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.

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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.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

The Croquis Template for Fashion Illustrators

How to Draw the Fashion Figure for Dress Design Illustration

A guide on how to sketch the fashion form for those who wish to present their dress designs in a portfolio.

Having fantastic ideas for dress designs is no good if the artist fails to come to grips with the proportions of the fashion figure. With such guesswork, the fashion design sketch is unlikely to impress.

The Fashion Croquis

The Beginners Guide to Drawing the Fashion Form

The idealized figure, upon which, fashion illustrators drape their dress designs on, is also known as a “croquis.” The word “croquis” comes from the French word, meaning, “to sketch.”

Drawing the Idealized Human Form Made Simple

The croquis is a means of communicating fashion concepts via an idealized fashion form. This form, which can be made into male or female, measures nine to ten heads high. A normal human, measures seven to eight heads high. The legs are elongated for effect, but the proportions between the head and crotch, retains realism with the human form.

How to Sketch the Fashion Form Step-by-step

Fashion Croquis Skeleton
The proportions of the fashion figure are easy to remember and the instructions easy to follow, but practice will make perfect.

Draw a straight line for the central axis of the figure.
Divide the line into nine equal segments.
Number each line from one to ten. See Fig.

The Croquis Head and Torso

Draw an inverted egg shape for the head within the top segment.
Draw the shoulder line halfway between lines two and three.
Make the shoulder line two head lengths wide and center it on the axis.

The Lower Abdomen and Crotch

For the waist, draw a line at line fours.
Make the waist one head length wide and center it on the axis.
Form an inverted triangle by bringing it to just below line five.

The Arms

Drape the upper arms (shoulder to elbow) from shoulder to waist.
Bring the lower arms (elbow to wrist) from the waist to the crotch.
The hands are three-quarters the head in length. Attach to the wrists so that they drape half way down the thigh.

The Legs and Feet

Bring each leg from the edge of the lower triangle to line ten.
The knees should be at line seven.
The feet should be half a head in length as viewed from the front.

Fleshing out the Fashion Figure

Adding the curvy contours around the skeleton of the fashion form requires a little practice. Studying fashion figures in magazines with improve the drawing technique. This will help acquire a feel for this final process.

Masculinity can be suggested by slightly broader shoulders and a little narrowing of the hips. The facial features will be more angular than the female features. Facial features should remain simplistic and suggestive, but could provide a signature to the individual artist.

Postures of the Fashion Form Sketch

Arms and legs can be pivoted to suggest different postures, and the proportions will be retained, for example, standing legs akimbo, or legs apart. The angle of the shoulders and the hips can be angled to suggest jauntiness. However, the proportions will not apply if there is any foreshortening effect, for example if any of the limbs are pointing towards or away from the viewer.

The Perfect Fashion Design Figure for Dress Designs

The croquis is an idealized version of the human figure that is not a realistic version of the human form. The exaggerated proportions serve as a suitable blank canvas onto which a fashion illustrator may demonstrate their fashion concepts. Becoming familiar with the proportions and in drawing the fashion form, the designer will enhance the appearance of their portfolio and increase their chances of being commissioned within the fashion industry.