Drawing the Head: The Mouth

The next major mass we need to look at is the mouth. The mouth in general gives the beginner difficulty. First, you will see in the drawing below that the overall plane of the lower front of the head, which the mouth sits on, is flat.

Drawing the Head 1
Drawing the Head 1

The mouth sits upon this flat plane like a half an orange.

Drawing the Head 2
Drawing the Head 2
Drawing the Head 3
Drawing the Head 3

When we try to draw the lips, the tendency is to draw them from a straight front view, which tends to appear flat. The lips, of course, are always going around this curved surface. Notice how small the mouth is. Also notice the curve of the profile. In the Illustrations below you will see how this roundness requires a strong overlapping of the forms when seen from a three quarter point of view.

Drawing the Lips
Drawing the Lips

We will continue with drawing the mouth and lips in a later lesson, however I wanted to give you an introduction to it here before we move on to the overall construction of the head.

By Glenn Vilppu

This article was taken from the Head Drawing and Anatomy, Volume One Manual. This book parallels very closely the head drawing classes that I teach, and a majority of the illustrations were created as lecture demonstrations in class. Consequently, this is in reality a head drawing and anatomy manual to be used by students in my classes as a textbook. The use of this manual should be of equal value to those working on their own who are unable to attend my classes in person. The material is the same as in my classes with the advantage of portability and no time constraints.

I have consistently found myself drawn to the fundamentals in teaching drawing. A solid grounding in the basics, approached as tools of expression, rather than rules that must be followed, free the artist allowing him or her to follow their individual direction.

The basis of my approach is founded on very simple grounds. First, you must know how to describe form. Second, you must understand the form you are drawing. These first two give you the freedom of expression.

As you go through the chapters, you will become aware of another basic element of my approach: to do anything you must have a clear cut procedure, the knowledge to put it to use and, of course, the spirit to carry it to completion. None of this is new, and in fact, everything I teach has a very long history. I think of myself as a student just as much as a teacher; each drawing I do is in reality an analysis of what I am drawing. I am constantly telling my students that we never copy the model, but that we are trying to understand it through visual thinking.

Approach this manual as you would any textbook, as a guide to learning.

Glenn Vilppu teaches life drawing at the American Animation Institute, the Masters program of the UCLA Animation Dept., Walt Disney Feature Animation, Warner Bros. Feature Animation, Dreamworks and Rhythm & Hues Studios. Vilppu has also worked in the Animation industry for 18 years as a layout, storyboard and presentation artist, most of this time was spent working at Disney. His drawing manual and video tapes are being used worldwide as course materials for animation students. Glenn Vilppu has, in effect, either through teaching them directly or teaching their teachers, trained an entire generation of professional animators.

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