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Case Study # 3 - Hugh Hefner
Part III: Feature by Feature

Go back to Part I

Go back to Part II

You're at Part III

Go to Part IV

Click on any part of the face to go to that section


Feature by Feature

We'll now go through each feature one at a time deciphering what it is that's unique about Mr. Hefner. I know this must begin to seem a little extreme. But I firmly believe that if you know what to look for - in detail - or if you can inherit a level of investigative inquiry and acumen by reading through these explanations, you'll arrive at a place where you can springboard deeper and deeper into your drawing. Your drawing will blossom. That I guarantee. 

I'll also assume you're referring back to - or have at least have a working knowledge of each feature. If not, it would behoove you to stop and look things up when you have a question. Minimally, make a note to at least go back and look up your questions. (I know how I like to look to get the overview first, then go back.)

Hef's eyes

Look at the picture below for a moment. Squint and look for the following landmarks. 1) look for the clues that the eyes are spheres and that they're partially hid behind the lids, behind a few bones and part of the nose. Go ahead. Squint. See the sphere in there? It's probably most noticeable in the eye on the left (Hef's right). 

See the spheres? 

What clues us there's a sphere there?  Mostly it's the two shadow shapes in the upper and lower lids. Shadow shapes are as much of a feature  as eye color, or ear size. They're absolutely unique to the person and because they suggest secondarily an underlying shape  - which can be muscle, a layer of fat, bony prominences, etc. - and are every bit as important as the obvious part of the feature. Take home message: every detail of information suggests uniqueness. Sometimes, as in this case, the feature  we're looking at - the shadow - is subtle,  but uniquely Hef.   

Can you detect the sphere shape of the eye? What clues you? 

When there's too much information, squint or take a step back. This can  collapse one, two, even three layers of complexity into one manageable one. Let's back up ourselves here, get an enlarged view - i.e., get a little more real estate into the picture.  In this next illustration you can see there's a slightly larger section of Hef's face visualized. It's also been minimized for simplicity's sake. By minimize, I mean I've taken out the detail and just added contour eyes, brows, lids, etc.. (Truth is I just traced it - and traced just the major shapes at that.) 

Major outlines and contours only

I want you to be aware of four shapes in the illustration above and in the next clip below. These are:

  1. the bony brow; 

  2. the eyebrows, 

  3. the upper eye lid, and lastly, 

  4. the orbital-nasal groove. 

1) Scroll back and forth to the top of the page to compare the shading that's contained within and above the contour line of the brow. Note how it suggests the brow protruding towards you. And if my drawing doesn't suggest that, note how your brain interprets it as at least suggesting that. 

2) Observe closely the shape of the eyebrows - how they curve upward and away from the midline (where the nose blends into them), and then sharply curve down as you get closer  to the temples. Also note again the distance between the top of the upper lid and the actual eyebrow - it's a pretty narrow shape. (Note: as mentioned in the Keith Richards analysis, this distance between the top of the eye lid and the lower margin of the eye brow is narrower in men.)

3) Note the shape of the eye lid. It's vertical span is greater on the lateral side (on the same side as the temple), in fact it's almost triangular as you move lateral (temple side), to midline (towards the nose). It's outlined in blue below. Note also the curve of the eye brow and pay special attention to the gap between the upper margin of the eye lid and the eye brow. Here's the left eye (Hef's right): 

Shape of the upper lid

4) Next, observe the orbital-nasal groove. We're concerned with that because it's an important landmark in distinguishing the eye from the  cheekbone and nose. (Look two pictures above to where it's pointed out in blue.)

The Axis of the eyes

The point I want to make in this next illustration is this observation: there's an "axis" to the eyes - some people have eyes that appear to slant up, and others have eyes that slant down. By "axis" I mean the angle at which the eyes appear to sit at. More specifically it's the perceived angle formed between the upper and lower lids. (If the eyes are truly round, it's impossible to slant them right? - They'll always appear right side up.) 

Side Panel. Plastic surgeons try to give women slightly catty eyes - that is they want to make their eyelids pull up and away as they move out towards the temple. In this case (where the plastic surgeon is revamping a women's eyes), the angle of the apparent axis would be similar to the stereotypical Chinese eyes or Asian eyes. Please don't be offended but that is the stereotype. 

This supposedly makes for a happier, more alert, and more glamorous look in a woman. (And by saying what I just said I feel like I've probably stepped into some potentially hot water. I mean this only in the most instructional sense...plus I'm not a plastic surgeon.) 

Do this to a man in plastic surgery and you've got yourself a happy lawyer - on the other side of the table.  


Noticing the angle of the axis eyes - see the blue lines?

