Study of Two Heads
This is a pretty slick piece of drawing, and I'll tell you why I think so. First, foreshortening is hard. It is especially hard when drawing the face. When you learn to draw the human face, it's a challenge to learn to draw each of the features, the eyes, ears, nose, and mouth on their own. It's another challenge to make them match the subject. It's yet another challenge to give them individuality and expression. It's yet another challenge to do all this, but alter the appearance of each form, to make it look believable from a foreshortened perspective. It's yet another challenge on top of all that to make all these features hang together and still retain the right proportional relationships to like like the person you are drawing. Whew!
Here is something else: whenever you're drawing, and this is magnified when you are working with a messy medium like chalk or charcoal, it is so easy to "overwork" one particular area. By this I mean you've put down too many marks in whatever area you are trying to work out, that the excess of marks makes the area darker than it should be, and it throws off the whole overall balance of values in the drawing.
In this case, badass Sir Poynter kept it all together. These drawings must have been practice for another work, probably a painting. He had it all together to pull the whole of the woman's head and face together with seeming ease. All her features are realistic and the face does not look overworked or overdone. Squint your eyes and look at the drawing. You'll notice that the tones in the lower face are all subordinate to the area of light above her right eye.
On top of all of this, he has it together to really study and tease out the details of the braids of the female figure's hair. Hair can be a horrible thing to draw, lacking consistent form and shape and eternally presenting the trap that tempts the artist to draw individual hairs (but this is a path to madness.) Sir Poynter here was able to capture the hair, give form and weight to the braids, give the hair both darks and highlights, and give it a legitimate sense of being hair on that subject.
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