In our last drawing post, we established that your memory is inadequate compared to your visual experience.
A good way to break old seeing habits is by assuming nothing about your subject, looking at it with absolute curiosity. Logic does not come into it. You need to move past a language of “things” to a language of “line and shape.”
To prepare yourself visually and to draw a sensitive and accurate pair of unique eyes, the following question will help you to see with the eyes of an artist:
- Are the two eyes exactly alike or are there small differences? If so, what are those differences?
- Could you say your eyes are one eye width apart?
- How much of the open eye does the iris cover? One third, one half?
- What is the shape of the upper lid? Is it a semi-circle or an asymmetrical shape?
- The highest part of the eyebrow appears where in relationship to the eye?
- Can you see any prominent character lines or folds around the eye?
- Can you see some dark shadows and some light areas?
- If you turn your head to three-quarter view, can you see how the eye shapes are now different.?
- In this three-quarter view, is one eye higher than the other on the page? Is one eyebrow higher than the other?
- Is there any of the eye obscured from view by the bridge of the nose?
- If you wear glasses, the size and shape of the lenses will appear different in the three-quarter view. Do you notice how the near lens is larger and more open in shape?
- KEY TIP! Look at the whites of the eyes. What shape are they? By drawing this shape, rather than the shape of the iris you will usually end up with a convincing set of eyes.
When you draw from observation these and many other questions are often automatically answered.
With your head turned to three-quarter view, (half-way between front and profile.) Draw as accurately as possible only the areas of the eyes, eyebrows, and the bridge of your nose. Remember to always draw what you see rather than what you know.
Using a 2B pencil with a sharp point, work mostly in line with some added shading to show the lights and darks. Try drawing “blind” at least three or four times and include at least two restatements.
Here is a drawing I did for this exercise. I kept the drawing loose and spontaneous and was pleased with the result.
Please send in your drawings for appraisal to firstname.lastname@example.org, I would love to see them!