Graphic Design for Portraits: Framing the Head

26 minutes
Share the link to this page
You need to purchase the class to view this lesson.
One-time Purchase
List Price:  $139.99
You save:  $40
List Price:  د.إ514.16
You save:  د.إ146.91
List Price:  A$191.28
You save:  A$54.65
List Price:  ৳11,870.69
You save:  ৳3,391.87
List Price:  CA$184.46
You save:  CA$52.70
CHF 90.91
List Price:  CHF 127.27
You save:  CHF 36.36
List Price:  kr877.81
You save:  kr250.82
List Price:  €117.97
You save:  €33.71
List Price:  £108.08
You save:  £30.88
List Price:  HK$1,084.95
You save:  HK$310.01
List Price:  ₹10,294.89
You save:  ₹2,941.60
List Price:  RM575.98
You save:  RM164.58
List Price:  ₦53,756.16
You save:  ₦15,360
List Price:  kr1,269.06
You save:  kr362.61
List Price:  NZ$206.38
You save:  NZ$58.97
List Price:  ₱6,786.71
You save:  ₱1,939.20
List Price:  ₨23,301.33
You save:  ₨6,658
List Price:  S$189.97
You save:  S$54.28
List Price:  ฿4,352.03
You save:  ฿1,243.52
List Price:  ₺1,060.48
You save:  ₺303.01
List Price:  B$746.21
You save:  B$213.22
List Price:  R2,274.36
You save:  R649.86
Already have an account? Log In


Okay, we're going to talk about graphic design for portraiture, specifically framing. So what is framing? Well, let's look at what a frame actually is. And this might seem self explanatory. But a frame is something that calls your attention to what it is you want someone to look at. It's like putting parentheses around a word, right?

It's saying, Look at this word, it contains it. So that's what a frame does. And it's like the viewfinder on your camera. When you go out to take a photo, or paint a picture. 99.99% is are things that you're leaving out, you're leaving in. You're cutting out so much of the world and you have to make a decision on what the thing that's going to be inside your frame, so that you can call attention, call someone's attention to it and show them what it is.

That you see in your artwork. So a frame is very important. So when you go ahead and choose that frame, it leaves out everything else 99.999% of the world and what you choose to leave out, makes what you put in. That much more powerful. Okay, so frames we need them. They're good.

And so how is graphic design related to this? Well, once you've been practicing your shapes, forms, values, edges, your anatomy Learn to construct and see, then when you go to make your art, it's a little bit more about the entrapment of that characteristic shape or silhouette, and how it blends in or breaks away from the environment that is around it. And that's just graphic shape and value. So, the frame when we think about framing the face, we're going to have a frame within a frame. And so we're gonna focus a little bit more what it is that we want the viewer to, to see what we want to call their attention to. And we're going to do that by frame and we're going to use some pretty simple shapes, circles, squares triangles, We're going to going to start there.

Okay, so let's put our simple shapes down the circles, squares, triangles, and derivatives of those shapes. So once you get your frame down, and you got really good at drawing, and you've got your person there, right? Well, we don't want to necessarily put him dead center. So we need to kind of be aware of where dead center is within that frame. And the next move that we make is probably, we use the rule of thirds. And, you know, we move that character just off frame a little bit, and now we are composing.

And then the next thing we probably want to do is say, Well, you know, we've got that what else can we do? We can do is just start off by, you know having that character in the frame. And we're going to go ahead and use a square and just put a frame within the frame. Okay, not bad. We're calling your attention to the face with that frame device. So we've got a light breaking away from dark, that's the graphic part.

And so the light is coming from the front. Probably three quarter down, okay. So we always want to be aware of the light where the light is in this game. Okay, so the next time Move we could make is, you know, cuz that's, that's okay and that can work. But we want to take it, let's say to another place where can we take it? We could have in this one that frame is floating it's it's not touching anything so we want things to touch so we can have it, you know, touch the top of the frame and then it looks more integrated.

So in here we have, you know, we may have a nice figure that's just anatomically beautiful and rendered, but there's no background. So where is he? Same thing with this one a little bit better, but they're floating against the white background. Now we're starting to establish a background without drawing a background. Okay, so This is a these are very powerful to suggest backgrounds with just very simple shapes or design elements. So let's do it again.

There's a character Well, we don't have to have things all parallel and squared off we can use, we can use the box, we can tilt the box we can start to become creative with this square shape and how it frames the subject. Right so now we've got this interesting. Little bit more interesting graphic breakup of the space. We have been here. Thick here. Hear thick here.

And then we've got dark against light, light against dark, right, the head is the light. And that squares dark. And then we could put a little gradation in here. And then we have dark against light, or middle value against light. Here we have dark value against life. Right?

So it starts to become a little bit more interesting when we play with the idea of the box. And we just start to put in diagonals until K so let's do one more. All right, so there's our beautiful portrait. Great. So what can we do to this? Well, just gonna say the lights coming from screen right?

Little shadow there. Okay. So again, we can take that square and we can stretch it, we can stretch it into a rectangle and start to create some, some movement with this diagonals here. Okay, now we're starting to break up this space, even before we've even rendered anything or put anything on the canvas or, you know, tried to get an accurate drawing. We're still in the planning phase. And would you say well, okay, we like that.

And it's kind of a gut thing. It's either a thumbs up, or a thumbs down. Heck yes or Heck no. Just go with your instincts. I like this. I like the light against dark.

