In american advertising and magazine illustration the ability to draw women's heads effectively is the greatest boon to the pocketbook. While commercial art has many departments, no other is quite so lucrative. This skill opens the door of advertising agencies, editorial offices, and calendar producers as nothing else can. Portrait drawings are much easier to sell than finished paintings, since the price is much lower. Drawings. nicely framed, can be hung anywhere in the house, while painted portraits are more or less restricted to the space over the living-room mantelpiece. A man often prefers a nicely done drawing of himself or his wife or children to an elaborate painting. Fortunately, the artist can make such drawings inexpensively, in much less time than a painting takes, and he can well afford to keep his price within the normal family budget. There are possibilities in portrait drawing which should not l>e overlooked. It is pleasant work. It can be part-time work, and it is remunerative. If you do studies for one family, others becomc interested. Such studies make attractive pictures for dens, halls, offices, and other places where furnishings are not elaborate. There is hardly a mother who would not like to have sketches of her children. There are many artists in this country already doing very well at making portrait drawings. The prices usually range from $50 to $150 and even higher, which is not too bad for a few hours' work. These sketches may even be done from camera studies with the personal ability and knowledge added to the photographic appearance.
When you are drawing women's heads, be sure to use freedom and looseness of technique in representing the hair. Usually simple planes are much more effective than the photographic representation of every strand or curl. Another important quality, which I have pointed out earlier, is a blocky effect. The camera sees everything in its roundness; the artist sees its rhythms and its angles.
For some reason a little masculinity is much more tolerable in a woman's head than roundness and femininity is in a man's. The fashion experts seem to pick the lean-faced, angular-jawed, and bony types of models oftener than the purely feminine types. It may be that to get the rest of the figure slim enough to go on a fashion page, a bony face is required. Somehow the appearance of bone in the face does seem to give more character to a woman, just as it does to a man. Perhaps most of us admire leanness more than plumpness because leanness is hard to attain and keep. At least in that we have changed since the days of the old masters.
All this means that in drawing women we still must be conscious of planes, even if we do not stress them as much as we do in drawing men. Plate 42 shows a man's head contrasted with a woman's head in the same pose. Note that the feeling of planes is evident in both, but more stressed in the man's head. Note also that the handling of the mouth and nose is more delicate in the drawing of the woman than in that of the man. If I do nothing else here I want to impress on you that smoothness and roundness are basically associated with the female, and squareness or angularity with the male. The degree to which you emphasize the one or the other in either case is determined by personal feeling about your subject. Plate 44 demonstrates how blockiness may be applied to women's heads.
Plates 45 and 46 arc technical examples of women's heads which you may find of some interest. Plates 47 and 48 are sketches in which both roundness and squareness have been felt. I suggest that you make a great many sketches of this kind from life and from the wealth of material provided in magazines.
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