Cover Image: Drawing the Head for Artists

Drawing the Head for Artists

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Member Reviews

This is gorgeous book on how to draw portraits (heads) with charcoal (although much of the advice is transferable to graphite, too).  I think that I will never draw as beautifully and accurately as this book shows, but I think that it helps me to draw more realistically than before.
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A great resource that balances tutorials with plenty of finished pieces to study, analyze and try to replicate. The portraits included are stunning and can feel daunting when you're looking at them as whole images but they're broken down into their basic components in a way that allows you to replicate them--though not easily without practice. As usual I enjoy an art book like this that has advanced components but makes the basics accessible to a novice, there's a clear connection between the techniques included and the end result and this is a book I'll keep coming back to for drawing portraits.
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The artstyle is completely stunning! However, this book is not for beginners. You got to have some basic knowledge on how to draw heads before picking this up but once you do, you won't regret it! This book also teaches you how to draw elderly and children. There are some tutorial on drawing certain facial parts too.

If your artstyle is closer to anime-ish, I'm not sure if it'll be very helpful for you since this artstyle is closer to realistic art. But if it is realistic, I definitely will recommend this! The shading is extremely beautiful, I loved every page when I went through it.

Thank you Netgalley for providing me with the digital copy for an honest review.
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Classic drawing descriptions with shading and blending concepts.  Hair and wrinkles are touched on well.  This would be good for someone getting into drawing faces and wanting a bit more direction.
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This book teaches how to draw portraits using charcoal. The author talked about what tools to use and described some drawing techniques (both in general and for using charcoal). He then gave tips for drawing the head in proportion from the front, side, and three-quarters poses. He gave step-by-step directions for drawing the nose, eyes, ears, and mouth in each of these poses. Then he demonstrated the start-to-finish steps for doing a portrait. He also gave a step-by-step demonstration for hair and for facial hair.

He also talked about why you might use different lighting angles (three-quarters, rim, top, side, front, bottom), ways to make a portrait look less static, and how to convey the person's personality. He gave tips about drawing hats, scarves, collars, hands, children, the elderly, and the differences between men and women. He also talked about how do draw using toned papers and suggested some ways to create interesting background textures. This book is probably most useful to artists with some drawing experience, but I'd recommend it to anyone wanting to improve their charcoal portrait drawing.
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Originally published on my blog: Nonstop Reader.

Drawing the Head for Artists by Oliver Sin is a technique and partial tutorial book aimed at artists and students of portraiture specifically for drawing the head and face. Due out 6th Aug 2019 from Quarto on their Quarry imprint, it's 160 pages and available in paperback format.

One of the things which impressed me very much about this book is the depth of the information provided by the author for achieving specific results (which are also illustrated in the book). He gives details about materials and tools selection and how to hold and use those tools to achieve the desired shading or values or effects.

The book follows a logical format and different sections are easy to find (there's an index included). The introduction (~14% of the page content) covers some very basic artistic philosophy and mostly very detailed specific materials and recommendations. There are sidebars with extra info interspersed with the artist's own astoundingly beautiful portraiture (see cover).

The next chapters progress through concepts and techniques, portraiture poses, facial features, depth and dimension, mood, children and elderly people, and alternatives for backgrounds and special effects.

This is a gorgeous book to look at. It presupposes a high level of expertise, and it might help to think of this as a master class. There is a short bibliography and materials list at the end of the book.

