Saturday, December 12, 2009

Random Thought of the Day

I don't have the time to put together a full blown babble-fest today. So here's a piece of face I'm fond of.


Also. Irises are shaped like bowls. The end.

Wrinkles, Crinkles, Fault Lines and Fabric: Good ways for thinking about signs of age

And thus the day was Friday! And henceforth was there ever a post every Friday. Yea. Merrily.


See some simlarities up there? Maybe? A little?

So here's a thought I had a while back (as in, when bloody blogger is going to say I made this post. Silly computer). Check out these three pictures. Lots of crinkles and wrinkles. I've revised my definitions of those two terms in the past few weeks. I've used them interchangeably up until now, but I'm confusing myself.

Henceforth, "crinkles" are impermanent folds and "wrinkles" are the cracks and crevices that happen to skin that crinkles a lot. With age or just genetic um... there are scientific words to put here. It's like fetuses know they're going to want to bend their fingers a lot so they make wrinkles right from the get go.


I think about skin like fabric and stone a lot. I was thinking back on some things I've learned about geology and sewing and I thought "well gee, if we've taken it this far, maybe I can stretch that analogy even further." Funny thing is that it totally worked, and it's totally useful.

Things I used fabric-y thoughts for:

The folds around the knees, the fingers and toes, and the 20-something male under-neck poof (It's adorable ps). You know, foldy things.

Also, cheeks and forehead crinkles. Gathery things.

Fabric-y thoughts I didn't think to think:

What happens when you forget to do laundry and have to wear that size-five-years-ago t-shirt to work? I mean, after the blood sweat and tears that goes into folding your shoulders down enough to get your arms into the sleeves. You start seeing these crinkles running parallel to the direction of the tension. When there's not enough skin to cover your insides or enough satin to cover your secret pre-nuptial tummy bulge you get these parallel crinkles.

I wish I had a better reference of what's happening to the skin at a smaller lever there. All the little lines are stretching out the same way.

Fabric is good for thinking about crinkles, because it makes hills and valleys and folds. Remember, an active and impermanent crinkle is more roundy than a wrinkle.


I used rocky thoughts for:

Wrinkles of the long and canyonish kind. I like thinking of them as larger than they are because it reminds me to shade them properly.
And also small texture-y wrinkles of the tediousish kind. The kind you see on the back of one's hand remind me a lot of rock.


Faulty thoughts that I didn't think to think:

So the cool part is when you start thinking of these lines and wrinkles and breaks in the skin in terms of the motion of force. Just like they do with fault lines.


Compression is the folding and gathering of fabric, while tension is the same motion that causes the tiny-shirt/yelling wrinkles.

But in geology land, they also talk about shearing.


Shearing makes up for those magical wrinkles the happen when the poofier parts of the face start falling down. The deepening of the nasal fold (that dark fold that happens when you smile or sneer or cry) as one ages is mostly caused by a shearing action between the cheeks and the mouth area. Actually, I'm not going to say mostly just yet. It's probably different on different people. I'll get back to you on that.

I have to go draw some one now. So: THE END.

Friday, December 11, 2009

On Beady Eyes: A Discovery (And some babbling)


From left to right, Leonard Nemoy, Chris Urbanowicz and Clancy Brown. Beady eyes, bug eyes and sunken bug eyes with a low brow variation. Nemoy and Brown are in crazy character makeup. Chris just naturally looks like this.

Have you ever looked at Leonard Nemoy's eyes? They're insane! I didn't know that eyes like his were possible!

See, in my world, there have always been three basic kinds of eyes. Bug eyes, squint eyes and almond eyes. These are just beyond me.

I've been fascinated by bug eyes in particular for a while now. B and C are both examples of really lovely bug eyes. Bugginess happens for a variety of reasons, but the result is basically the same in the end.
You can tell eyes are buggy because more of the whites show, and the the ball shapes the eyelids. And the eyes will probably look like they're kind of popping out of they're head. I highly suggest drawing bug eyes for would be portrait artists. They will drive you up the wall and into the woods, but after that, they'll force you to shade and visualize 3d forms. You can see the curve of the face clearly with bug eyes, because they stick out. Also they're adorable.

B, Chris Urbanowicz of the band "Editors". He's a near perfect example of bug-eyes that look like they're popping out of the skull. (I only know one other person with better ones, but I don't have a picture, nor permission to use it.) I think it's fairly clear why this happens, now that I can see his head next to these two other lovelies. Basically, my theory is that his head is just friggen tiny, so there's just not room in his little roundy head for his eyeballs. Eyeballs are more or less the same size on any one. He's looking down a little, so that makes it look a little smaller too. But still. Brown looks like he could eat him for lunch.

