The first part of this article takes you through the process of drawing a man with a beard. As you can see, this subject also happens to have his hand on his chin, as if he is having a thought.
The second part of this article explores the significance of this placement, describing how a hand on a chin and a beard adds thought and meaning to a piece such as this.
Drawing the Subject
Drawing the face can be difficult, so I like to break down the face into several parts and think of each part as separate in order to create the whole.
Drawing the Face
Start by roughly sketching the face. If you cut the head horizontally in half, then the eyes are above that line. When drawing the eyes, space them apart from one another about one eye apart and about a half-eye shape from the side of the face. It helps to draw lightly so you can later fix marks or guidelines that you use. When drawing a face, it helps to remember some proportions and also techniques like measuring.
When drawing the ears, consider that the top of the ears are about level with the eye and the bottom of the ears are about level with the mouth. Remember to include a lot of detail when drawing the ears to give a more realistic look.
Roughly halfway between the chin and the eye line is about where the nose should be.
If you create an upside down triangle from the eyes down to the nose line, it will create about the right size for the nose. The mouth is about one-third the distance from the nose to the chin.
When drawing the neck, use a line dropping from the ears and remember to curve the neck slightly.
Finish drawing in light details like the mouth and start working on light shading on areas that you will later rework in a darker shade.
Now that you have a basic drawing of the man, it’s time to start working the details. Start by shading large areas a light tone that are to give the drawing more of a 3d effect.
When drawing a person, consider expression, pose, personality, and characteristics.
When drawing the eye, pay attention to small details. Small details will help give your drawing a more realistic look.
For example, when drawing the iris, know that eyes are reflective and that there is always a bright spot of the eye where the eyes are reflecting light.
The nose can be difficult to draw but you can look at the nose as 3 or more different parts because it’s easier to draw that way.
First draw the bridge of the nose near the eyes, then the body of the nose, and finally the bottom of the nose near the nostrils, which can be broken up further into three parts.
When drawing the mouth, create a basic shape of the mouth then add small details like the roundness of the lips. Try not to draw the mouth as a single curved line if you want to draw realistically. Instead, use several small curves to create the shape.
Drawing the Hand
The hand is about the size of the face, although in this picture you can’t see his whole hand, so it may be better to use measuring in order to figure out how large his hand is compared to his face. Use a shape in the photos and a fixed measuring object like an eraser or pencil and keep on using the same measuring object.
Drawing the Beard
First, draw the face fully as if he had no beard. Use the structure of his face to figure out where his chin would be. These lines will later disappear as you add details for the hair. Men tend to have square-like faces. Still, you should draw the shape with curved lines and not straight lines since the body is mostly curved.
When drawing the hair for the beard, draw lightly to begin with to create an idea of the shape of his beard. To draw the actual hair, use a sketchy technique in different directions. Keep in mind where his hair is and where it is going.
Now start to create the darker areas of his beard. Just like any round shape, beards are darker near the edge of the face and lighter on the surface of the face.
Facial hair grows differently for different guys. Pay attention to how the hair is growing and where.
Once you draw the hair and shade the hair in, use an eraser and lightly erase to create light spots in areas where they are needed. You may need to switch between drawing and shading, erasing several times before you get the look you are aiming for.
Remember to draw lightly so that the face does not become too gray-looking. If you are doing this on paper, it becomes hard to erase after several times of using a technique like this.
Why does this drawing of a man look like he is thinking?
Consider when drawing a pose, why are you using the pose and why do you like the pose?
For instance, take this man in the picture placing his hand on his chin. When you consider body language, a simple pose or action can tell the viewer an idea.
What concept are you trying to convey?
In this picture, the man’s expression and gesture gives the impression that he is thinking because one of the common mannerisms that people tend to have when thinking is having their hand near or on their chin. You look at “The Thinker” sculpted by Rodin…
Why is he posed in such a way with his hand on his chin? Because the way he is holding his face conveys the idea of thought.
Why is this pose so compelling and why does the beard accent the idea?
The beard helps create the effect even more because it’s easy for a guy when he is bored or perhaps thinking to scratch his face. If one has a beard, then it give you more of a reason to place your hand there.
A lot of great thinkers in the past all had long beards. Is this connected or just happenstance?
The idea is in art. We have concept and you can even have theory, but above all, you have emotions and feeling. So if you feel there is a certain meaning behind something, that is all you need. Thought can give more to an art piece than technique and/or skill level. If you consider abstract art, thought becomes more important than the skill.