life and (attempting) to just 'look at the world' without any construction planning beforehand.

The results from those classes are completely different from the sketches I made with construction in mind. Recently I've been drawing from a photo reference as a loose guideline for gesture, then using my memory to deviate from the ref and create an original figure from it. That is kind of an approach between drawing from life and using reading material, without relying too heavily on the photo due to camera distortions.

Compared to the life drawings, these construction-based ones seem tighter and more focused. The life drawings had better sense of value however.

It really does feel like two different halves of the brain dominate depending on what kind of drawing I'm doing. I've learned from both; the challenge then is combining both too.

I think the more structural approach of recent was necessary for me to really get some coherent concepts in my muscle memory. I'll sign up for more life drawing classes when my schedule permits and see how I've progressed by returning to a more intuitive life drawing regimen.
Last edited by Cortes; April 19th, 2012 at 05:12 PM.

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The Loomis ball certainly has value, especially for artwork that is generally more imagination and construction based like animation. I've seen sketchwork from professional animators where you could see them still using the Loomis ball. However, for most of us, it is just another of many guides on this crazy journey. Just another of many tools you pick up along the way to help you understand concepts and solve problems. Growing as an artist is a cumulative progression, you just keep practicing with all these tools and over time it just comes together.

These experienced artists aren't truly saying that tools like these are useless, it's just that they've sort of grown 'beyond' them and maybe they've forgotten how important those tools were to unlocking their current level of understanding.

Just keep drawing, keep challenging yourself, keep learning; you'll get there.

8. Cortes - if you haven't already, I suggest practicing self portraits. You'll be able to see how those principles mentioned by Loomis etc correlate to people/things in real life.

9. For me the solution was Doing more perspective studies.

My example Isn't the best, but I have found doing these constructions a lot enough helps me to "wing it".

10. Eesh. Weird stuff happening in this thread. I have a sense of what Armando is trying to get across in his post but I think people are taking it the wrong way. He's not saying that construction is useless (at least I hope not), just that people stick too closely to formulas when the reality varies more than the formula could ever hope to encompass. I think what we're losing here is that for a beginner OF COURSE it's useful to learn a generic model (or more likely multiple models) of the head that describe it's anatomy and planar surfaces in a linear, easy-to-digest fashion. Then at least you have something to build on. Suggestions like "study from life" are obviously good but IMO only part of the equation. Staring at a head and drawing what you see will never get you very far if you don't know what you're looking at.

11. I think some people should read the books pertaining to Hale's lectures. I believe they help bridge that "I want construction and rigid rules" and how artists got beyond it but learned how to see things in a bigger sense.

http://amzn.com/0823002810

http://amzn.com/0823014010

12. For me, experiencing what a correct sphere and ellipse look and feel like and practicing with the ability to test correctness has been much more helpful than feeling around for it.

Attached is my attempt to explain how to measure based on the front and side views. I'm using orthographic projection This works for tilting too and still when you add a jaw. Sorry I don't have a plan view for the last one. It's it lots of pieces because it was complicated.

What do your sphere's and ellipses look like?

13. The back part of the skull is ball-like--

The whole skull?

. . . not so much.

The skull is an extruded egg-like flattened square-oid sorta thing.

Drawing from life, I think it's easier to start out approximating what things really look like.

[And, Loomis probably used projected photos to draw a lot of those nude women in high-heels-- instead of starting with that skeleton robot thing ]

14. I think this video does a great job of relating Loomis head construction to reality:

15. Originally Posted by Cider
I think this video does a great job of relating Loomis head construction to reality: