Andrew Loomis - Fun WIth a Pencil

Andrew Loomis - Fun WIth a Pencil

(Parte 1 de 2)

Figure Drawing for All It’s Worth

Creative Illustration

Drawing the Head and Hands Three-Dimensional Drawing

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All drawings and text within this book are the property of their respective copyholders and should not be reproduced for any reason. They may only be used for the purpose of practice and study.



Don’t start out with that old gag, “I couldn’t draw a straight line.” Neither can I, freehand. If we need a straight line, we can use a ruler. Now please try it, just for fun.

And it can be as lopsided as the family budget, and still work out.

Who am I? Oh, just one of Andy’s little funny folk. But I’m important! He gave me a job. I’m the spirit of the book, by jeeminy, big nose and all. I represent all the blue in here. My right name would be Basic Form, but that’s much too high-sounding. He thinks that name would scare you away. So he just calls me "Professor Blook’’ and lets it go at that. Now, I’ve got a few interesting things to tell you.

Since Andy cannot talk to you personally, he put me in here so we can really get together. It’s tough on Andy, for that guy really loves to talk, especially "shop talk.’’ Now this plan of action is based on the use of simple forms that are already known and familiar to you, and which you can certainly draw. From these simple, known forms, we build other forms, which without some constructive plan would be too complicated to draw. For instance, the top of the head, or cranium, is nearer to a ball in shape than anything else. So we start with a bull, and add to it the shapes we want. We thus "arrive’’ at the outlines that are needed instead of guessing at them. Only the most talented end experienced artist can draw at once the final outlines. That procedure is most difficult, and is the reason most people give up drawing. But knowing how to "construct’’ makes drawing simple and easy, and a delightful pastime to anybody. By building preliminary shapes and developing the outlines on them, we know WHERE TO DRAW OUR REAL LINES. There is hardly anything that cannot first be constructed by the use of simple forms. “Santa had a belly, like a bowl full of jelly.’’ Now that was a real observation. We know just whet it must hove looked like. In fact we can see it shaking! Now, the idea is to draw the bowl before the belly. If the observation is correct, it ought to be a simple matter to make it fairly convincing as an abdomen for old Nick. Of course we wil cover it with his coat and pants, but we’l be pretty sure the pants don’t spoil the big idea. I picked on Santa because he’l never complain that I’m being too personal over his appearance. I might just as well have chosen your next-door neighbor, his lunch basket may be equally rotund, and shake some too. Every form is like some simpler form, with this or that variation, and with pieces added on. The simplest

Forms we know are the sphere, the cube, and the egg. Before we could walk we recognized the sphere in Dad’s new golf bulls; the cubes were in the sugar bowl; as for the eggs, well, the nicest ones were Easter eggs. I say, “Draw a line.’’ You cannot know just what I mean. A straight line? A curved line? A jagged line? A wiggly line? There are a thousand kinds of lines; be more specific. But it I say draw a ball, a cube, an egg, a cylinder, a pyramid, a cone, a rectangular block, in each case the image you get is perfect. You know exactly what I mean. Instead of “line,’’ we shall think in terms of concrete and tangible “form,’’ and proceed as if we were handling lumps of clay. You can appreciate the value of such a method, for you know the fundamentals even before you start; they are obvious to anybody. If you never saw a ball, you should quit right now. As you proceed to build all sorts of shapes out of simpler ones, it is amazing what you can do with them, and how accurate and "solid’’ the resulting drawings will appear. The surprising part is that, when the construction lines are erased, very few could guess how it had been done. Your drawing appears us complicated and difficult to the other fellow as mine might seem to you now. It takes on a look of professional workmanship, which indeed it has, since the professional artist has by some method had to “construct’’ his work to make it “professional.’’ If you will give the following pages even your amused attention, I am satisfied you will find much that will surprise you in the way of ability but perhaps you heretofore never guessed you had. If it absorbs your interest, you might find yourself clever enough to amaze those about you. Just now take my word for it that the method is simple, practical, and, I believe, possible for anybody to follow.

A circle is a flat disk. If you draw the “inside” contours, it becomes a solid ball, with a third dimension. We shall build other forms, like lumps of clay, onto this solidity. The construction will be erased, but the solid appearance will remain, giving form or the appearance of reality.

Get a pencil and paper quickly! Draw lightly all you see printed in blue. Take one stage at a time, on one drawing, until the last stage; then finish, with strong lines over the light ones, the lines we have printed in black. That is all there is to learn! These are "selected’’ or "built in’’ from the basic forms. I call the basic drawings “Blooks,’’ after myself .

I promised you that all you need to know, to start this book, is how to draw a lopsided ball. Whatever shape you draw can be used as a foundation for a funny face. Do the best you can, even if the ball looks more like a potato.

The big idea is to start with a “form.” Then develop other “forms” on it. Build your final lines in by selecting, eliminating the lines you do not use. I leave mine in to show how it’s done.


Now, if the first drawings you do are not the last word in cleverness, don’t be discouraged. You will soon get the idea. When you begin to sense form, you wil have the whole works. Then we’l polish up, and they wil have to admit you are good.

If you will now turn back to page 12 and look at the string of balls, you will see that we are getting right into big business. You need some practice on these. Never mind if they are a little off.

The better you can draw these balls in any old position you wish, the better you are going to be. The line from the top to bottom is the “middle” line of the face. The horizontal line, which looks like the equator, is the “eyeline,” and it also locates the ear.



Look at the diagram. This last line goes completely around the ball, thought the axis at each end, and cuts the eyeline just halfway round on each side of the middle line. The ear joins the head at the point of intersection of the eyeline and the earline.

I am a lot more anxious to have you understand the method and create your own forms than to copy mine. But copying mine now will get you started.

Always construct the head from the cranium down. There is no other satisfactory way. You can see by now that the position of the ball determines the pose of the head. The pieces you build on determine the character.

“Blocky” shapes always combine interestingly with round shapes. It is a good idea to make the final lines angular even around curves. It gives a sense of bone and ruggedness of character. You would not do this when drawing pretty girls or babies.

Now I’ve got a surprise for you. Instead of drawing all there lunkheads, let’s try something real. I’m going to pose for you.





Try this on the folks. Tell them draw two overlapping circles, any size. Draw a middle line through both and build on your own pieces. You can make a head out of any combination. Of course, tell them to draw lightly.

Draw a circle. Attach two smaller circles, not far apart, anywhere. You can put a third above and between them. Then draw the middle line so it passes between the two small circles. Proceed as usual.

Draw three balls, one of them small, in any position. Connect the larger balls. Draw a middle line under the small ball. This suggests a head. Now use your imagination to complete the drawing.

Here we combine the ball with other basic forms. With “solid forms” to build on, the head begins to take on more reality. You can almost anything you want to with the supplementary forms, and come out all right. The is real character drawing, and a challenge to you.

This page is for the clever folks. It is a method of projecting the characters you have created into various poses. Try it with very simple heads at first. You must use your eye and build very carefully.

Take any head. You can distort it by the following methods. This is valuable in caricature. You can trace a photo, and draw from the tracing, or take any of your own drawings and distort them.

Here again is a chance for your own invention. Draw a square around your subject. Divide each way into eight or more parts. If you wish to distort separate features, change the size of the squares into which they fall. Make the line cut through each square as it does in your copy, but changed to fit the new proportion of your squares. 1/2, 1/3 square, etc.



The Method Developed by Andrew Loomis, Which Makes Construction Simple for Any Type of Head.

We go now into the most important section of the book. The method here worked out is a development of the simple groundwork you have already accomplished. It need not frighten you, since it is but slightly more complex than the work up to this point. The cranium, as you perhaps have realized, is never a perfect ball in shape. To draw it correctly we must make alterations, some slight and others quite exaggerated, to fit the various types of skull. Nevertheless, we can take as a basic form a ball sliced off at the sides, leaving it a little wider one way than the other, and adding to it or taking some away. The forehead may be flattened, cut down, or built up as the case may be. The cranium may be elongated, widened, or narrowed. The facial plane may also be altered as we see fit without destroying our working principle. The plane simply attaches to the ball wherever we want it, which makes our method entirely flexible, so that we can represent any type of head we choose. All other methods I have yet seen do not start with a form anything like the skull, or make any allowance for the variety of shapes.

After this book was published, I learned with interest that a similar basic head form has been used for years by Miss E. Grace Hanks of the Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, and that she has written a book based on this method.


It is this flexibility and freedom built into the method that should make it of certain value. On page 37 I have given a set of measurements I consider ideal, but these need not be adhered to. To me the real value of the method is that it makes possible the accurate construction of the head without copy or model or, when a model is used, that it allows you to render the type recognizably and with certainty. It possesses powers of exaggeration for comic drawing and caricature as well as of serious interpretation. It opens an avenue of approach to the novice, dispenses to a large extent with the necessity for tedious and prolonged study, and gives almost at the outset the much needed quality of solidity which usually comes only with a knowledge of bone and muscle structure. If you glance at page 39, it will be evident how the ball and plane is designed to give that appearance of actual bony structure. The skull lies within this basic form. But over and above this in importance is the helpful guidance it gives in placing the features in their correct positions, in relation to the pose of the head. This will come very quickly, and soon the eye will detect anything obviously “out of drawing.” Many years ago I sensed the lack of any method of approach having any marked degree of accuracy. I was told to draw the head as an egg or oval, and to proceed from there. Fine for a straight front view. But what of the jaw in a profile? There is but a slight hint of the skull formation in an egg shape alone. Again, I was told to build the head starting with a cube. While this aided one in sensing the perspective, it gave no hint of the skull. How much of the cube was to be cut away? Since then I have heard of “shadow methods” and others, yet in every case a previous knowledge of the head was necessary.


What I wanted was a method whereby, if a head looked wrong, I could find out what was wrong with it, Tampering with a painted head to correct some bad construction or drawing usually ruined the work done. The necessity of starting the head correctly in the first place was obvious, so that the finishing could be approached with the confidence that after hours of work it would not go “sour.” With closing dates of publications imminent, it is risky business to proceed without a full knowledge of what you are doing. So this method evolved from personal necessity. I might state here that in the beginning I had not the slightest intention of putting it in book form. However, when the plan did work itself out finally, I was struck with its simplicity. It was one of those instances that make you wonder why you or somebody else had not thought of it before. The fact that it tied up with our first childish scribbles, which after all are a crude statement of form unhampered by superficial detail, only increased my enthusiasm. Why, then, could not such a plan be made available to all, from the child scribbler to the professional artist? The plan changes but slightly from the first round ball and added forms to the professional piece of work, the difference lying in the ability of the individual. It all hinges on the proper building of the ball and its divisions. Approached with the understanding that one is drawing solids instead of lines, the method becomes surprisingly simple. I do not doubt but that these few pages will prove of inestimable value to many practicing artists, who I know have been confronted with the same difficulties of bad drawing and closing dates. But primarily the book is for John Jones, who always wanted to draw but could not.



This page must give you some idea of the unlimited variety of types and characters possible through building by the Divided Ball and Plane method. There are thousands of types, and each looks different mostly because of the skull rather than the features. It’s fun to study an individual, and try to figure out what kind of ball and plane go together to make up his face. You really learn to look deep into character, and beneath the surface. This method calls for no clairvoyance, but a quick eye and a skillful hand.

(Parte 1 de 2)