The Loomis Method
Andrew Loomis (1892-1959) was an American illustrator, writer, and art instructor. His commercial work was featured prominently in advertising and magazines; however, Loomis is best known as the writer of a series of instructional art books printed throughout the 20th century.
Let’s jump right into it. I enjoy this method when drawing heads. It may seem a little technical to start with. But as you use it more and more, it becomes second nature. We will start with the basics.
1. Draw a sphere. Keep in mind, a circle and a sphere may look the same on paper, but in practice, a sphere is an object in 3D space. And everything we do is mimicking what we see in a 3D environment.
Next, draw an elliptical shape inside the sphere. We will call the large sphere the cranial mass. The second circle shape will be the cranial slice. In essence, we are cutting a slice from both sides of the sphere. As we turn it, we begin to see the slice as a smaller circle.
The cranial slice needs to be 2/3rd the height of the cranial mass. The width is determined by the angle of the sphere. This will make more sense as we add more to it.
2. Next, we want to add 3 intercepting lines through the center of the cranial slice and on each polar side. Top and Bottom. The center line will be our Brow Line.
Take a look at our illustration. The lines are not straight. They follow a curve around the sphere. And straight through the cranial slice. The top line is our hairline. In contrast, the bottom guide shows where the bottom of the nose will line up.
3. From here we want to add the chin. We do so by adding a line. Roughly 90° from the brow line towards the bottom of the cranial slice. Curve it in and place it at a point roughly center from the left cranial mass and the right cranial slice.
Check the image if this doesn’t make sense.
This forms the bottom of the jaw. Now we can curve it back up and to the brow line on the left side. At this point, you should start seeing the shape of the head take place. We have our guides in place for our hairline, brow line, and our nose.
4. Lastly, we have 2 more lines to add to finish off our guide. Our center line and our jawline. The center line cuts right through where our nose would be and right in between our eyes. This is our line of symmetry. What we do on the left of this line is repeated on the right. Keep perspective in mind.
The jawline gives us a position where the front of the face and the side of the face intersect. Now with our guide in place, we can start adding our facial details. I will go into more depth on this in a future tutorial but for the most part, we add our brows, eyes, nose, mouth, ears, and hair.
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Lots more to come as we dive deeper into drawing heads at different angles. As well as proper placement of facial features and some basic shading. Stay tuned, You’ll be drawing like a beast in no time!
If you found this tutorial helpful, please share. If the interest is there, I will produce a lot more posts like this in the coming weeks.