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Merrill Kazanjian
Proportions of the Human Head/Face For Portrait Drawing Part 3
Proportions of the Human Head/Face For Portrait Drawing Part 3

Above: A video that covers the proportions of the head at the profile (side) view.

Below: The materials that I use to draw.

">15-Piece Drawing Set

15-Piece Drawing Set

Merrill's Opinion: Faber-Castell makes the best drawing pencils. These pencils are mixed with graphite and clay and enhance an artists ability to create and layer dark tones. You will see me use this set in almost all of my videos. 

Lyra Graphite Crayons

Lyra Graphite Crayons

Merrill's Opinion: Do you ever get TIRED of shading with a fine "tip" pencil? Get my "point"? This tool will save you time and money.

Click "MORE" to see me use this product in a video-

Robert Simmons White Sable Brushes

Robert Simmons White Sable Brushes

Merrill's Opinion: Robert Simmons brushes get better with age. These synthetic brushes collect particles of graphite as they are rubbed on a piece of paper. This enables me to softly move and blend tones. Most often I use the "Flat Size 10" brush but it helps to have a variety of sizes and shapes. 


Loew-Cornell Blending Stumps

Loew-Cornell Blending Stumps

Merrill's Opinion- INVALUBLE tools for blending! These will cost you LESS than a trip on the subway (Less than 2 dollars) and enhance your shading capacity substantially! I like Leow-Cornell because the stump is more compact and the tips do not wear as easily as other brands. I use these tools in almost every one of my videos.

Blick White Sulphite Drawing Paper

Blick White Sulphite Drawing Paper

Merrill's Opinion: Really, I DARE YOU, try to find a better value than this one! 500 sheets of 80LB (thick) drawing paper for $11.50. AMAZING DEAL!......If you use computer paper to create your drawings, you are ROBBING yourself from seeing what you can really do! This paper has more "tooth" (texture on the surface) than computer paper and your ability to shade will be enhanced.

Hey its Merrill. I recommend that you watch parts 1 and 2 before you watch Part 3... Click on the pictures to see parts 1 and 2.Welcome to part 3 of my workshop on proportions for portrait drawing ... This series is made for art students and this part will cover the profile (side) view of the head. I hope to give you some easy to remember rules and a formula, so that you will be able to draw the human head from your memory. Lets get started by reviewing what we learned already. Videos one and two proved that 1.) The eyes are not at the center of the head. 2.) Its generally five eye lengths across the face if you include the ears. 3.) Its one eye length between the two eyes. 4.) The outer corners of the nose generally lines up with the outer edge of the tear duct in the eye. 5.) The corners of the mouth is generally not as wide as the midpoint of the eye (but its close) 6.) The ears generally fall between the upper eyelid and the bottom of the nose. Now, lets look at the head from the side/profile view and add to our existing knowledge. 1.) The first question asks. Is the head more tall?......... or is it more deep? In other words, lets compare the distance between the chin and the top of the head.......Wow, it looks close......but there is a strange reason for that...........Observe the slope of the forehead and the shape of the top of the head. When we measure from the jaw line we go up to the top front of the head.......which is lower in height than the back of the head when we are looking forwards. Notice the difference when we measure the distance from the chin to the top....back of the head....there is no comparison anymore. For our purposes, lets think of the head as an egg shape from the side. But the egg is not straight up and down, it is at an angle.......HMMMM egg shaped....maybe Stewie's head isn't that out of proportion.Now that we understand the basic shape of the head from the side, lets look for universal rules. A good place to start is Leonardo DaVinci 2.) Leonardo said, "The distance from the middle of the nose to the bottom of the chin, is half the length of the face." This rule applied to all 8 of the models.....and the middle of the nose as a half way point, compliments what we learned in Video 1 and 2. Lets add it to our formula.3.) Leonardo also measured the distance between the chin and the throat and the mouth and the bottom of the chin as equal distances. This rule applied to all 8 of the models.4.) he also said, "From the chin to the back of the neck, is the same distance as between the mouth and the roots of the hair." Once again, this rule applied to all 8 models.The three previous rules were helpful, but some of Davinci's formula didnt apply to our models......For instance, The space from the chin to the base of the nose e f is the third part of the face and equal to the length of the nose and to the forehead. This breaks the face up in to three equal parts....but it only applied to five of our models.
Finally, DaVinci stated, "From the eyebrow to the junction of the lip with the chin, and the angle of the jaw and the upper angle where the ear joins the temple will be a perfect square.......... Zero out of eight people formed a perfect square from the four points that DaVinci named. I am mentioning this because we should keep the relationship between these four points in the back of our mind when we draw from observation, but lets leave them out of our proportion formula. One of the biggest mistakes that students make when drawing the head from profile is the depth of the ear, or on other words, how far back it is from the face. I recently came across a website that stated that the ear is exactly half the distance between the face and the back of the head.......WRONG!!!! It is definitely further back than that. The green line measures the distance from the face to the midpoint of the ear and the red line measures the distance between the midpoint of the ear and the back of the head. I estimate that the midpoint of the ear is 55 to 70 percent of the distance from the face to the back of the head. Be sure to notice that there is a range of values rather than a universal rule, so we will have to average our answer. Now I am going to test a measurement from one of my former teachers at the Art Students League of New York who taught me that there is an imaginary equilateral triangle that connects the pupil, the back arch of the ear and the chin. When I tested this measurement, it existed in 7 of the 8 people I measured. However, there is a flaw to this system. Notice that the bottom point exists at different points on the jaw line. But overall, this measurement helps us see that it is usually an equal distance between the eyes and the chin, the eyes and the ear and the chin and the ear.


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