Basic construction of the Head


                 First simplydraw a circle. If you run an axis from the top to its bottom and a line along its equator, you can already imagine it be a sphere instead of a circle, even without any tone or value. Divide the sphere into quarters to further aid in this imagination. The sphere tips in the direction that you tilt the axis. Now if you slice off the sections at the sides of the sphere, you will get the sides of the head. The equator line becomes the eye brow line (the position where you place the eyebrows, not the eyes) The front of the head is curved but not as rounded as the sphere, therefore flatten it out a bit and bring it down a bit to get the bottom of the chin. i.e., Mark a point about halfway between the eyebrow line and the point where the axis comes out of the sphere, that gives the hair line. Almost about the same distance below the eyebrow line, is the end of the nose, the same distance below that is the bottom of the chin. The top of the ear usually lies on line with the eyebrow line and the bottom of the ear on line with the end of the nose.   

Tilts 1

Tilts 2


Jiddu Krishnamurti


Jiddu Krishnamurti

Faces -6


Drawing Human Heads


                Its important to first determine the tilt of the head, don`t jump in and draw the features at the start. Choose a subject or photo that is taken at eye level, one that is taken from above or below will introduce perspective problems. Then check how the head is tilted- upwards, downwards, sideways? Sometimes a slight downward tilt with the eyes looking upward can fool you into thinking that the tilt is upward and so on. Front-on views without any tilt are the easiest to draw since both sides of the face are symmetrical Рeyebrows, eyes, corners of the mouth and nostrils, ears all fall on the same level. But these can get a bit boring, 3/4th views are the most interesting. Draw a circle and imagine this to be a ball, draw the vertical line from the middle of the forehead through to the nose through to the centre of the mouth and to the bottom of the chin. This line will lie at the exact centre for a front-on view, otherwise it moves to the side. Draw a horizontal line for the eyebrow line. Again this line lies at the centre if the head is looking straight, towards the top for an upward tilt and towards the bottom for a downward tilt. Slice off a section at both sides of the ball to get the side of the head. The ear will lie on the bottom fourth quarter of this circle.  Draw the jaw line from the bottom of the chin to the ear. Now its safe to start defining the features..

               Learning (i.e. through drawing and practicing) a bit of the bone structure of the skull helps to place the features properly and learning the muscular structure underneath the skin helps us to make the faces express emotions.  Its fun to first capture simple emotions like happiness and joy through smiles, grins and laughs then master subtler and more complex emotions. Perservere doggedly through failures, there`s nothing like the sweet taste of accomplishment! 



                      Pointillism is a technique of using dots of pure color to cover the form and letting the eye do the mixing optically rather than mixing colors on the pallette to achieve more vibrant colors (we are able to see both the umixed, individual colors and the mixed colors). Here I`ve used strokes of different, pure colors for the shadows.

                    The colors here are Faber Castell polychromos Рlight and middle flesh for base skin tone, dark flesh and a bit fuchsia for the pinker areas of lips, gums and cheeks. Phthalo blue, delft blue and light cadmium yellow for the eyes. Warm grey 5, dark and light cadmium yellow, fuchsia, deep scarlet red for the flower. Darker layers of medium flesh, delft blue, warm grey 5, deep scarlet red for the shadow areas. Bit of charcoal for deep black. 

Watercolor Pencils


Eden Rose `85

Eden Rose is a climbing rose and the mother of the family of Romantica Roses


                    I just did this rose as a quick study to test my new watercolor pencils. Its based on a photo from a book about roses by Andreas Barlage. I love the by-line of  his book, the sentiment for this love of roses is so simply put: Ohne Rosen geht es nicht!  There is no literal translation to it in English but its meaning lies somewhere between Can`t do without roses and Doesn`t work without roses. This is what I love most in Germans, their love and care for plants and flowers and the pride they take in their gardens. One can see even very elderly persons pruning or weeding or generally busying about in their gardens on a warm Sommer Nachmittag. The next best thing I like about them is their sense of order. Who doesn`t marvel at their public transport system running like clockwork to the exact minute, one can probably even say second. When I was new here, I used to find it slightly amusing that they would start wearing perplexed frowns  and generally fidget about if the clocked ticked to the next minute and the tram hadn`t arrived by then. Now ofcourse, after many years of living here, I too fidget about as I wait for the message announcing why and how long the Verspätung is. I think I`ve taken to this place like a duck to water.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† The Faber Castell Albrecht D√ľrer line is made in Germany and they come with their own individual lightfastness ratings, something which is difficult to get hold of in colored pencils, so you can choose the colors which have the highest ratings. The watercolor pencils¬†are soft and have intense chroma and you can work with them either dry or wet. I thought it would be fun to try them because you get more control with pencils. Also to an extent you can layer light on dark, so you don`t need that kind of discipline that regular watercolors require in that you have to get it right the first time. Just lay down strokes and blend different colors. Also, you can take a white or light colored pencil and go over the entire area softly smudging it. This will give an evenly blended area with a smooth finish, a dry technique called burnishing. Layer on darker colors if needed and repeat the burnishing. For the wet techniques, lay down strokes that follow the shape of the form you are trying to create, and gently go over it with damp brush to even out the layer (but you can still keep distinguishing marks). You can also dampen the paper first and then lay down the strokes which gives a different effect. Or dip the tip of the pencil (don`t dip the wooden casing!) in water and then lay down strokes. They can be combined with their polychromos colored pencils for mixed media work. Their range is color coded in different media so that you can¬†combine them and not worry about colors standing out awkardly.¬†¬†Lots of exciting possiblities!

