The underneath structure is composed of various cavities and protruding bones convex and concaving throughout the semi-sphere. The skin that lays on top of the understructure is best understood as geometric planar shifts as illustrated in the painting below (right).



Use Vertical and horizontal alignments to align features such as corners of the mouth to the pupils.

Eyes are always in the middle of the head
1/3, 1/3, 1/3 between the chin to nose, nose to eyebrow line, eyebrow line to hair line
Nose corners line up with the inner corners of the eyes
Corners of the mouth align with the pupils
Ears align with the corners of the eyes
Eyes are an eye apart

NOTE: once the head turns all of this information changes and needs to be measured and sighted (vertical and horizontal alignment)


1. Loosely rough in a basic lights and darks such as eye cavities and major plane shifts the head (only use charcoal and a kneaded eraser; use tools that add and subtract large shapes)
2. Commit to the mask (eyes and upper nose area) articulate the small shapes within the mask (you can use smaller tools when drawing smaller shapes, such as a charcoal pencil, etc)
3. Begin to articulate the remaining features of the face using the mask as a reference point. Make sure to practice vertical and horizontal alignment methods along with measuring tactics to achieve accurate information.
4. Increase the range of value by pushing the lights, darks, and middle tones. At the same time make several passes defining subtleties throughout the face, etc. each time becoming more specific. Always work general to specific.



Painting and charcoal drawing are very similar when massing information and suggesting shapes.


Where to commit? The mask (eyes and upper nose) Commit by articulating the location, proportion and value of shapes that suggest the mask.

Notice how the left eye is highly described, but in simple terms of only 8-10 shapes within the eye cavity.



Once you have a grasp on proportions and control of your medium you can experiment with mark making, exaggerating values, focal points, articulating specific areas, etc.



















Melissa Cooke