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Old 10-24-2002, 11:03 AM   #1
Margaret Port Margaret Port is offline
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The eyes are all important

Many years ago, I attended a sculpture workshop with a French artist called Frederick Chepeaux, who was a most beautiful portrait sculptor. He used eye size as a measurement for all facial proportions.

I use the same method when life drawing. I don't rigidly adhere to the measurements but they are very useful tool for checking likeness.

Using a serious face full on as my example, the widest part of the face is the eye level. 5 eyes wide. The nose is 1 eye wide.

The space between the base of the nose and the upper lip is 1 eye height. The lips are 1 eye height. The bottom lip to the chin is 1 eye long.

The upper base (where it attaches) of the ear lines up with the eye line, the lower base of the ear lines with the nose. The corners of the mouth (in repose) are directly in line with the pupils.

He had a similar method for figure measurement where he used the head height and width to give the proportions of the whole body but I haven't remembered that so well.

He had reference books on his methods. Perhaps someone else has heard of them.
Margaret Port
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Old 10-24-2002, 11:26 AM   #2
Steven Sweeney Steven Sweeney is offline
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I've read of this eye measurement methodology. Too hard for me to keep up with, and those diagrams of a full figures surveyed with eyes all over the figure -- it seemed too weird. Anyway, I absolutely defy anyone here to accurately measure an eye's width and transcribe it elsewhere, much less over and over. The only eye's width I've ever found practical is -- in the eyes, of course -- and then between the eyes.

The thing I love about Daniel Greene's instructional videos is that he sets up the anatomical proportions as a presumption. He's seen the archetype so many times, he knows what to expect. But THEN, he checks his assumptions against the model, and if the archetypical landmarks are WRONG this time, he changes them. Greene's methodology can carve hours, days or weeks off the wretching that goes into getting started, much less getting a likeness.
Steven Sweeney

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Old 10-24-2002, 12:20 PM   #3
Michael Georges Michael Georges is offline

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Steven: I agree about Greene's ability to draw the base proportions and then modify them to fit the subject's individual landmarks. I have a video of his where the initial drawing with paint looks a lot like a comic book illustration - he refines it from there and the end result is great. I just cannot get into mixing all those colors!
Michael Georges
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Regular and consistent work from life will improve your portraits.
Drawing skills are the foundation of all an artist does.
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