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†I¬†painted this rose on WN CP paper, with Albrecht D√ľrer Ivory, Cream, Warm Grey 1, Cool Grey 4, Light violet, Light Cadmium Red, Deep Red, Madder, Pink Madder Lake, Middle Purple Pink, Magenta, Light Green, Emerald Green and Black (Isnt`t it great when you can get new art supplies, you feel like a¬†child in an ice cream shop who can`t decide on the flavour because they`re all so verf√ľhrerisch..erdbeeren, kiwi, bananen, pistazie….!). I also used the polychromos Light Cadmium Yellow for the veins. These are a bit hard and they leave an indentation mark, so¬†if you draw in the veins with the colored pencil and layer on top dry on dry they will show¬†even¬†through a darker layer on top.¬†(But if you wet it, the color will seep into the indented line)



woman`s face

How to Draw Mouths ‚Äď Part 2

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How to Draw Mouths ‚Äď Part 1

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                  O.K.., now this is getting addictive.. 

Kate Hudson



¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Just a couple of sketches I`ve been making… You sit in front of a fashion mag and you can keep on drawing for hours on end…….¬†

womens` heads



















Art during the Renaissance period (part 3)


                    Raphael Sanzio da Urbino, an Italian painter and architect, was the youngest of the three giants of the High Renaissance, after Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. After his intial works under the training of the Umbrian master, Pietro Perugino, he started to slowly assimilate the Florentine style of art, though he always stayed away from excess of detail. At a time when Leonardo da Vinci had completed his Mona Lisa and Michelangelo his David,he came to be greatly influenced by both their techniques while at the same time developing his own style. His clear, serene compositions, grace of his figures, the unique quality of noble sweetness of his Madonnas make his works quite distinctive from other artists.

                     This painting Madonna of the Meadow shows how he has mastered the sfumato technique in the subtle modelling of forms. He has used a pyramidal composition and the contrapposto pose for the Madonna.

                           St. Catherine leaning on her broken wheel, also in the Contrapposto pose similar to one in da Vinci`s Leda and the Swan:


                    His Triumph of Galatea is a complex composition involving a number of figures, but they are not separate, unconnected individual entities but form an inseperable whole. The nymph, Galatea, rides a shell chariot drawn by two dolphins. The three flying angels at the top form a semi-circle pointing their arrows at Galatea`s beautiful, upturned face. Another angel, at the bottom of the fresco, though not highlighted, mimics the pose of the topmost angel in a reverse manner.  A triton abducts a nymph at the left side, and two other tritons blow shell trumpets at both edges facing away from the centre.



                           Raphael completed his masterpiece Sistine Madonna, shortly before his death (he lived a short life of only 37 years). The Madonna holding her Child is flanked on either side by Pope Sixtus and St. Barbara and standing on clouds in front of a background of shadowy cherubs. The two cherubs at the bottom look completely natural and have an air of curiosity about them. The expressions of grief and horror on the gentle faces of the Virgin and Child and the pointing finger of the Pope Sixtus were not understood for a long time. In many churches, there used to be a Crucifix opposite to the altarpiece, the Madonna and Child are not looking at the viewer but reacting to the image of the Crucification. 



                       His last painting, The Transfiguration, was done just before his death and completed by his pupil. It shows a marked influence of both Mannerism and Baroque style, which were just then developing. The poses are stylised and exaggerated as in Mannerism and there is a strong light-dark contrast as in Chiaroscuro.



Art during the Renaissance period (part 2)


                     Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was not only a polymath but also a man of exceptional physical beauty, with an attractive personality and a great singing prowess. The profound depth of his character can be guessed at from the manner in which he had compassionately tended to a dying person and then cut open the same person after his death for making anatomical studies. Apart from his scientific contributions, he also made meticulous studies and recorded his observations in writing and drawing on such varied subjects like plant growth, rock formations, atmospheric conditions, flow of water, draperies, animals, human faces and emotions etc. He was more prolific in his drawings than in his paintings though some of his paintings are believed to have been lost due to his rash painting experiments. His now world renowed fresco The Last Supper had started to deteriorate just a few years after he had completed it.

