DRAWING LIFE by fred hatt


Profile View

Filed under: Figure Drawing: Portraits — Tags: , , , , — fred @ 14:50

Kika Eyes Closed, 2002, by Fred Hatt

The profile or side view of the face has been a standard for coin portraits since ancient times, probably because it remains recognizable even when worn smooth.  The contour of the front of the face, and of the head and neck, conveys the individuality of the subject even when it lacks such significant interior details as eyes and ears.

A couple of decades ago, the side view of the face would probably have been the first meaning of the word “profile” to come to mind for most people.  Now the word is more likely to evoke a Facebook profile, a company profile, “racial profiling” or some such more informational expression of identity.  Facebook profiles include profile pictures, of course, but hardly anyone uses a side view.  It’s just not the way people see themselves.  But the side view can be a distinctive and highly expressive aspect of the human face.  In this post I’ve gathered together a variety of my own drawings of faces in the profile view.

Daniel Eyes Closed, 2003, by Fred Hatt

The subject of the drawing above has bold, prominent features, but his energy is turned inward as though in meditation.  The one below has a similar facial contour, but the pale eye and the shadows and wrinkles around it, give it a completely different expression.

Scott, 2008, by Fred Hatt

In the drawing below, the primary light source is behind the subject, making the facial contour both a bright line and an indicator of the more complex three dimensional structure of the face.

Che, 2002, by Fred Hatt

Below, the internal contours of hair and beard and brow wrinkles add a lot to the feeling of the personality of the subject.  As in the sketch above, you can see part of the eyelid of the hidden side of the face, which gives a clearer direction to the gaze.

John, 2002, by Fred Hatt

The angles of nose, jaw and brow help to define the individuality of the face.  The eyelids and the usually shadowed area where brow, eyelid and nose meet are also significant forms.

Izaskun, 2006, by Fred Hatt

Alley, 2009, by Fred Hatt

The way a person arranges, or does not arrange, their hair, and the way the neck carries the head atop the body, are other distinctive aspects of the body that convey personality, and that can be observed in most of these examples.

Patrick, 2006, by Fred Hatt

The arrangement of the neck and jaw in particular can give a profile a more sensitive or a more aggressive appearance.

Vinnie, 2009, by Fred Hatt

In the side view of the face, the ear is a central element.  The human ear is a wonderful convoluted shape, with considerable variation in size and overall shape among individuals.

Tram, 2008, by Fred Hatt

Hair can alter or emphasize the shapes of the head, as in the jutting beard above or the haircut below that reinforces the rectangularity of the model’s head.

Robert, 2004, by Fred Hatt

Marilyn, 2010, by Fred Hatt

Sometimes the neck and collarbone and shoulders are nearly as expressive as the face.  When I am drawing I often feel that I am exploring a landscape of hills and valleys, ridges and chasms.

Tanya, 2005, by Fred Hatt

Rios, 2010, by Fred Hatt

On a hairless head, the face and the skull are unified.  Hair often frames the face and disguises the shape of the rest of the skull.  This can make the face look larger or smaller in relation to the head.

Theresa, 2010, by Fred Hatt

In the drawing below, I knew I hadn’t captured the contour of the face accurately in the full upper body sketch.  Projecting the face in a larger size made it easier to capture this model’s distinctive profile.

Corey Two Profiles, 2009, by Fred Hatt

In the drawing below, I did the face large, and the full body smaller, from the opposite side.

Ivanhova Two Views, 2010, by Fred Hatt

And in my final example, two models posing together show very different facial structures.  The female figure in the foreground has prominent cheekbones, shallow eye sockets, and a relatively flat nose.  The male figure behind her has a prominent brow ridge and a more pointed nose.  Both models are sitting back, resting on the elbows.  The female settles her head into the shoulders, while the male’s head is slightly more lifted.  In drawing from life, capturing a likeness relies very much on observing the subtle differences that make each person physically unique.

Sasho & Tin, 2010, by Fred Hatt

The drawings in this post are in the range of 18″ x 24″ to 20″ x 27″, drawn in aquarelle crayon on paper.  Most of these were done during life drawing sessions at Spring Studio or Figureworks Gallery.  Some other side view portraits are among those in this earlier post.

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