Savannah Tate Cuff

Rendering the Forehead

Savannah Tate Cuff
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Duration:   20  mins

Foreheads are distinctive features that can enhance the likeness in a portrait drawing. Artist Savannah Tate Cuff demonstrates how she renders the forehead after completing the block-in phases. Rendering, also called modeling, is adding shading to a linear block-in. With a skull, Savannah points out the frontal bone (the anatomical area that we call the forehead) and the glabella, the structure between the upper eye sockets. Finally, she says, it’s important to observe the ridges at the top of the eye socket. Savannah moves around the model to locate the terminator, or boundary between light and shadow, on the forehead. Moving from the terminator at the eyebrow with an HB pencil to the light-facing plane where she uses a 2H, Savannah notes that the toned paper does some of the work for her.

Locating the point where the light source is strongest, Savannah gradually darkens the area turning away from the light. The forehead is like a cylinder in its most basic form, and you can make it look realistic by creating a gradation from dark to light or light to dark. Savannah clarifies the hairline and the eyebrow here as well. Moles or freckles are unique elements that you can choose to add, but don’t overmodel. As she’s rendering, Savannah thinks about the entire frontal bone, modeling out of each terminator toward the light. Next, she renders adjacent areas of hair to indirectly describe the forehead. She uses a stump to flatten and darken the hair’s cast-shadow shapes to make them richer in value, and adds final details to the eyebrows.

It’s fairly simple to model the forehead of a young woman, but men may have stronger brow structures. Take your time and observe the details of your subject and their relationship to the light source.

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