The triangulation mechanic in angles technique

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    Arjun Khode

    Hi Matt. I’m probably going to sound like a control freak but here goes nothing. When I start my drawings with the angles technique, my original results are quite obviously incorrect. It gets me to a point where I can rescue the drawing easily, but I can’t tell what is going wrong. Anthony Ryder talks about implementing the block-in technique to a millimeter level accuracy, but here I am getting the entire jaw wrong! To give you some background, I no longer draw lines on top of my reference, I approach everything like a life drawing and you have seen that the last two portraits didn’t turn out that bad.

    Here’s what I’m doing.
    So lets say I have drawn the exterior envelope. Then I want to locate the bottom of the nose in the interior. I will pick a corner of my envelope and I will hold my pencil so it touches the the nose. And I will transfer the tilt of that angle to my drawing. That gives me like a trajectory to locate the nose. I can find the exact point with a gesture as the drawing progresses.

    The problem with this is that if one thing goes wrong, that entire side of the drawing is going to snowball. Essentially I am just drawing something like a diagonal in a polygon, trying to cover a landmark in an optimal way. But It is very difficult for me to choose my trajectories and it consumes a lot of my thinking time. Even with just 5 corners in an envelope, and 2 sides left and right, its a lot of possibilities. And I am still getting it wrong! I just want to verify that I am not doing something wrong? What’s the right way to do it?

    I am leaving an Instagram link to my blockin video. You will definitely see me draw at least one diagonal from one side to another in every block-in I do. I even find other points of the envelope this way!


    Hi Arjun,

    When I work on a portrait using angles I basically stay on the edge of the hair/head. I incorporate negative space between the shoulders and neck very early on in the process along with vertical measure lines. The proportions for me live or die in the first two to five minutes of drawing.

    The only time, early on in the process, that I venture into the interior of the head is with the shape of the hair. Once I have the shape of the hair looking like the model’s hair that should go a long way in capturing the likeness.

    The features are then basically drawn using a bit of continuous line.

    What I have found over the years is that if you only use one technique in isolation you limit how you see things. That is why all of my first DVD’s were titled the layered approach. I use multiple techniques to solve the problem of getting a portrait correct, not just the angles.

    Hope this helps,


    Arjun Khode

    Thank you Matt. This answers my question. It is exactly what I needed to hear.

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