I don’t get how to study the Loomis method.

9:14 PM, Thursday November 11th 2021

So this isn’t directly related to DrawABox, but this seems like a knowledgeable and helpful community so I’ll ask anyways.

My biggest goal (currently) in art is to be able to draw portraits with an actual understanding of how they work. Up until this point I have spent a lot of time copying faces, either by tracing or occasionally freehanding, and then shading. I have gotten to the point where it looks like I’m amazing at drawing faces, but honestly I’m just really good at shading and decently good at copying the outlines. Now I’m ready to move on and actually learn how to construct the face, and I want to start out by using the Loomis method. My problem is this: I don’t know how to study it! I’ve read the actual Loomis book “Drawing the head and hands”, I’ve watched tons of videos on it (including Proko’s.) And I’ve practiced based on what I’ve found in that research. But I feel like all of the content on the method is inadequate for how I learn. The beginning of the method is to draw a ball and put a cross in the middle of it, which is the brow line and the middle line of the face. Then draw the nose line, hair line, and chin line. And that gives you an “average” head. But basically every tutorial (including the book) explains that and then says “now draw this from a bunch of angles”. But I don’t know how to draw it from a bunch of angles! I’m totally guessing when I try and draw it from another angle. And this isn’t even talking about adding features. It’s just the construction phase. I don’t have anyone who’s familiar with the method to critique my practice. What I need at my current level is a step by step plan on how to learn it, or something like that.

I don’t feel like I’m explaining very well, but, does anyone here have any experience with the Loomis method and have any tips you’d be willing to share?

3 users agree
10:51 PM, Thursday November 11th 2021

Loomis' previous book, Fun with a pencil, seems to be what you're looking for. ( https://archive.org/details/andrew-loomis-fun-with-a-pencil )

It goes in more detail in how to approach head construction, including the "draw this from a bunch of angles" phase. I like the approach of that book better than Head and Hands (or even Figure Drawing for All it's Worth), it goes from cartoon to realistic in small steps so you're less likely to be overwhelmed and is full of step-by-step examples. It's explanation for the "bunch of angles" phase is quite short, but it's all there is to it: The core skill to master for the whole process to work is the sphere, I mean, drawing a sphere with belivable longitude and latitude lines. So you could take the 250 box challenge and apply it to spheres. Once you know how to draw an equator on a sphere you can align features to it and the whole thing becomes much easier.

1:06 AM, Friday November 12th 2021

Thanks! I'll definitely check that out. If this helps me I'll be eternally grateful to you lol. This has been causing me a lot of frustration.

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6:18 AM, Friday November 12th 2021

I don't understand fully your problem but I think lesson 5 information about head construction could be helpful. From what I understand of what you are saying, the only variety you need to change the angle of the head is to change the point where both lines cross. If you have a circle and both lines cross in the middle, the face is drawn from the front and if you move the crossing point to a side, you are drawing it sideways. If you move the crossing point in a direction the "viewer" moves in the opposite. If the crossing happens on the bottom of the circle, the viewer is on top on what is viewing.

I hope it helps.

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10:33 AM, Friday November 12th 2021

Just to add to the other advice, the truth is it is hard to do especially if you are not used to it. You have to experiment, try things, get things wrong. However after a period of time things start to connect and you start finding it a bit more intuitive. It is this hard work that reshapes your brain until you wonder what you found so difficult.

It's also the reason for the 50% rule. You have to do your own work and not just follow others for the learning to have value and for you to become your own artist.

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12:18 AM, Sunday November 14th 2021

Maybe you could start off by adding the lines over a photograph, could be at the computer or in a newspaper/magazine idk whatever fits you best and then try to recreate the lines on paper, to check if you understood where the lines should go. Sometimes i do this when i'm having a hard time finding the angles.

I did those on paint https://imgur.com/a/P03KXqE

The Loomis method can be kind of confusing at first, it's kinda tricky on extreme angles, it took me some while to get used to it, but once you do becomes very intuitive. The most important thing is to understand where you should be looking for the angles, Proko explains this in his videos.

There's a Steve Houston video in which he explains how to construct the head, i don't think he mentions the Loomis method, but it's basically what he's talking about, and he also explains how this was applied in some artworks. His approach is very constructive and didactic.


If you already saw this then nevermind lmao.

Anyways, hope this helps!

5:34 PM, Sunday November 14th 2021

Thanks to everyone for all the advice! I'll update this someday to let y'all know what worked best for me.

0 users agree
11:15 AM, Monday November 15th 2021

I second checking out Fun with a Pencil, which is what I dipped into when wanting to learn how to draw the head in 2012. From memory, you draw a bunch of blobs and put features on them to start off with before moving on to the sphere. I couldn't draw circles very well at the time, so I simple traced a coin 20 times and then experimented with different ellipse configurations.

Another thing to try is to get a styrofoam ball (craft stores should have them), draw the verticle and horizonal lines in marker, and poke toothpicks through for the poles. You can then use this as an observational model to practise changing the angles, recording the different configurations of the ellipses, and move on to making up your own configurations.

6:48 PM, Monday November 15th 2021

This is a great idea, thanks!

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9:26 PM, Wednesday November 17th 2021

Everyone has had great suggestions, but I didn't see anyone mention looking at it as form. When you said that you can copy a face and shade it well, how do you think you can do that? Do you shade things a certain way because you understand the shape and light source correctly, or because you can just see in the photo that it is darker and lighter? I am only asking because the loomis method is just creating the head as a basic shape and adding features. Can you draw a rectangular box in different angles from imagination? I think that is all it really is. The loomis head is just a sphere with the sides chopped off. If you can draw that from different angles, adding the chin shouldn't be too hard. One thing that helped me was to actually get a skull (I 3D printed one) and drew it from different angles. I would position the skull, draw a loomis head and then add the details of the eyes, nose and mouth. The loomis method is essentially creating a skull in simple form.

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