Da Vinci

Da Vinci

Da Vinci


                     Da Vinci had started painting his Mona Lisa in 1503 or 1504 and had lingered over it for four years. It portrays a  young, Florentine lady sitting in a reserved posture with her arms folded on the arm rest of a chair in front of  a painting of an imaginary landscape. Da Vinci was the first artist to understand and make use of aerial perspective in painting. He also used a technique which he called sfumato , derived from an Italian word sfumare which means evaporate or clear like smoke. It is made to look as though the viewer sees the painting through a fine veil of mist, the highlights are toned down and the darks are brightened. The outlines are blurred and the transitions from light to shade are very, very subtle. He used extremely thin layers of glazes in this technique and very fine brush strokes to get this kind of subdued, misty effect and to give the delicate translucent quality to her skin. The light falling on her face surrounded by a dark veil and hair immediately brings our attention to her face but her expression remains enigmatic. The corners of the mouth and the area around the eyes are where we unconciously look at when trying to read an emotion on a human face, and these are precisely the areas where he has left diffuse, in shadow so that we are never sure whether she is smiling or whether she is sad. The landscape of winding rivers and distant, icy mountains seems no less mysterious. He has so created a living and fascinating picture of a woman that she still looks real and continues to attract and captivate us to this day.

Mona Lisa


                 This drawing of The Virgin and Child with St. Anne and St.John the Baptist (1499-1500) is a complex composition showing the Virgin seated on the knees of her mother St. Anne holding her child whose upper body is raised and whose gaze is turned towards St. John. This drawing is in a similar manner to a painting he had completed in 1508, The Virgin and Child with St. Anne showing The Virgin, her mother and the infant Jessus playing with a sacrificial lamb while she tries to restrain him. They symbolise the cycle of life from mother to daughter to son. St. Anne points towards the heavens while looking at her daughter to perhaps remind her of the sacrifice that she must make. Da Vinci has used similar gestures in other works like The Last Supper, Virgin of the Rocks (Louvre museum), St. John the Baptist. The knees of the Virgin point towards her right whereas her body is turned towards the left creating a dynamic movement and energy at the same time establishing different planes in the picture, a pose that is called in Italian as Contrapposto. The lines of the draperies around the knees also create a rythmic movement.

Da Vinci 

Da Vinci

Art during the Renaissance¬†period (part 1)


                   Giotto di Bondone (1267-1337) was an Italian painter and architect from Florence in the late middle ages. He was the first artist to introduce perspective and foreshortening in painting, revive the concept of drawing accurately from life and the first to break away from the earlier Byzantine style of art. He had an incredible way of breathing life into his forms and inviting the viewer into his scenes. In this fresco, The Lamentation, heaven and earth are united in the grief for the loss of the Saviour; the agony is palpable in the fluttering angels, in the stricken face of the Virgin holding her son for the last time, in the group of mourners standing silently nearby. Movement is created by his use of complimentary colors and hand gestures.



                    The San Zaccaria Alterpiece is a work created by the Venetian painter, Giovanni Bellini (1430-1516) during the High Renaissance period, masterfully depicting the Sacred Conversation between the Madonna and Saints. Virgin Mary is shown on the throne beneath a golden half dome, commanding, yet sweet, with a tender gesture of her hand underneath the foot of baby Jesus (who has his hand raised in blessing), an angel playing a divine melody on the violin, St. Catherine with her broken wheel, St. Lucy with a dish of her eyes, St. Peter holding his keys and the Book of Wisdom and St. Jerome who translated the Greek edition of the Bible into the first edition in Latin. A hint of a fresh landscape peeks in from either side of the two classical, coloumns which enclose a warm, rich and mellow atmosphere enveloping the holy figures in this simple, symmetrical composition. Bellini, at the peak of his form, in his seventies shows his mastery in the oil medium after his initial years in tempera and in the Quattrocento style. He is successful in evoking a living, austere spiritual feeling in this masterpiece.       

Giovanni Bellini


                  Tiziano Vecellio or Titian was a disciple of Bellini, he was a great draftsman and was excellent in his use of color and in achieving subtle color transitions. In this oil painting, Assumption of the Virgin, he forms a composition in which he unites three different layers into a harmonious whole. The first layer is that of the earth, showing the apostles who are looking at Virgin Mary, flying on the clouds along with celebrating and dancing putti heavenwards where God and putto with the crown of the Holy Glory are shown.



                  Madonna with Saints and members of the Pesaro family was painted just a few years after Bellini had completed his `Sacred Conversation`. Titian has  moved away from the formal, symmetrical composition which always had the Madonna at the centre, and instead used a triangular composition with the Madonna at the top of the stairs creating a livelier scene with active participants. St. Peter has deposited the key on the stairs, and both he and the Madonna look down on the patron of Titian. The child Jesus locks gaze with St. Francis who draws attention to the other members of the patron`s family kneeling in the corner of the picture.



                     This tragic scene of The Crowning of Thorns was painted by him in 1545 where he has beautifully captured the stoic sufferring of the Christ before his cruel aggressors who ram down the crown onto his head.