Drawing Basics: Put Your Head in a Box

In the fall 2006 issue of Drawing, we explored the sometimes daunting task of drawing accurate heads. Here, we suggest one technique from the article that will help you use perspective to better gauge the tilt of the head.

by Dan Gheno

Drawing by Albrecht Dürer, Stereometric Man
Stereometric Man
by Albrecht Dürer, 11½ x 8
From the artist's Dresden Notebook.

Use perspective to better gauge the tilt of the head by trying to visualize the head encased in a box, as Albrecht Dürer illustrated in his notebooks. It’s easier to imagine a box tilting in space, with opposite sides slanting at near parallel angles. This helps you remember that if the front of the face is angling down, the back of the head follows the same slant. If you are imagining the head encased within a box, you’ll also remember to tilt the top and bottom of the head as well. It also helps to use perspectival tracking lines to align the features as they recede into space. Keep in mind that these imaginary perspective lines converge downward if you are drawing the face from below and converge upward if your eye level is above the model.


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