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Anatomy Drawing: The Head and Neck

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the head in profile
Anatomy Drawing: The Head and Neck
George Doyle / Getty Images, Patrick J. Lynch, licensed to About.com
Beginner artists sometimes make a real pig's ear out of drawing the profile. But it really needn't be as problematic as you imagine it to be. Observation is key; bone structure and musculature obviously varies between individuals, so there isn't a set formula - and a slight tilt of the head changes everything! Look at the alignment of the features, such as the corner of the eye and the top of the earlobe.

Note the indented triangle formed between the sternocleidomastoid, sweeping up behind the ear, and the trapezius, behind the neck. Observe the depth and angle of the jawbone in relation to the ear. Look at the angle of the throat and chin.

The planes of bone and muscle aren't flat, nor are changes of plane always sharp: sometimes they are so gradual that it is hard to tell where they happen. In a strong drawing, this change of plane will often be articulated with a subtle change of tone or use of implied line. It needs to make sense, reflecting the anatomy of the model, and not some 'classical' rule or guess. So think about the underlying anatomy as you draw, and closely observe your individual model.

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