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Putting it all together - case study #3:
Ani DiFranco,  Part II

Click on any feature of the face and be transported 
instantly to that section of the book

Back to Part I
You're at Part II
Go to Part III
Go to Part IV
Go to Part V

Lesson 15 Master Link Page

Ok we've made a big deal of the horizontal landmarks. Don't get hung up on them  - they're there to keep you rooted in the overall picture. Look at them as training wheels and as a place to turn back to if you get too "into" a picture. They'll bring you back if you lose perspective. 

I mentioned this in part one: that in the course of a drawing you make  hundreds even thousands of comparisons. The question comes up  - what do you compare? These guides we're spending all this time on use the major features as a foundation. You know, on the obvious things: eyes, nose, ears, top of head, bottom of chin. Obvious stuff. But within and around those there's a great deal of other detail.  


Listing a whole bunch of secondary facial features and details

Well let's just go through a quick but fairly exhaustive list of a few things you can see in every face that exist on both sides of the face and in every face. But don't get overwhelmed, just get familiar. They're good landmarks for spotting as you scan horizontally left and right and back an forth again and again. (Picture these as you read them - I'll give you a little illustrative help in a few spots): 

Picture in your mind's eye  these details of the face and try to relate them to any other part listed as you read down the list (how do you "relate" them? Ask the same old questions "where are these lines, or highlights or shapes compared to any other in the list? How do they compare in size to the others in the list? What kind of angle do they form when compared with any horizontal line? - since in this section we're still concerned  with how things relate to a horizontal line. Those kinds of questions): 
  • top and bottom of the hair part, 
  • hairlines, 
  • top and bottom of hair highlights,
  • forehead wrinkles,  
  • highlight and shadow around the bony brows, 
  • the eyebrows, 
  • top and bottom of the eyebrows,
  • left versus right eyebrow, 
  • upper eye lids, 
  • the lower eye lids, 
  • height of the pupil's highlight, 
    the height of the upper lid next to the nose, 
  • the height of the corners of the upper eyelids on the temple side of the  head (see axis of eyes for more explanation),
  • the height of the root of the nose (where the nose meets with the forehead),  
  • and the nose's highest wrinkles: 

Checking out the wrinkles at the highest part of 
the root of the nose

  • ...then  compare that to the  height of the eye brows,

  • look at the rings around the bottom of the eyes (see picture): 

The "infra-orbital pads" or more commonly called the "bags"
under the eyes (not a very flattering term :-)

Continue comparing the left half of the face with the right (remember to ask the same old questions "where are these lines, or highlights or shapes compared to any other in the list? How do they compare in size to the others in the list? What kind of angle do they form when compared with any horizontal line): 
  • observe the wrinkles at the corners of the eyes ("crow's feet"), 
  • the lowest U-shaped wrinkles arching under the eyes that seem to be related to the eyes  (see the above illustration again),
  • the naso-orbital groove
  • the  heights of the three parts of the nose
  • the distance between the bottom of the nose and the shared line between upper and lower lips (this is the distance from the bottom of the nose line to the middle of the mouth line - and you've seen a ton of that in part I), 
  • the lowermost edge of the upper teeth, 
  • the vertical thickness of  the highlight of the lower lip (see picture): 

Note and compare the heights of each of the lip's highlights

To continue, 
  • compare the overall thickness - the height - of the shadow beneath the lower lip (or the thickness of the "under the lip shadow" in the following picture), 
  • the "dimple" of the chin (see illustration):

  • observe the actual shadow of the chin (usually the one that disappears or extends to the bottom of the chin line): 

  • then observe the chin's highlight (which is the area of reflected light that fits between the chin shadow and the outline of the lowest border of the actual lower jaw (look above). And while you're there can you detect  different shades of tone and shadow within the shadow?

    Now, moving to the sides of the face observe:
  • the height of the cheeks (their highest and lowest borders), 
  • the dimples - primary, secondary, tertiary, etc), 
  • observe the placement of the cheeks in relation to the corners of the mouth:

Closing in on the cheeks and the dimples - how
does their horizontal placement 
compare going left to right? 

