Friday, February 08, 2008

Drawing a Head: Three takes on the same view

Drawing a Head 7th February 2008: Getting there in the end?
graphite on heavy white cartridge paper

copyright Katherine Tyrrell

I always set myself a challenge for each drawing class - and I decide what it's going to be before I get there. Last night I was trying to decide between two alternatives. One choice was doing a series of drawings where each lasted no more than 15 minutes - paring down to the essentials. The other involved drawing the same head from the same perspective three times - to see what happened. Guess which won!

As usual I had two sessions of 45 minutes and the final session was 30 minutes. I'd forgotten to pack my pencil case so was limited to what was available - which was one of my mechanical pencils. (Dip a hand in any pocket and there's normally a pencil or a pen in it!) As before they are all on one piece of paper.

The drawing evolved - more or less as I expected. However it was still very interesting to see how the drawing changed.

Drawing the same head from the same perspective three times seems to mean:
  • you notice something new each time
  • your measurements get better - but still don't necessarily reflect real-life
  • values and proportion compete for attention - mastery of lost edges always seems to me to be the real challenge
  • the drawing always changes - and there is always scope to do better.
Any other suggestions?

The first time I saw values and tried to get a sense of relative proportion and lost and found edges.

The second time I got more of a sense of the 'real' face and a better sense of proportion.

The third time I think I got more of a sense of the 'real' person - but lost some of what I'd learned about proportion.

See if you can work out which is the first and which is the last drawing.

What I need to do for a future class is to have my paper set up in advance with 8 slots (4 to a page?) for the 15 minute drawings.

Click this link to can see my blog posts about my "drawing a head" drawings or visit my website to see a slideshow of my drawings a head drawings.


  1. I'm thinking the first one is the middle one and the last one is the bottom one. The best proportions look to be in the middle drawing---the eyes here seem as if they're placed most accurately (albeit I didn't see the model!) In the bottom one, the face is the most expressive, so I'm guessing that is the one in which you say you've captured her personality.

  2. I think the first is the middle on the right - hard to know which is second because I like the bottom one best - so I'm going to say that is the last. It must be a good resemblance to your model, Katherine because they look like triplets!

  3. I'd guess the first drawing is the middle one. The second is the top one and the third is on the bottom. I like them all. There's no substitute for drawing practice.

  4. Now for folks reading this on Saturday, I have to tell you these three ladies are GOOD!

    I was out most of Friday and hence moderated all comments when I got home - so they didn't see what each other had said. However they all said the same thing - and they were all correct!


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