Pharaoh, It's the Great Pyramid of the Head. Duh!

12 Feb 2012

Structural drawing by Dan Thompson, mixed media, 15 x 25, 2010. Self-Portrait After Palmer by Dan Thompson, mixed media, 19 x 25, 2003.
Structural drawing
by Dan Thompson,
mixed media, 15 x 25, 2010.
Self-Portrait After Palmer
by Dan Thompson,
mixed media, 19 x 25, 2003.

I've taken notes from a lot of art instructors and sat in or participated in plenty of drawing classes, but when I heard Dan Thompson talk about the "great pyramid of the head," I was intrigued and knew that I wanted to know more from him on how to draw people.

What I so appreciate about Thompson's approach is that he believes in learning through many different practices. He doesn't perpetuate the myth that there is one artistic tradition or way of study that opens up every door for artists. Instead, he'll take an exercise like drawing people in a head study as a chance to explain how to get there through many strategies.

Thompson (demo drawing, above) believes learning to draw people is all about an interaction that you are making together with the model.
Thompson (demo drawing, above)
believes learning to draw people is all
about an interaction that you are
making together with the model.
For example, he starts to draw a person's head with anatomy foremost in mind. He breaks down the anatomical landmarks of the head, from skull and forehead to the neck, nose, eye, mouth and even the ear. In fact, the ear is what Thompson calls the great anchor of a portrait because if it is correctly rendered, the proportion and placement of the rest of the face's features come together more easily.  

Then drawing a person's head becomes a simplified value massing exercise with five values, where the middle light is built with hatchmarkings. Then onto viewing the head in terms of planes, which Thompson helped me better understand as a bridge between two-dimensional and the illusion of three-dimensional shapes. And finally, Thompson discusses the head as a landscape of features, where the eyes are structural coins, the nose is a lesson in triangles, and the mouth's structure is akin to a series of columns.

All this information really sunk in for me, and every bit of the insight that I got came directly from Thompson's brand new DVD, Figure Drawing I: Anatomy of the Head. Thompson's "all in" approach, his recommendations, and just hearing him talk so articulately and sincerely about learning to draw people—calling it an interaction that you are making together with the sitter—made me more excited and less scared of the whole process. In Figure Drawing I: Anatomy of the Head, Thompson brings his masterful instruction to all of us, and if you are like me, you'll watch it repeatedly and get something new out of it every time. Enjoy!

 


Featured Product

Figure Drawing I: Anatomy of the Head with Dan Thompson

Availability: In Stock
Price: $39.95

DVD

Learn to convey form convincingly with this essential head study!

More

Related Posts
+ Add a comment