Drawing Basics: Get In That Box!

Head of 12-year-old Christ by Albrecht Durer, drawing, 1506.
Head of 12-year-old Christ by Albrecht Dürer,
drawing, 1506.
Adapted from an article by Dan Gheno.

As you know from my previous blog about needing a GPS to draw heads–because I get more lost in the eyes, ears, mouth, and nose than you'd think would ever be possible–I am on the lookout for any kind of aid or tricks or artistic voodoo that can set me on the right path. That's where Dan Gheno–a gem among men–comes in.

Stereometric Man (detail) by Albrecht Dürer, 11½ x 8, drawing from artist's notebook.
Stereometric Man (detail)
by Albrecht Dürer, 11½ x 8,
drawing from artist's notebook.
Head of Apostle Looking Downward by Albrecht Dürer, drawing, 1508.
Head of Apostle Looking Downward
by Albrecht Dürer, drawing, 1508.

He gave me yet another trick that I love to use when trying to draw a noggin. This time it is all about using linear perspective to draw the head. Dan advises trying to better gauge the tilt and angle of the head by visualizing it in a box, just like Albrect Dürer drew in his sketchbooks.

Doing this can make it easier to "see" the tilt of the form with opposite sides slanting parallel to each other, just like you are taught to do when first learning about perspective drawing.

All you have to do is remember that if the front of the face is angling down, the back of the head is on the same slant. And when it comes to aligning the features on a face as they recede into space, I just remember to draw imaginary perspective drawing lines (in my mind) that converge downward when I'm drawing the face from below, and upward if I am drawing a person's face at eye level. Sounds easy…now it's time to put it into practice. So head, get in that box!

And if you want more instruction on how to draw people, perspective drawing, painting techniques, and more, consider building your own Collection CD Bundle, where the more you purchase, the more you save. Enjoy!

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Courtney Jordan

About Courtney Jordan

  Courtney is the editor of Artist Daily. For her, art is one of life’s essentials and a career mainstay. She’s pursued academic studies of the Old Masters of Spain and Italy as well as museum curatorial experience, writing and reporting on arts and culture as a magazine staffer, and acquiring and editing architecture and cultural history books. She hopes to recommit herself to more studio time, too, working in mixed media.   

3 thoughts on “Drawing Basics: Get In That Box!

  1. I like the ball and cross technique. The cross is a great tool to help with proportions of the 3 equal divisions of the face and the center line vertically from the center of the eyebrows to the center of the chin creates the angle of the face.

  2. In regards too The drawing of the Head of 12-year-old Christ by Albrecht Dürer,
    drawing, 1506. Adapted from an article by Dan Gheno. It sort of reminds me on the painting of the MOna Lisa !! Is this just me !!

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