What is the Andrew Loomis Technique

An introduction to the Loomis method for drawing heads correctly in perspective

If you want to draw a head from any angle, you need to understand the basic anatomy of the skull. You need to be able to see the underlying shapes that hide behind the details of the face.

In order to be able to construct the skull, it is important that you learn the simplification to the basic forms. This method was developed by Andrew Loomis and made famous by artists such as Stanislav Prokopenko.

Understand the basic forms

The head, broken down into its basic forms, is formed from a ball as a skull and a block as the jaw and cheek area.

A bullet as a skull

The sides of the head are flat so we can sever a piece from either side of the ball. Viewed in profile, this shape looks like a round circle. From a different perspective, the side of the skull becomes elliptical until you can only see a flat cheek area in a perfect frontal line.

You can divide this lateral circular shape into four areas by its center. Again, the size of the individual fields depends on the perspective. In a 90 ° profile, all surfaces are the same size. If you rotate with the perspective in the direction of the front view, the front two surfaces become larger proportionally to the rear two surfaces. Overall, however, with increasing frontal perspective, the size of the side surface decreases compared to the frontal area with the mouth, nose and eyes.

  • When viewed from the front, the upper end of the side surface is approximately level with the hairline.
  • The center line of the four fields is approximately at the level of the eyebrows.
  • The lower end of the side surface is roughly where the nose meets the philtrum. This is where the jaw area of ​​the face begins.

A block as the jaw and cheekbones

Attach the jaw shape. The front part of the jaw starts roughly at the level of the eyebrows of the ball. The rear part runs centrally out of the side surface of the skull.

Instructions: Draw a head with correct perspective

Step 1: determine the angle of the sphere

The angle of the head is determined with the sphere at the beginning of the drawing. All three axes must be taken into account:

X axis: The upward and downward inclination is illustrated by the angles of the horizontal and vertical lines in the oval side surface. The rotation around the X-axis corresponds to an upward and downward nod of the head.

Y-axis: The direction of rotation of the head (left or right) is determined by the width of the oval. In the frontal position, you can see more of the face and less of the side, so the oval that represents the side becomes narrower. The rotation around the Y-axis determines the viewing direction of the head. From a side view in profile on one side to a frontal view and a side view of the other side.

Z axis: The reflection around the Z-axis corresponds to a lateral inclination of the head. In order to perform them correctly in perspective and not to forget the other two axes, you have to pay attention to the angle of the center line of the face (running through the middle of the two halves of the face), the angle of the oval and the placement of the oval on the sphere.

Step 2: find third

The distance between the hairline and the eyebrow line (1st third) should be the same as the distance between the eyebrow line and the lower nose line (2nd third). Add the same space to the bottom of the head to determine the position of the chin. Keep in mind that this division into thirds doesn't have to be perfect, but it is a good guide to creating a proportional face.

Make sure that the hairline, the brow line and the end of the nose are aligned with the oval side surface. The position of the chin must also be based on the imaginary course of the jaw in order to maintain the correct dimensionality.

Step 3: draw the jaw

The jaw is often drawn too long compared to the sphere. Orientate yourself on the drawn thirds and then connect the center line of the flat side of the head with the lowest drawn third.

The exact shape of the jaw depends on the desired result. Some people have a sloping jaw that starts just below the ear. Others have a lower jaw that runs towards the neck at almost a 90 ° angle to the chin.

Step 4: draw the face

When the basic structure is built up correctly, it becomes much easier to add the individual features of the head in the right places.

Learn more about how to draw a proportional face here.

Learn to draw a head with these examples