Getting back to Hef, you can see Hef's eyes down slope  as you move from the nose side of the eye lids (the "medial" aspect or "midline"), and out towards the temples (the "lateral" aspect). In aging folks this down sloping can add a great deal of warmth, even softness to the expression of the person even if on some old people it's just an effect of gravity. If the lower part of the iris (the colored part of the eyes), is  partially obscured by the lower lid and the person has down sloping eyes the person really does appear to be happy in an undeniable way.  Look at the angle of this axis in all your subjects - it's almost always an exaggerateable attribute.

On to the nose

As we head north to south on Hef's face, the next major anatomic feature is the nose. As we mentioned in an earlier part of this lesson, Hef has a few notable characteristics exemplified in his nose. What we referred to earlier was the apparent pointiness of that very bottom part of the thinning wedge of the very "southern most" part of the tip of the nose and it's fleshy septum - the part that points down just beyond that. 

Isolating Hef's nose

In this next illustration below, you can see the outlined version of Hef's nose. You'll see the tip of Hef's nose is somewhat bulbous as well with that pointy part extending below in the middle,  bottom of the nose. Here it is: 

Hef's nose in outline/contour form

Compare to Mr. Average. Next we'll compare Hef's nose to that of Mr. Average. As you can see in the next picture they're roughly the same height - in fact the "average" nose on the right is actually taller by a smidge. Take a look at the this next comparison and see if you can't point out the differences. 

Comparing Hef's nose to that of Mr. Average

Line 1 points out the upper margin of the cartilage of the tip of the nose. On Hef, this point is over halfway up the whole height of the nose. (On the "average" nose, this midpoint is about at the widest point of the long and narrow diamond shape in the nose's center.) Note also how long this middle section is in comparison to the middle section of Hef's nose.  

In a profile view (a side view), the most protruding part of  both noses would be at about where line 2 touches both drawings. This would be at the "tip of the tip" of the nose. The space between lines 1 and 2 give you an idea just how much larger Hef's bulbous tip of nose is proportionately much larger when compared to the average tip of the nose.  In a profile, the tip of the tip of the nose, and that's no misspelling, is the foremost or just below the foremost part of the nose. Let Snoop Doggy Dogg help illustrate that point:

Line 3 shows where the fleshy lowest part of the septum extends to. On Hef, it's well below the lowest part of the nostrils. On the "average" nose it's just a little below the lowest part of the nostrils. 

Width wise, you can see the average nose looks wider from nostril to nostril. That's only by comparison in this picture. Remember, you need to compare nose width in context - the vertical guideline from the inner corner of the eye (the medial canthus), to the side of the nose is still the most important marker. 

So what can you exaggerate? Right - the most obvious two things: the bulbous tip and the long pointy septum. 

Transitioning from nose to mouth

As we continue traversing south on Hef's face, we come to the next area of anatomy: the apron of the upper lip. I know it must appear we're getting into an awful lot of detail here but I want to accomplish two goals at once here. As I said earlier, the first is to look specifically at what makes Hugh Hefner's face  unique. Secondly, I want you to be exposed to other major spaces, contours, features, and shapes common to all faces. Again, being aware something exists at all is your first step towards seeing it and building an awareness of it. 

The apron of the upper lip

So the Apron of the upper lip is that whole space between the naso-labial folds, the lower margin of the nose and the upper lip. It's highlighted in a light yellow in this next picture (kind of makes Hef look like he just took a big, huge gulp of banana milk):

The Apron of the Upper Lip

For your convenience, the naso-labial fold is pointed out in this next illustration. It runs from the side of the the upper most portion of the nostrils (or nares), and shares an edge with the cheeks. It grows more profound with time and age; in youngsters it's almost nonexistent whereas in somebody 100 years old it literally extends right off their face (because the skin is literally is hanging off their face). 


Pointing out the Naso-Labial Folds

If you watch a person laughing, smiling, wincing etc., you'll notice how immensely "plastic" this part of the face is. By "plastic" I mean it in the medical sense - which means malleable, changeable, stretchable, modifiable. Which is where plastic surgeons get their name: they change, modify, and reconstruct surgically what's there (or not there in lots of cases).

Facial muscle primer

The engine behind all that malleability in this territory of the face is due to the action of the facial muscles. And of course, the driving force behind the tug and pull of the facial muscles is pure emotion. As you'll see in a moment, it's the upward pull of a certain group of facial muscles that give shape and definition to all of these: the naso-labial folds, the cheeks, and the upper lip. (You can see a very abbreviated version of the muscles in the links below. In an upcoming section you'll see the muscles in depth)

Folds and lines on the face are very interesting. Cheeks are a kind of facial fold and some folks have big old Santa Claus cheeks. Other people don't seem to have any cheek at all - they're  just cheek-less I guess you could say. And, ahem, I am talking about the cheeks on the face.

