12 December 2001
Your December 12th, 2001 YouCanDraw.com Communiqué
I've included a smaller version of Billie Bob from last week this week so those
of you who're new have something to refer to today. Mission today: take a quick
look at what makes Billy Bob drawable - feature by feature. (I recommend going to
the "Venice" site to see the original pictures:
First impression - Billy Bob Thornton just has that "good time Charlie look" to
him. I've heard him talked about for years but - and this is the truth - I've NEVER
seen him before. I stumbled across his picture in one of those corner newspaper
give away magazine stand. So to me, he just has that happy go lucky look to
him even if he was trying to be serious. Specifically...
The overall shape of the head
Compared to Mr. Average Mr. Thornton is a little top-heavy. (He's got a lot
of forehead). A receding hairline only amplifies that look, but that's what I see
on first take. The overall shape of the head is one of those industrial
strength light bulbs - you know, the ones that aren't just round but have that
little square step-up in the middle (kind of know what I'm talking about?). The
square step out in the middle of the bulb would be analogous to the sharper
angle at the sideburns/jaw line just below the ears. So overall, he's a "top-heavy
Mr. Average" to begin. What's that mean caricature wise? You can exaggerate
that forehead and hair - in more ways than one.
Moving on: the eyebrows/eyes
I can see a real clear "sea gull" when I look at his eye brows, and bushy
thick eyebrows he has! There's also a large bony overhang over the eyes
giving that deep shadow look: makes the eyes deeper set but also just
a touch more sinister. Note also how narrow the space is between
the eyebrows and the eyelids: the brows are right on top of the eyelids.
That's a definitely a male trait; women tend to have thinner eyebrows and
a larger space between brows and lids. (you can see the original photo
at this link: http://www.venicemag.com/features/billybob.htm ) Look close
at the curve IN the eyelid (the palpebral fold), notice it's the darkest part
of the shadow.
The eyes are dark, Bambi-like, warm and maybe that's what makes him
such a non-threatening looking guy. I think that's it. (And with a name
like "Billie Bob" how could he be mean and nasty?) Note also the shadows
under the eyes - see the shadow on the left (his right) how it's more intense
than the other side? There's some crow's feet there from smiling a lot too.
Starting at the root of the nose (up there between the brows), he's got a
bony root and "glabella". The "glabella" is that little extra boniness you
feel right there above your nose between the brows and eyes. The thicker
the glabella, the more masculine. The tip of the nose gets a little bulbous
but the base of the nose (the BASE is down there at the lips - see lesson
14, part V, section 6 for more on the nose and it's place in the overall
shapes of the head).
Size wise, the two main dimensions: middle of the eye line to the bottom
of the nose line, and the width markers line ups like this: the vertical size
(middle of the eye line to the bottom of the nose line) lines up smaller than
on Mr. Average. BUT, width-wise Billie Bob's two nostrils come in narrower
than the inside corners of the eyes. Recall on Mr. Average, the inside
corners of the eyes and the outermost margin of the nostrils line up.
Billies' nose is narrower in that regard. (But don't forget that bulbous tip.)
The lips and mouth
You can't talk about the lips and mouth without talking about the "naso-
labial fold" (a big "Latin" way) of talking about that wrinkle that runs down
from the top of the nostrils down around the side of the mouth). Note the
angle it forms with the margin of the shadow of the cheek (the dark cheek
on the left of the picture - his right). Squint and see if you can't see a deep
"v" formed between the naso-labial fold the cheek shadow and the lower
border of the eyes.
Billie Bob has generous lips for a Caucasian so that's something to key on.
It can also be a result of hiding large teeth (I focused on the teeth in picture one
-the upper left picture in last weeks caricature...and also in today's mini
version.) Note especially the curve of the line between the upper and lower
lips. Note also the pulpy "Cupid's Bow" under the small but wide "V" just
above it. (Cupid's Bow is the middle part of the upper lip that loops down
just a bit).
*note. If any word or phrase is confusing to you, open your e-sourcebook,
click on "find" (in the tool bar at the top of the page), and type in the word
or phrase you're looking for - the search utility will find not just multiple
page references, but it'll usually find it in context too - instantly.
Look at the difference of color and tone between the upper and lower lips too
- the top being darker. Also note that the lower lip is almost twice as
thick as the upper lip at it's thickest point. Note also the different
kinds of lines within the lower lip: both the vertical lines that signify
the elasticity of the lip, along with the line that parallels the lower
curve of the lower lip (the curve of the "vermilion border" - look up
"vermilion" in your sourcebook and see if it doesn't take you
directly to the section on lips within the In-depth Hefner section.)
(Note: the "vermilion" of the lip is the pink of the lip. The vermilion
border is just where it changes back to the skin of the chin.
Chinny chin chin
Speaking of the chin and lip, squint your eyes and note the shape of
the shadow that course under the lip to the corner of the mouth. That
shadow tells volumes about emotion, bone structure and individual
traits - as do all shadows. Remember, shadows are as much a part of
a picture and a signature look as are any of the concrete features. Train
yourself to look for them. (I didn't play up the shadow as much as I
could have - it may not have been in the picture I drew from - that's not
an excuse, it just wasn't there).
The chin proper is a little tuft of tissue there between the lower lip and
the lowest margin of the jaw. It's the jaw itself that's the most apparent -
wide and broad.
The neck was fun to make long and chicken like. (Kind of fits a "Billy
Bob). In fact, between the high forehead and the long chin, the remainder
of his face has been left fairly realistic in the central picture you received.
Not a whole lot to say, big or small, I think any kind could have worked
in a caricature. They are on the long side - they span from below the
level of the bottom of the nose line to above the middle of the eye line
which actually makes them very exaggeratable if we're saying that even
small differences from Mr. Average are license for major embellishment.
(the upper left caricature shows the ears more enlarged.)
Lastly, the main shadows
The main shadows I see in the Venice Magazine (see link), are on
Billie Bob's right forehead (left to us), along the right cheek, left of the
and below the lower lip - and watch how it merges in to the neck
shadow. The last set of significant shadows are under the brows and
around the eyes. The less visible shadows are along the opposite
cheek and forehead. They're subtle, but it's the subtlety that makes
the picture (the brain picks right up on them).
So bottom line here is building a repertoire of questions and measurements
you apply to your subjects automatically. Drawing portraits or caricatures,
accurately (or anything for that matter), rests on the ability to see what's
in front of you and record it. The more you learn to see, the better observer
you'll become. [Side note: I think some time in the future Billie Bob could a
good subject to flesh in with illustrations.]
Well that's it for today, Keep on drawing and have a great Christmas,
Chanukah, Kwansa, Ramadan.
PS Here's some links to web photos of Mr. Thornton
Yahoo's photo gallery:
The photos I drew Billy Bob from were in the November issue of "Venice" mag:
In fact, here's a link to the photos from the same photo shoot that were in the
magazine - the ones I drew Billy from:
(The Venice Magazine site is also a gold mine of quality celebrity photos.)
4702-C West 130th Street
Los Angeles CA, 90250
"Once and for all getting you drawing faces and caricatures"