Finding time is tough for me, and I intend yet to put together a laminated
instructional, but some years ago I extracted a system for drawing faces
reading and pouring over Leonardo Da Vinci's books. It is a system that is
built upon the Caucasion features unfortunately, yet...even so, as a
foundation, it helps the eye tune in to the differences.
I taught my son this system years ago, and today he is listed in a Who's Who
of caracaturing and in demand as such. He also has a cartoon strip in a
Chicago bimonthly international magazine...and yet is only 23 years of age.
The credit goes to his hard work, great eye...but, I think the system helped
him early on to really look at people.
What I do is have the students begin with the eyes, and not the shape of the
head. My thinking is, the eyes are the only perfected anatomy, the
pupil...iris being round and in alignment. One can make a face too narrow,
too wide, fat or thin, long or short and still recognize the individual if
the eyes are captured. ON the other hand, if the face is down perfectly but
the eyes are off, the person is missed. This being in mind, I figure
wrestle with the necessary right off. Get it down and the rest flows. Mess
it up, you know early on and can fix it or start over.
The length of the eye, is equal to the distance between the eyes. This
length is equal to the width of the nostrils. The distance from pupil to
pupil, is the same length as the ear, the nose, the mouth. This distance
equals the middle of the closed mouth to the bottom of the chin. The length
from temple to temple equals from the bottom of the chin to the middle or
"hump" of the nose, and from the middle of the nose to the forehead hair
If you draw a line straight down from the pupils, you will hit the corners
of the mouth, thus helping allignment.
I found the height of the eye goes into its length twice. This is the
diameter of the iris.
There is more....but I'll stop there and say I have students begin by
lightly sketching two parallel lines for which the eyes will allign and fit.
I then use horizontal sketched lines to box in the eyes making sure there
are three equal rectangles. That the height is twice the length of each
rectangle...that is two times the diameter of the iris.
What knowing the average ideal does is give a basis for recognizing the
unique traits and features of each person's face...and perhaps this is what
has helped my son with caracaturing best.