Where do big - or small - cheeks come from? Lot's of things actually. But the most prominent influence that changes an otherwise flat face into a big 'ol rosy cheeked Santa Claus face - besides the bony substructure -  is this: the action of muscle. 

Muscles make for big cheeks

When the facial muscles contract, they pull up or better, they bunch up everything between where the muscle starts and where the muscle ends. The muscles that form human facial cheeks have their origin -  the place the muscle starts - on the cheekbones, the nasal bone, and even as high as the forehead. The origin of a muscle is exactly as it sounds: this is the place where the muscle originates from. It's anchored there the way the frame at the top of a Venetian blind is anchored to the wall (except, instead of a wall, a muscle's origin is attached to bone.) 

Anatomically speaking, the origin of a muscle is also relatively  immovable in relation to it's insertion. A muscle is said to be inserted to the part of anatomy the muscle is supposed to make move. So in a Venetian blind, the string attaching to the very last rung or blade of the blind is equivalent to the insertion of a muscle. You pull the string and you act on that last blade. All the blades in between the top frame and that last rung get bunched up. 


Venetian Blinds - in the 

On the face, analogously speaking,  the body of the contracting muscle,  the layers of fat, other muscles, and the skin make up all those intermediate "blades" between the top frame and the bottom rung in the Venation blind. But we're off on another tangent again. Anatomy is fun I think, and like  I said before, you'll be getting a whole bunch more in a future section.

To see facial anatomy click here

Next: the mouth and lips

The interesting thing about Hef's face - and I think his most unique feature - is the shape of the shared edge of his mouth. By "shared edge", I'm referring to the line that's formed between upper and lower lips. With just a tad of an under bite, the shadow is darker on the lower edge of the upper lip. The lower lip is highlighted - it sticks out in the light (if of course the light is coming from above as it is in this illustration). Here's how it looks clipped directly from the drawing: 

 The shared edge between upper and lower lip 
compose the contour of the mouth line

Here the highlight and shadow are pointed out:

Deciphering shadow and highlight 

I'm pointing this out because the lip and mouth have constantly changing shapes and therefore constantly changing  light and shadow shapes. That much is true in every picture for every instance of any person at any time of the day  - as long as there is light. I'm pointing out here specifically what I think is a unique feature of our subject and I also want you to know what to look for in others. Hopefully the next time you draw, you'll begin to notice some pretty fine detail in your subjects. This next illustration is a "contour" version of the lips above. By "contour" I'm referring to the shapes formed by outlining the shadows and highlights:   


Isolating the contours of the upper and lower lip 

In this next illustration (just below), the upper lip alone has been isolated. In the pictures immediately following that I've outlined the shared edge of upper and lower lip in blue, and then isolated just the contoured version of the shadow shape of the upper lip. Notice how the contoured shadow shape at the lower edge of the lower lip is all that's needed to create the illusion of both upper and lower lips (Best seen in the illustration B with the blue contour - ).

A. Isolating just the shadow shape of the upper lip


B. Highlighting the shared edge


C. Isolating the contour of the shared edge 

The point you should be getting here is that even though the uniqueness of a person's features are very subtle, they can always be identified. Sometimes they jump right out at you. Other times, you need to literally go through all the basics of drawing to pinpoint what is peculiar to your subject (i.e. looking for hints in lines, edges, contour, positive form, negative shape, shadows and highlights). 

This zig-zaggy shared edge of upper and lower lip is a defining feature of Hugh Hefner (in my opinion). The lines and triangular shadows at the corners of Hef's mouth are also very unique to him - and all people have these lines or suggestions of them. They're due to the different stresses the underlying musculature apply to the skin and fat layers above.

Moving on to the chin

We've pretty much moved from top to bottom through our analysis of Mr. Hefner. Now we're getting to the lowest, bottommost part of the face: the chin. The chin is really just the cap of the jaw bone. There's several muscles that add to it's shape and form. As mentioned above he sports a slight under bite too. That coupled with the strong jaw and prominent chin, give us license (license as caricaturists that is), to exaggerate this. Look closely at the shape of the chin here - also notice that if we've done our job correctly, you can pretty much recognize Hef's face by seeing only part of it. 

Can you recognize this man?

In this picture you can recognize the bulbous tip of the nose, the long point - the septum - underneath the nose, the flat zig-zaggy "M" of the shared lip line (or "W" depending on your perspective), and lastly the chin. 

