Construction of the head (Ideal male – American)

Ideal male head - Front View
Ideal male head - Front View

Hey everyone! How are you doing….? You know, I was just thinking….. now that I have somewhat closely studied the muscles of the human body; I was thinking, the next time someone asks me how I was doing, I am going to reply with a Oh….Um…let me see….you know….everything´s fine except my Extensor carpi radialis hurts from the badminton play….or …. my latissimus dorsi (the lats!) is sprained from the twists in the yoga that I did today or…or…you get the idea? ….. most probably people would stop asking me how I was doing, after that …….!

Ideal male head - Side view
Ideal male head - Side view

Coming back to heads, these first two heads are from ‘Drawing the head and hands’ by Andrew Loomis.  (sort of combined the proportions in page 43 with the planes in page 33) Its a really well proportioned head (are there any other women artists out there thinking how cool it would be to construct this way for real?? not the physical proportions, but emotionally… the way you want, little bit of this, little bit of that, more of this quality and less of that quality ha ha… guess it wouldn´t work.. life would be way too simple then! (and where´s the fun in that,right?)), and he gives the measurements for the front view and side view, but the problem is that, most often then not, heads are painted in the 3/4th view (because that is the most interesting angle) and you can´t use the same measurements in perspective, because of course, the widths start to decrease towards the vanishing points, also, one side decreases more rapidly than the other.

I have done this head form the same measurements in perspective and I thought I would share this here. (The head is at eye level here.) If you study the section on how to measure off unequal distances in perspective, you can apply that here. Two measuring points (MP) are randomly  chosen on the horizon, close to , but on opposite sides of the (vertical) measuring  scale. The widths of the front-view (first figure) are taken on the base line towards one side and the widths of the side-view (second figure) are taken on the same base line towards the other side. These points are extended towards the opposite measuring points. Where they cut the base lines of the face (which recede towards the two vanishing points) are your new widths in perspective from which you can construct the whole face.

3/4th View
Head in perspective

The front plane looks rather flat because you tend to follow the features along the straight, guiding lines but this front plane should be made curved, like in the ball and plane method.

The ball and plane method is much more intuitive and straight forward but the difficulty in that method lies in the very first step – dividing the ball into four equal parts in perspective. Slight deviations in those lines at the beginning, give rise to major distortions in the final face! Creating the sphere from perspective rules feels a little too complicated not to mention those countless lines running all over the face.

The initial circle can also be placed here for this method, but again, works only for the front and side views. The center of the circle for the front-view is in between the eye brows (marked by a small plus sign) and for the side-view, it is in front of the ear. For all the other views, it is a bit haphazard finding it, and can only be put in roughly. Any thoughts on an alternative way for going about this from anyone would be much appreciated…….!

Of course, with some practice, after a while, you wouldn´t be needing all these measurements but if you feel that your proportions always seem a liittle bit off, then doing this would really help you find where you are placing your lines wrong, because we do consistently make the same mistakes, like always judging the widths larger than they should be or making the lengths shorter.. things like that…

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