Learn to Draw People - Symmetry in drawing




Facial Symmetry

An asymmetrical smile

A baby with an asymmetrical face

Looking at symmetry

Let's look at the straight on portrait now. Things are a bit more complicated than with a profile, because now you're dealing with the whole face, not just half of it. As with profiles, your mind is going to try and fool you into thinking some aspects of the face look a certain way when they really don't. Here's the first problem: The human face is not symmetrical, meaning that the left side of your face is NOT a mirror image of the right side of your face. Each eye is different, each lobe of your nose is different, and the left corner of your mouth may curl more than the right corner. Facial asymmetry is a natural thing, and is far more common than facial symmetry, but you don't really see it unless you're looking for it. Facial symmetry does exist, but it is very rare, and when we see it, we call it "beautiful". People called Supermodels often have symmetrical faces - that's why they're Supermodels. Supermodels are also an unrealistic standard of beauty because the vast majority of humankind does not have symmetry in their faces. But if you look at the "supermodels" really closely, I bet you'll find some that aren't so symmetrical. Asymmetry is not a bad thing, in fact, it's what makes us look like us. Which is why if you try and make both sides of the face look exactly alike when they're not, your drawing isn't going to look like your subject - the likeness will not be there. Look for symmetry, if it's there draw it, otherwise draw what you see. Draw the left eye, and when you come to the right eye, don't just draw the mirror image of the left because, chances are that the right looks different than the left. Try and forget that you've drawn the first eye and just draw the second eye the way you see it.  As you draw faces look at each facial element on it's own and see that each element looks different. And then draw each element as you see it, don't just draw the mirror image of the other element.

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