More Chinny chin-chin

Chins can be single or double pointed, sharp, oval, round, or square and be with or without a cleft. Some are buried in hair (like Santa Claus). Hef has a square, clefted chin. In the old days, (I mean pre-historic "old days") a strong jaw and chin were associated with aggressiveness and strength. Aggressiveness and strength meant survival in those prehistoric days and according to some geneticists there's  a predilection in the gene pool that selects for the strong-jawed male.


Certainly a saber tooth tiger has a stronger chin than that of  duck. And it's supposed to - it's a predator. Certain societies still marry for a strong chin. In fact, historically in China and other Asian countries and dynasties, the only way into the royal family was by looks  - and a strong jaw ranked highly, if not the most singled out feature  - in prospective wives. Sounds ludicrous I know, but it's true. Look at what we admire in modern day movie stars? A large percentage: that big ol' chin and jaw. Can someone be attractive, and aggressive and powerful without a big jaw? Of course! And be sexy too? Of course! It's just another feature. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. 

What's interesting about Hef's chin is the way the mouth transitions to the chin. It's almost a block shape that dominates the lower fourth of his face. What gives it this form? Start with the bones. The two main bones at this juncture are the maxilla and the mandible. (To review the bony anatomy check out the Lesson 14: Shapes of the Head section)  

Note the "boxiness" of the chin

It's the muscles that span the gap between the two bones that accentuate  the "boxiness" of the chin and sides of the mouth. They form the transition from upper jaw to the lower jaw - those muscles and the skin. The main muscle here is the "triangularis", also called the "depressor anguli labii ". Break either Latin word there into plain English and you get a good description of the muscle: Triangularis = triangle. It's  triangular in shape. It's second name "depressor labii angularis" means "angle of the lip depressor": and it does just that - it pulls down (depresses), the corners of the lip like you see in a frown. The "mentalis" muscle forms that little round mound of flesh you see on the tip of someone's chin. 

  Click here to see a quick diagram 
of the chin muscles.

On certain individuals with very lean faces and strong bones you can really see the these muscles accentuate the sides of the mouth. They can  almost look like a pair of pillars. Ed Harris, the actor,  has this combination. Check him out: 




Lastly, Hef has a good set of dimples. Lots of things account for this: the size of the jaw, the size of the maxilla and the gap between those two muscles. Over the bones you have skin, fat and muscle again. When you smile, that skin, fat and muscle bunch up again and give you dimples. The fleshier a persons face, the bigger his/her "jowls" get. By jowls I just mean the sides of the face there where you find the dimples. Usually we just call them cheeks too but I used that word above to refer to the "cheeks" over the cheek bones - the ones that form above the naso-labial fold.  I know I'm getting awfully technical here, but again, the more you understand about the underlying anatomy, the more realistic and enjoyable and interesting your drawings will be to both draw and view.


Layers and layers

I used to find it very difficult to count my way through the vertical lines (the dimples), on the side of the face.  Now they're different person to person of course, but it seems there's three to four you can identify in almost everybody. Those four are: 

1) The primary dimples - these are the lines that arise behind the triangularis muscle;

2) Next come the secondary dimples - these are often little "comma" shapes that mark the base of the "cheek" cheeks (what we were calling "cheeks" above). Often they run right up to the corners of the eyes and down to almost the chin

3) Then comes the tertiary dimples - the skin folds behind the primary and secondary folds that the buccinator piles up between in front of the jaw bone. (remember, the buccinator dives deep behind and underneath the jaw bone). 

Dimples for days: three levels

Some people you swear have 20 layers of dimples. Others, none! Is nothing fair in this world? Two sets of dimples or twenty, the muscular cause of dimples remains the same. 

Whereas the muscles forming the cheeks (the ones just to the side of the nose and under the eyes - the cheek around  the naso-labial fold),  act like a Venetian blind,  the muscles that  give us dimples and the vertical lines on the sides of the face act like a curtain bunching up all the extra tissue. This is just the same way the sash around the middle of the curtains in your living room bunches them all up.

 See this link to see the actual dimple muscles 
involved in making the dimples


With less attention on the face (because it's pretty much been removed),  in the picture just above,  you can get an idea of how to draw gray hair: just lots of white space that the  mind magically fills with gray hair.  Look at how it's darkest along the border where the hair meets the face and again at the hair's outermost edge. These are shadows typical  in almost all hair.

Lastly...Part IV

In part four we're going to look very rapidly at a "blockhead" version of Hef and then we'll combine all the little things we've uncovered about Hef's face and use them to caricature the caricature.

Go back to Part I

Go back to Part II

You're at Part III

Go to Part IV

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