Facial Planes (Portraiture)

I am new to portraiture. Most beginners will agree that it is a daunting and intimidating task. My first step toward portrait painting was to do a study of the facial planes based on a plastic head model in my studio, using oils on canvas. There is much room for improvement and I will need to practice a lot more before I’m totally satisfied with the results, but it’s a good start.

Facial planes are important because they are the building-block of shading, they help to determine where highlights and shadows go on the face to create a 3D effect rather than a flat painting. Different lighting effects will cause some facial planes to recede into shadow while others are highlighted, these change as the lighting and viewer angle is changed.

Like most things portraiture does not exist in a vacuum, there are many things to consider, not least of all how to accurately draw the face before painting it. One way is the Top Down Drawing Technique that I blogged about a few days ago.

As I develop my portrait painting skills over the next year or so I’ll post updates on the blog for those of you who’d like to follow my progress.

 

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