How to Study Portrait - Basic Structure

We have finally arrived at portrait drawing! I'm excited to get started. We'll begin with taking a look at the basic structure of the head and how to construct it.

I also have a video accompanying this post which I recommend you to watch, but I'll be able to keep this post more updated with new resources and better descriptions, so I recommend both watching and reading for everything to fully sink in!

1. What It Is and Why It's Important to Learn It

The basic structure of the head is, putting it simply, the basic 3D shape of the head. The head is a very complex form with intricate details, but to make it easier for us to draw it, we can simplify the head into basic volumes or forms. This is similar to what we saw in Figure Drawing - Form, but now for the head rather than the figure. Using the basic structure will allow us to better draw from imagination, reference, or in perspective. So, it's an important step that we mustn't skip.

It's likely that you've heard of the Loomis method to draw the head which was made popular by Proko. It is a method to help you construct the head using a sphere and a trapezoid. It's the most used method but it isn't the only one. You can use ovals, and you can also use a box. I recommend trying out all these forms to see which one works best for you. In the beginning, the Loomis method was not something I could do, I could use boxes though. However, now I can't use boxes and the Loomis method does work. So, one method might be easier as a beginner and others as you advance.

2. Study

The concepts I'll be talking about here aren't everything there is to know about portrait drawing, they're an overview of the key concepts. I recommend that you later study more in-depth using the resources that I'll mention. Remember to study smart by reading or watching multiple times as you're studying portrait to really take away as much as possible from these resources.

Summary of Key Concepts