PLATE 8. Building the head out of pieces
If we think of the head as made wp of separate pieces fitted together, we find the pieces shaped and put together as thev appear in the drawings in the top row. Note the rounded piece which would contain the lips. We refer to this part of the skull as the "muzzle." In drawing the mouth we must make it fit around the curve of the upper and lower jaws and the front teeth. Too often the mouth is drawn as if it were flat against a flat surface. In the bottom row the three drawings at the left show the lips and the structure under them. The eye must also lie in its socket, as shown at the right. The eyelids operate much like the lips in closing over a rounded surface.
Wc Ix'gan by considering the head as round. This is logical, l>ccausc it is much more round than square. However, one of the later discoveries in art was the fact that incessant roundness can become almost lx>ring, ami that a combination of roundness with squareness can produce a vigor of execution which many of the old masters lacked. The effect of roundness tends toward the "slieknCNs" so frowned upon by modern artists and critics. Although the roundness exists, as photographs show, this type of rendition never seems to have the vigor of a drawing or painting in which the planes are stressed. For this reason a photograph of a head can never hope to compctc with a good drawing as far as vitality of execution is concerned. It seems to me that the ideal lies somewhere between the two extremes. A drawing that is too square can look as if it were chiseled out of wood or stone, with more hardness than the subject warrants. On the other hand, a drawing that is too round mav have so much sweetness and smoothness that it seems to have no structure at all beneath the surface; everything is polished and shiny. Of the two, I prefer too much character to too little. Artists have found that by squaring the planes, softening them only enough to relieve their broken-stone effect, they achieve solidity and vitality without going to extremes. It also has been discovered that flattened planes tend to merge into an effect of mere roundness at a distance. When you inspect a projection on a large screen from close up, it is surprising how flat the image is. However, if you step back, this flatness disappears and the full roundness seems to take over. The truth is that the halftones which model a surface are really much more delicate than they appear to be, and this truth has been a boon to painters.
For the time being, however, let us draw the planes as we feel they would really lie on the
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