Sunday, 31 July 2016

Draw Better Portraits: Avoid Four Mistakes when Drawing the Face in Three-quarter View

Drawing portraits is one of the most difficult subject matter to tackle, particularly when the face in the three-quarter view. The subject is not in profile, neither is it full frontal. Such a dilemma can cause skewed looking portrait drawings. Here are four mistakes to avoid when drawing portraiture in a three-quarter view.

This demonstration has been taken from my art book, Oil Painting the Angel within Da Vinci’s the Virgin of the Rocks: Unleash the Right Brain to Paint the Three-quarter Portrait View.

Leonardo da Vinci's angel within the Virgin of the Rocks
Here, I have used Leonardo da Vinci’s angel within his masterpiece ‘The Virgin of the Rocks’ as example, which is exhibited within London’s National Gallery. Here, the angel’s face is in three-quarter view, which can be tricky to draw.

Every drawing begins with a rough linear sketch. And unless the drawing is accurate, mistakes can be inherited within the shading and the painting. Here I have used two drawings to demonstrate common pitfalls portraitists can encounter when drawing the portrait in three-quarter view.

Drawing Errors to Avoid in Portrait Drawing

Common pitfalls students encounter within my drawing class are due to forgetting to ‘look’ at the portrait being rendered. Often, the beginner draws what is imagined rather than what is in front. Symbols or an idealized version of the feature is drawn rather than absolute reality. The face is more complex than the simplified view of what is imagined.

These issues can sneak into the drawing in the most subtle of ways, ruining the portrait drawing, even once the basic ‘egg’ template for the head has been rendered. Here are four common mistakes to avoid when drawing the portrait in three-quarter view.

Mistakes in Drawing the Portrait
Image A represents an accurate line drawing.
Image B represents common drawing errors in portraiture.

1 Illustrating the eyes in a simplified or symbolic way, often as almond shapes or a mixture of what is evident and the almond shape. The eyes often take on complex forms which need sensitive observation.
My Painting of the Angel

2 Not paying due attention to the pupils, as these form the focal point of any portrait. The slightest deviation from reality can have a fundamental effect upon the appearance of the portrait drawing. Ensure both pupils are similar in size and that the quantity on show beneath the eyelids is accurate. Too much, and the subject will look startled; too little and the subject will look unduly sleepy.

3 Beware of illustrating both sides of the nose if only one side can be seen. Here, only one nostril can be seen and one nub. Don’t illustrate both nostrils because the left brain ‘knows’ what is there. In three-quarter view, the nose will often take on an abstract form that does not fit what a nose ‘should’ look like. Often problems with the portrait can be down to the nose.

Buy from Amazon
4 Be careful not to illustrate the Cupid’s bow dead centre of the lips or near the centre, as this will not be the case in the three-quarter view. Also don’t be ‘tricked’ into illustrating a Cupid’s bow if none can be seen. Many subjects do not have a Cupids’ bow.

In conclusion, drawing a face in three-quarter view means dispelling all rules about what a face ‘should’ look like. This is because the face is not in profile nor is it in full frontal view. Facial features will take on odd abstract forms that in isolation do not really resemble a facial feature at all. The secret is to constantly be aware of how one feature ‘relates’ to another.

No comments:

Post a Comment