  • the ears - all the different visible parts you see, 
  • observe how they (the ears), align with the rest of face, 
  • Observe the corners of the mouth and all those small "corner of the mouth" wrinkles and shapes. Observe all the different lines and shadow shapes and quirky little highlights that occur in and around the juncture of the dimples, the cheeks and the corners of the mouth. (A great deal of personality can be found there):

Compare the heights of the corner of the mouth
and all the little detailed shadow shapes


Is that enough yet? 

Whew! And folks those are just the beginning of the less dominant features -  you know, the details of the face. This is just a primer list intended to open your brain to all the elements  that can be found. Regardless of the many layers of depth you can dive  into, all those details  you hunt down can be represented in caricature or by drawing using skills you've already learned. Namely by using  lines, shared edges, positive forms, negative space, highlight, shadow, angles and curves, and tone (which is really color).  You can review those skills in  the  foundation lessons section.)  

The heart of the matter

The meat, the actual activity you engage in while drawing, the act of observation while drawing  involves making the million and one contrasts, comparisons, left-to-right trips you make sizing up all the relationships  the way a sheep dog is constantly zipping around trying to contain, to shape up his flock. 

In drawing a picture, any picture, you do this until you begin to form a picture within your mind. You might call this your "sizing up"  period - before you place even one line on the paper. (You don't have to wait though. For instance in figure-drawing, you often work out  this "sizing up" directly on the paper -  and the results can be beautiful.)

In the following animation, treat the pointer finger as representing the track your eyes take going left to  right comparing all the major, all minor, and even the less noticeable features and shapes of the face. And keep your eyes peeled for things that may not have been mentioned in the partial list above (the one in the light peach tone boxes above). 

Pointer finger

Check out this animation for a very short visual explanation of what we've just talked about.

When viewing this  I want you to be aware of  these three things more than anything else: 
1) how does everything mentioned compare to horizontal lines? 
How do the things mentioned compare to each other going left to right across the face? (That is,  horizontally.)
And how are the horizontal lines spaced vertically?

Ever watched an artist at work?
Ever noticed how an artist's drawing hand hovers over the paper making all sorts of little nervous, twitchy little movements? What you're seeing are the objective, observable, outward signs of his drawing-brain at work: the external signs of  the artist working out in his brain what he's going to draw or paint next with his hand on the paper. The artist  is visualizing what he/she's about to draw next.


The amazingly asymmetric Flounder 

All of this" right to left", and "left to right" comparing and contrasting we've been stressing in this section  leads to the next important point: symmetry.  Or lack of it, also called asymmetry.  Nature and God have played a little trick on us: we'd like to believe our left side is an exact mirror image of the other side. But the truth? 

There's all sorts of subtle differences. We're "left or right-handed", or we have a "dom- inant" eye. These lessons are built on the assumption our brains are constructed asym- metrically. The beauty mark on Marilyn Monroe's and  Janet Jackson's cheek, or Werner Klemperer's  monocled look come to mind. (You know, Colonel Klink on the TV program "Hogan's Heroes" - he had that lens over his right eye). 

Janet Jackson

Or think of a flounder: The fish with it's whole face, it's eyes, even it's scales limited to one side of it's body. It's about as asymmetric as you can get! Few trees or bushes are exactly symmetric, especially trees at high, windy elevations where branches grow only on one side. A crystal or even an ice cube can't form unless there's some kind of imbalance or asymmetry to set off a molecular chain reaction  in the first place. Water spins down the drain clockwise north of the equator, and counter clockwise south of it. If hemoglobin wasn't lopsided, it couldn't fold on itself. And if it can't  fold on itself, it can't carry oxygen. No oxygen no life. Not the way we know it. And that would leave us off in some parallel universe I suppose. If we'd "be" at all.  Asymmetry abounds in nature. In fact, without asymmetry, there might not be nature. 

in people 

In most people the facial features are close but not the same on both side of the face. There's a good deal of asymmetry:  cock-eyed smiles, cock-eyed shadows, crooked  noses, asymmetric cheeks, any of the major features or wrinkles, etc can vary side to side. And we an go right through the rest of the body, inside and out: left arm, right arm:  throwing and non-throwing, kicking leg, non-kicking leg, the leg we put into our pants first, the way we do things.  Internally: the way the abdominal organs wind left to right, liver on the right, spleen on the left, male and female parts, all sorts of things are, well just plain off-kilter in their own balanced sort of way. Even asymmetric molecules have mirror images. You'd have to look that up in a chemistry book - they're called "stereo isomers" and they're described in the part of chemistry called "stoichiometry".  

