Tlingit Design Practice: About Faces

January 12 Tlingit Art Daily Sketch – Face Designs

I didn’t get to post this yesterday, so I’ll post twice today. From the title of this post, you probably thought it would have a political slant, but my drawing is literally about faces = practicing face designs.

In many of the spaces where you have an ovoid shape or a circle, or less often a square or rectangle, the tendency is to place another ovoid or circle inside the repeated space.

If you’re drawing on a larger scale, you’ll have more room for more detail. The rule of thumb is the larger the design, the more detail the design calls for. Ovoids and circles can be filled with face designs. In the less common square shapes, the Chilkat faces work nicely sinceĀ it is a more angular design style from the Chilkat blankets.

Chilkat blanket attributed to Mary Ebbetts Hunt (Anisalaga), 1823-1919 illustrating face designs

Chilkat blanket attributed to Mary Ebbetts Hunt (Anisalaga), 1823-1919

Take a look at the squared faces, and you’ll notice they are very basic. The faces in the centralĀ panel are from the frontal view, because the central design is also a frontal view. The faces on the side panel are the side profiles of faces because the side panels are a side view.

So when you’re using faces as filler designs, you can decide whether a front view or side profile works better. There are quite a lot of variations of face designs.

I intended to list the pages that show a variety of face filler designs in Bill Holm’s Northwest Coast Art: An Analysis of Form, but I’m so unorganized I can’t find the book. Aaargh! Anyhow, hopefully you’ve gotten a copy of this for yourself, if you’re trying to learn about formline design. I can’t emphasize enough how useful this book is.

Here’s my daily sketch from January 12. I like to use faces like the one in the top left corner for killer whale blow holes. You can see I’ve connected my face designs by regular fomline, so that if I had colored this in, the face areas would show up as filler shapes.

Tlingit Art Daily Sketch Jan 12 practice face designs

About Faces


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