Tuesday, April 23, 2013

More fun with facial planes

After making copies of the structural drawings of the face in the Russian Academy book Fundamentals of Drawing (see last post) I went in search of a photograph to copy, since that is another step in the series of exercises we have been doing as we study each part of the body.

It is surprisingly hard to find good photos that show the planes of the face. Once you start looking, you realize that portrait photos in commercial publications are invariably softened. I recalled seeing an impressive photo closeup of Vladimir Putin's face in The New Yorker, and located the issue. This amazing photo appears on page 94 of the December 19 & 26 issue of 2011, as part of a photo essay by the photographer Platon.

I was intrigued at Platon's use of the camera's tendency to distort closeups of the face, making the nose look larger, the rest of the face look longer and narrower, which he further enhanced with the black background. Spooky! Given this treatment, Mr. Putin looks like a feral rodent. The planes of the face, however, can be discerned, so I decided to copy this photograph. I used graphite on paper.

I seem to have got carried away with the big nose, it's even bigger in my drawing. I did what I could to delineate the facial planes, even though they are a bit washed out in the original photo.  Most of all, I was fascinated with the facial expression, very hard to capture, of deadpan, um, deadness. A very instructive exercise. Hats off to photographer Platon.

Moving on to a character with a bit more personality, I did my "life" study (another step in our series of exercises) of the head on one of the skeletons at the UAA drawing studio. These are charcoal pencil and white pastel pencil on toned paper.

So who is the spookiest? Putin or the skull?

Next post, at least one master copy of a charming lady, nowhere near as scary.

No comments: