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Digital Subscriptions > The Artist > Jan-18 > The head and neck

The head and neck

In the second part of her series, Adele Wagstaff identifies the superficial structures and anatomy of the head and neck so you know what to look out for when drawing the figure


Charlie, work in progress, oil on linen, 193⁄4×153⁄4in (50×40cm)

The face is an incredibly complex series of shapes and structures and there are several anatomical landmarks we can look for as we begin to study the head. When drawing and painting a head, all too often the focus is placed on the features to create a likeness of the sitter, rather than the shapes and proportions of the skull and superficial anatomy, and sometimes the presence of the underlying structures and forms of the head can be lost.

Being able to identify the underlying forms and seeing how parts of the skull determine the shapes and volumes of the head will give us a greater understanding of what is happening under the skin.

Benjamin Robert Haydon (1786–1846) was an English painter, known for his large-scale history paintings and portraits, who studied under the artist Fuseli. He gave lectures, wrote extensively and produced many fine anatomical drawings of the human body. A transcription of one of his anatomical drawings was included in part one of this series (December 2017 issue).

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About The Artist

Welcome to our January issue which looks forward to the new year ahead with our special 6-page guide to open competitions and exhibitions in 2018 and beyond, with all the entry details and all-important deadlines. We also include full details about our own The Artist open competition with fantastic prizes and the opportunity to see your work exhibited and published in the magazine and on our website, promoting your artwork to our massive international audience. Our inspirational, practical articles from this month's team of top-level professional artists and tutors include how to exploit extreme shadows in watercolour for enhanced light effects, watercolour techniques for capturing atmospheric weather conditions and how to improve your watercolour still life paintings. Equestrian artist Ruth Buchanan offers 10 top tips on how to draw the horse, NEAC President Richard Pikesley offers ideas on painting 'table-top' landscapes indoors when it's impossible to get outside to paint and Barry Freeman explains how painting from the heart is the key to loosening up in your work. With much more too, you will find plenty of ideas in this issue to keep you painting over the festive period. The team at The Artist wishes all our readers a happy, creative time and enjoyable new year.