Looking close 

Often times  just a little careful observation reveals the differences. I had a friend in high school. He had one blue eye and one brown eye. ( The girls loved him.) Went on to play  professional baseball  for the Texas Rangers as guess what? A pitcher. A left-handed pitcher at that. You can't escape it. :-)

How does asymmetry play out on Ani's face? Let's look

Let's get specific. How does asymmetry manifest itself on Ani? Here's two views of her face - I've flipped these in Photoshop:  

Mirror images of Ms. DiFranco

You know right away they're different but can you pinpoint the differences? Let's look a hair deeper. Like you've been doing, drag  your imaginary horizontal lines right down her face from  top to bottom and compare and contrast each line, shadow, and feature to your horizontal line as you descend. See any differences between the pictures? Look at Ani's mouth and especially at her lower lip for one of the more striking differences. 

[More subtle differences: what happens to the vertical shadow in the middle of Ani's nose? Compare to the mirror image. Does it move in relation to the rest of the nose? And did you happen to notice a nose ring? Which nostril is it in? ]

Just for funzies...

Here's what I mean when I say "drag  your imaginary horizontal lines down her face" (remember, I'm taking it for granted now you'll automatically stop off on those major horizontal guides and landmarks) - I'll illustrate:


Horizontal scanning

Horizontal scanning is just like it sounds: the way you see it in the animation above. You're carrying your pencil up and down the page observing, comparing, and contrasting what's on the left with what's on the right. You're stopping at those intervals along the way to look and see how the left and right half of the face is aligning

Split personalities

Now here's the really interesting picture: I've made one face out of two left halves and the other face out of two right halves. Split her right in half. I find the results pretty fascinating: 

Making two faces out of opposite halves

Look close: the illustration on the left is made of two left halves and the image on the right is made of two right halves. Compare to any of Ani's  illustrations above and look close for the different halves in the original picture. Look at the eyebrows, look at the lower lip, compare the overall shape of the upper lip, the curvature of the upper set of teeth, the dimples, the chin, the width of the head,  in fact go through the same exhaustive list above as you compare pictures. What's really remarkable? 

What's remarkable  - at least a little bit  - is she's recognizable as the same person, don't  you think? (Though the Ani on the right looks a lot more like Ani I think.) But that's no great revelation since they're both the same person. 

Of course, there's so much variation between the two faces, all the giant FBI computers in Washington DC can't tell the two apart. But our brains can differentiate between those two and identical twins once we've become familiar with them, right? Same principle at work here. 

(Truth is I don't know that about the FBI computer situation, but it sounded good. I do know they're working on computer recognition systems that look for the exact same things you're learning to look for here - the things the brain recognizes unconsciously and automatically.) 


I'm going to leave it  to you to go through all those steps deciding what's the same and what's different on Ani's face. Take the time to do it though: it's what you'll do for every face you ever want to draw and it does become very natural and very effortless once you've done this a few times. 

Moving on

So it's time to move on. In the next section, Part III: Vertical landmarks you'll see the same kind of scanning you saw here except you'll be waving your  imaginary wand (the pencil), left to right while holding it vertically. You'll also take this idea of symmetry / asymmetry a step farther. 


Lesson 15 Master Link Page

Back to Part I
You're at Part II
Go to Part III
Go to Part IV
Go to Part V

 Ani DiFranco web links 

To see photos of Ani DiFranco on the Web:

Welcome to AniDifranco.org


Don't forget about the Alta Vista Image finder - just go to the Alta Vista link and click on "images". Type in "Ani DiFranco" when you get there.


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