Homework: tonal gradation and facial proportions

In order to fit more drawing time into the next class, please complete the following exercises at home and bring them with you on Monday. This means we can cover tonality and get an introduction to portrait drawing on the same day! Thanks class!

Reminder: Bring a mirror large enough to see your entire face at one time.
Student work: 20 minute portrait drawing 

1) Tonal Gradation
Time to get to know your pencils! H stands for hard (lighter) and B stands for black (darker), and F stands for fine point (used for detail, also a hard pencil). Higher number B means darker still, higher number H means lighter still. This all varies with brand, and most especially, with the touch of the person drawing. Press very hard with an HB (a middle-range grey) and very soft with a B, and what do you know? The HB looks darker! So what I recommend is to test this all out on your own.
- Make a rectangular box, approximately 5 cm x 20 cm.
- Use your darkest (softest B) pencil to make your blackest possible black on one side.
- The other end should remain white.
- Use all your pencils to fill in the gradation in between, making the transitions as smooth at possible.
- You might want to try this a couple more times with different pencil combinations.


2) Facial Proportions
Copy this diagram of facial proportions, measuring and correcting as you go.


  • Middle of the eyes are in the middle of the head.
  • Bottom of the nose is half way between eyes and bottom of chin.
  • Mouth (measured from between lips) is less than half way between bottom of nose and bottom of chin.
  • Head is 5 eyes wide.
Here is another useful measurement for profiles.

Placing the ear in profile. (Betty Edwards)
Human skull for reference!

Another diagram to reference for facial proportions.
Of course every individual has some slight variations in his or her facial proportions and structure, as exhibited so well here by David Hockney. He actually drew these portraits of security guards at an art museum with the aid of a Camera Lucida. 

"Twelve Portraits After Ingres" by David Hockney



And here is everybody using viewfinders during the last class! Speaking of optical devices (David Hockney and Camera Lucida), I just had to share this photo!






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