HOW TO Portraiture Axis & Placement of Features


We can simplify how we observe the head by thinking of it as an oval or egg which can be viewed in nine classic positions. The imaginary line running through the oval from top to bottom is the axis, the north and south pole. This axis tilts and pivots.

Before we begin drawing the individual features it is important to know their placement. This is more important than accurate drawing of each feature. Placed incorrectly, they can end up looking very bad!

As the features recede away from us, partly through the effect of perspective, they compress and become closer together. A great little exercise is to take small images from magazines, etc. and cover them with tracing paper. Redraw a simple “egg” over top of them, and draw some surface reference lines that circumvent the oval.

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