Five stars. Highly recommended as a source of inspiration. I also enjoyed seeing some pages from the artist's sketchbook in pen and ink. They were very fast and informal sketches and it heartens me to see that even an artist capable of the portraiture included in this book also has sketchbooks full of very fast and informal line sketches.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes
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This book is full of both inspiring charcoal portraits and detailed explanations on everything from charcoal, paper, mark making, hard/soft edges, poses, lighting, facial features, hair, colored papers, male vs female profiles, children vs adults vs elderly, etc. There are 11 progression drawings with more than 2 steps each, and several more showing a basic drawing and then a finished drawing with explanations on how the results were achieved. I counted 108 individual portraits, but perhaps it’s safer to just say there are over 100 gorgeous portraits that should inspire and encourage the inner artist in everyone to break out the charcoal and start practicing. This is a book that will be handy to keep accessible as a reference during the journey to becoming a better portrait artist as there is simply too much information and too many tips to absorb everything in one go.
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This book shows amazing drawings from a very talented artist.  The book itself provides secrets and instructions on how to make a drawing more realistic.  He uses many different ages, gender and nationalities to show the unique strengths necessary in each face.  If you have a basis of drawing, this book is a definite to expand those horizons and take your drawings to the next level.

I enjoyed the step-by-step instruction, as well as, how to apply materials.  Creating dimension using illusions is also covered.  By using this process and each phase provided, your drawings go from amateurish to wow.


I received an ARC from Quarto Publishing through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  This in no way affects my opinion or rating of this book.
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Really helpful resource when attempting to improve drawing skills. I found the advice helpful and there are loads of illustrations to help make the author’s intention clear. I would recommend if you are wanting to start developing your face drawing abilities further.
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Sadly i was looking forward to studying this more for my drawing habit,but my kindle isnt letting it load at all.
Thumbs up still
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This book was a lot of words with no real direction or true guidance. At a point it felt like a sketch portfolio, again showing but not teaching. It wasn’t very fun to look at even and is an art book. Wish they had walked us through process better. Overall had a dated feel to this.
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Drawing the Head for America has great instructions and advice for beginners and students. This is a must buy book for artists.
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I love this book! The pictures are gorgeous and diverse. The explanations are clear and the author walks through the process in detail beginning with a discussion of tools. 

I read an ARC copy. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley! #DrawingTheHeadForArtists
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I love this book.  Unlike other books of its type, this one shows differing ethnicities and the ways to approach them in a realistic way.   I can see using this book for many years as an important reference material.
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A beautiful book on portraits using mostly charcoal or pastel pencils.
I'd say this is not for a complete beginner as not much info is given as to how to construct the head.
I'd recommend this for intermediate to advanced artists who want to refine their charcoal portraits. Certainly this will motivate you. Absolutely stunning pieces throughout the book.

Thanks Quercus and Netgalley for the review copy.
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Drawing the Head for Artists is an interesting and informative read. The book offers excellent tips on all the necessary techniques for drawing features, blending etc. alongside some truly stunning artwork produced by the author. Sin's primary tool is charcoal, not graphite; however, much of his advice would apply to either medium and will still be of use to pencil artists. This is definitely a great reference work for budding artists looking to improve their skills.
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So what's in a face? A whole life is apparent to those who watch our factly and expressions closely. This book will help you observe, focus, and express your observations through drawing and portraiture. 

You'll enjoy capturing those you love - as well as those you snap in a photo. Take your art to a whole new level - whether drawing or other mediums are your preferred means of mark-making.

Recommended.
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The illustrations and studies in this book are amazing.  The author has used a variety of people from all walks and stages of life and provides tips on how to develop your own portraits. It is not a beginner book as there are no step by step instructions but is good as a guide or for inspiration.  It is the perfect book for an artists reference library
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This is an excellent book on portraiture. The author/artist is incredibly talented and his portraits are awe-inspiring. In addition, he goes into great detail explained his process step by step, including variations in stylistic choices, materials, poses, everything I could think of and more. If you can already draw relatively well, but want to grow, this book gives great insight. If you see the drawings on the cover, and it seems unreachable, I think this book will still be a fascinating look into a talented artist's process allowing a fresh perspective for your growth whatever stage you're in.

Thanks to NetGalley for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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As with all the books in this series it is a wonderful introduction to drawing heads. The illustrations and examples a clear and beautifully drawn. The models are diverse, young and old. Although short it gives a solid foundation in how to approach and draw heads. It makes a great quick reference book for anyone wishing to draw beautiful portraits.
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