Then again, Clancy Brown has a Huge head. It's not by chance that he was repeatedly cast as monsters and villains in the 80s. So why does he have bug eyes? (Note, he's got some eye make up on that's playing up the shape of his eyes. It's hard to find good refs of this guy. Rest assured, they really are buggy.) My theory is this, his head is big, and therefor, so are his eye sockets. The "orbital fat pad"-- that's the padding in the eye socket around the eyeball-- isn't thick enough, so the area surrounding the eye sinks in. This reveals more of the eyeball. So the end result is the same.

The moral of this story is that Leonard Nemoy has like... reverse bug eyes! Look at how much white is showing compared to these other guys! Chris shows more white on one eye, than Nemoy has on both eyes combined. And there is so little sign of the eyeball on the underlid. Look how flat that is. You see that on squint eyes, but squint eyes only look smaller because the upper-upper eyelid--the part between the upper lid and the brows-- covers the outer sides of the eyes. Like Brown's in a way. But his do that because his brow is really low, they're not real squint eyes.

Anyway! The way of the beady eyes has been revealed to me and I am intrigued! I can't figure out why an eye would arrange itself that way. Not yet...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

On Wrinkles


This picture this is cut from is a little messed up. In my defense, my reference was a mess. It's Tom. Oh course. He's smiling. He's twenty-eight now. He's getting little crinkles every where. I can honestly only make educated guesses as to where they are exactly, not having seen him up close with my own eyes.

Wrinkles happen where skin is repeated stressed. So when you look at this picture of Tom's eyes all crinkling up, you can kind of tell where the wrinkles are going to happen. Under the eyebags and down the cheeks.

Yesterday I was looking at my boyfriend's face and there was this crazy fucking eye crinkle running parallel to the pull of the zygomatic major (the smiling muscle).


Shown in figure 7: Not my boyfriend.
So, kind of right across that red line there.


Kinda like this. Except that I can't draw him from memory yet, so this is just a kinda generic eye... Actually, he is pretty generic. Enough of that. That's not the point.
The direction of the wrinkles and crinkles I would expect are marked in red. They make sense. Like gathering fabric, it's obvious the skin would fold there every time he smiled, or squinted or poofed his cheeks out. (The ones right under the eye make sense too. That's the squinting muscle action.) But why in the name of all things Pretty would there be a wrinkle running across the cheek like that?

I stared at him for literally a half an hour before I glanced at my hands and realized how obvious it was.


I forgot, there are two kinds of wrinkles. I call them folded and stretched wrinkles in my head. Because one, (A) happens by being squished all the time. Either by something like the bending of a finger, or the gathering of a smiling cheek. The skin folds in on itself. (B) The other happens because the skin gets stretched by some action. The cheeks ball up when one smiles, they have to stretch horizontally. So when that muscle action stops, the skin falls in on itself. It's like the reverse of the first kind. When the skin isn't being pulled out tight, and stretched, it falls in on itself. Like trying to put a king sized bedspread on a queen sized matress, yeah? There's extra material. And then a really big guy sleeps on it, and all the extra fabric gets pressed into permanent wrinkles. Or like the big guy himself. He's got some spare gut, and it folds into itself. See?

I have a theory that there might be a difference in shape and line quality between these two types. It certainly looks that way from looking at my knuckles (I left the photo all huge like so you can examine that if you like). But hand crinkles are there from birth, so that might be kind of different. I'm not sure.

If that is the case, the implications would be fantastic. It would mean having the ability to look at the different kind of wrinkles on a face and determine with far more accuracy, how and where it moves. Wow. That would be like Christmas in July good. Hopefully I can figure that one out.

I need to get a pair of dark glasses or something so I can stare at people without them seeing. ;)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Work for Today: Tom in Green


The pressure of trying to make sense is keeping me from posting. So instead of writing anything serious, here's what I've been working on. It's a strait forward project. Pulled a frame of Tom Smith from a youtube video and I just started painting it. Don't ask me why it's green. It's just what I was feeling.

There isn't usually two of him. The background's still boring and I wanted to show how much I did in five hours. The one on the left is the newer one. Also, photobucket killed some of my precious pixels.


The biggest real change is (B) the shading of the crinkles on his forehead onto the temple. I did this to round out his head. Also because that's just the way it works. Forehead crinkles are just like small gathers in a stiff fabric.

On a smaller lever (A) the gathers work in a similar way. I've been noticing these small wrinkles. They're spidery and short. They're not deap enough to really show up in a youtube video shot, they take on more or less the same lightness as the surrounding plane of skin.

(C) It's difficult to draw hair. Because it's smaller than a pixel wide. Part of what I'm learning, is that letting parts of my strokes stay wide and transparent will actually imply a single hair, rising up. Also with hair, less is more. Except when it's not. Sometimes *coughMangacough* less is just less. And it looks like a spiky killer umbrella. Fucking stupid. Sorry, it's getting late. Also, sometimes there are weird shadows on a reference photo that I don't get and it turns out they're shadows of hairs that, for whatever reason, don't show up. Like stray eyebrow hairs and eyelashes. This is very confusing. But also a lot of fun.

(E) The upper-upper eyelid. Tom's got an interesting one. It's kind of taut and it makes a little bowl where the inner corner of his eye meets his nose. Research indicates that there is absolutely no good reason for this. Apparently, the fixed portion of the face only has a limited influence on where soft parts of the face connect. Sometimes, flesh just decides to do shit for lulz. This idea makes my eyes twitch. I want to beleive that if all this is connected, it's all got a reason for doing what it's doing.
Anywho! This area got all stretched out into a nice even arch by his expression, which made it rewarding and um... "tasty" to draw.

(F) I think I'm not alone in my "flat face" trouble. It's hard to make things look 3d. I have this old, bad habit. Some one once told me that using shadows was like pushing parts of the picture back into the page. This was very useful for a time... but it's really not now. The light is coming from stage left-ish here (stage left as in the actor's left, I'm a booth technician these days. So his left), so really, to make his cheek look like it was facing the left more, I had to make it brighter. Not darker. Notice how I colored in little elongated circles. I'm past the point of initial shading, so I use this time of fine tuning to detail, as well as fix planes. The trick is to pretend that you're painting on a 3d surface. Then it's only natural for your strokes to follow the shape of that surface.

(G) This discovery really deserves a post of it's own. I was so excited when I realized that this highlight was actually a foggy reflection of his upper eyelid in his upper-upper eyelid. I think I'll say more on that later.

(H) You can't see that well in this low-res picture, but there are three layers of texturing in there. At least. Probably more. The first is a blurry brush for big lumps in the skin. The second was a sharp, 3 pixel brush in a goldish pink. Those are the flatter portions of skin. Then there's a 1 pixel brush layer for pores and other small imperfections. On Tom, there's a fair amount of super tiny crinkling in this area. Which means a bit more 1 px work than other parts of the face. Skin doesn't have the same texture everywhere. We abuse it differently per piece of face.

(I) Tom is tired. He's got intense second tier eyebags today. Forgive the crappy photobucket edit. I labeled it wrong and I'm being lazy. They rest pretty much right over the orbit.

(J) This is an interesting shadow, that I need to talk about later.


(K) When I was in second grade I twirled baton. I was staring at the gym floor one day and I noticed that where the light hit the floor, the scratches in the floor that were most perpendicular to the rays of light got lit up. That is, it made a circular pattern on the floor. Skin does a very similar thing. Except not scratchs, lumps.

(L) Yeah, I was really happy about that area of texturing.

(M) The front plane of Tom's face is kind of pinkish. You can probably see that. You can see a little of his right side down the side there in dark green. It's hard to draw things at that angle. I really have to work hard to remember to think of it as a nice round wall extending away from me. The texturing on this wall is minimal and distorted, blurred. Or it should be. I haven't quite succeeded yet.

(N) There are an awful lot of planes meeting up right here. It's tricky. Also I think there's a bit of scarring there on Tom. I've got to watch out for that, it makes the light catch in an odd way some times.

(O) A lot of what I do is find these tiny variations in value and color. This set of planes is varied in an attempt to show the rounded shape of his upper lip. His lips are pursed a little ( (P) muscle "orbicularis oris") so it's more round than usual. That last dark green section is quite important in definining that. It's the same effect as the side of his face. In fact, those planes are at a similar angle. Planes at similar angles will pick up light in a similar way. As long as there isn't another plane casting another shadow. I've messed that one up plenty.

This last picture isn't useful to try to explain in words right now. There's far too much going on that I can sort of reproduce, but not necessarily explain.

OH! It's that chin thing again! Except with fuzzies covering the part I was looking at before.