I like how it's being the proportion of shapes in here, but this one triangle up here I kind of don't like so I'm just going to go ahead kind of pretend That that rectangle breaks through it could be extending beyond the frame, but we're just going to crop it. That's all about what you what you leave out what you crop, you know, makes what you leave in more powerful, you know, so that could be perfectly acceptable. Okay, let's keep going. Okay, let's try. Let's try a circle. We've got our person here.

Get the hairstyle. Wonderful. Okay. There they are for their beautiful portrait. And then we can just kind of, you know, again, we can use a simple circle and just Make them break away from that dark graphic shape. And interesting way to maybe cam the lightest from camera left so I could put a shadow on that bright side of the face.

Okay, let's keep going. What can we do to that character here kind of a dynamic pose a little bit a little Dagnall, but we can take that circle and enlarge it and just have a it you know, breaking through, right? And we don't have to draw the whole thing. And it's usually better if we don't make it a bit stronger. And maybe that works better to tell our story somehow. So we've got circle complete character breaking away from the dark, black or dark background.

What if we went ahead and said, Well, this character is backlit. So we've got a character. They're looking down and we're using the circle and we're gonna say they're backlit. So they'll be in shadow. So it'll be a dark character. Breaking Away from a light value, background, so dark value against light value.

Now might work well for your horror movie or your scene. mystery and intrigue, very strong. That circle is working to frame that base. Right let's play on that a little bit. Again. Let's see how can we do this?

Let's just get this basic thumbnail face in here. Again, I can take that circle. And then I can just I don't have to draw it as a circle, I can draw it as a as an oval by breaking through. So that's could be interesting. dark background, full value figures, framing that heads. And now we have, you know, an interesting triangle here, a nice interesting shape here that kind of looks like that.

I like that, because the triangle here so it's all about breaking up the space graphically. And framing the head in an interesting way, calling your attention to it, putting parentheses around it so that you see it in an interesting way. Like a shadow on the side of the character. If you're starting to get the idea, it's very simple and very effective and fun. And you're not wasting a ton of time. Because you can just go through these like thumbnails.

Right, let's try the triangle shape. See what we can squeeze out of that. And triangle is a very dynamic. This is a real close up here. person's looking down. Okay.

It's kind of a close up into this, what this character's thinking we want to know what's on his mind. Just pretend the lights coming from the left side. All right, and then we want to frame his face. Well, you know, we can just use a triangle and put it in there. That would be easy, but it might not be too sophisticated of an idea. So we can take that triangle and just crop in on it.

Right? And try that. He noticed it left some other areas of negative space that are interesting triangles to, you know are potentially hopefully. Interesting as well. And if we put that line right through the characters head you know if we have a character here Right. If we put our horizon line or graphic shape breakup right through there, that's what we're going to look or is going to follow that strict line is going to be interrupted by that person's head.

And we're going to notice that if that's what we want you to notice, and I'm just taking a portion of that triangle. Now it could be, we could add to this, another bit of triangle, so that now we're gonna, you know, we don't just have to use one triangle or one circle or one square, we can start to add in other shapes, other similar shapes, smaller or bigger and you know that could fit our storyline it could be a car headlight that's behind this character, or in front of the character, just a beam of light. And we'd have to decide or Where's, where's the key light coming from? Where's the backlight coming from? The rim light, maybe this person is in a backlit situation so it's gonna put him into shadow. Right and then they have that rim light is that his car headlight behind him.

He's got that nice. rim light cutting him out. Right so we have full value character against full value background with a rim life. So let's full value character, full value background with a rim light with a rim. That's how I would think of that. Try to keep it simple in my mind and interesting shapes, interesting proportions.

Then we can try one more He's really kind of fun, it's not too much thinking off. So we can have a triangle graphic shapes in the background and a triangle character, maybe they're in a dress, right? There's the hairstyle. You might be looking off camera left. And then they may we could grade eight them from bottom. Dark value, up to a middle value.

So you have these. The idea is like the two triangles, one, you know, against another. That's our graphic design, and we can build a whole painting around that. Just using triangles, and, and then infusing them with whatever meaning we want, whatever we want to put in there, we can put in there. And it'll be a solid, graphic and tonal structure. And then we can go to town just rendering this thing.

And since the idea is so simple and clear, our audience will know what we're talking about that if we could keep that simple, clear idea all the way through to the end, then we'll have a successful piece, and we won't lose the audience. They'll be able to go take the journey with us the whole way through and that's what it's all about. Right taking people on a journey. We can have this idea in use to circle shapes will circles and overlap them, you know and put our character somewhere in here in relationship to that and that might tell the story the way we WANT right fraying at us. See how simple but clear that is. And, you know if we just go ahead and establish a value for that shape and that those circles may be the right shape language for the, for the piece.

It might be a friendly environment. So we're using circles. We're using ovals, not just circles. We're breaking up the shapes or breaking up the format inside the frame. We're letting things touch. We're letting that ovoid shape touch the top, we're letting it touch the side, right, we're letting the character touch the bottom.

So when they touch, they look like they're integrated into the environment. They don't look like they're floating and we don't want things to float. And so that's it. So that's how you can build interesting compositions very quickly. You can call attention to your model to your portrait to the character in a very simple clear way, using the frame and then using a frame inside the frame. So that's it.

I hope that helped and we'll see you in the next video.

Sign Up


Share with friends, get 20% off
Invite your friends to TabletWise learning marketplace. For each purchase they make, you get 20% off (upto $10) on your next purchase.