I am just back from a three-day Facial Anatomy workshop at the legendary Valve Corporation. It was great to be back in Seattle for a return visit. As many of you know, Valve is an incredible company with a very unique studio environment, so it is always fun to work with them for a few days.
The Valve crew had just wrapped the 3rd Annual Dota2 International, a five-on-five tournament with a first prize of $1.4m (more than quite a few ‘traditional’ sporting championships), so there was a bit of a Dota theme running through the place. Donkey couriers greeted me in the lobby and then the impressive Aegis of Champions turned up later. If you are at all curious to see how videos games are rapidly becoming a spectator sport, watch one of the final games and check out the crowd on hand at Benaroya Hall in Seattle.
Once we got down to business, we covered a lot of anatomical ground. Over the three days we tried to unlock some of the deeper secrets of facial anatomy – in my courses I try to cover the elusive information that you don’t find in standard art books, which almost every professional artist has combed over since they were young. More I try to focus on the fundamental structures of the head and neck and how and where they create surface form, the information that is most important to a visual artist. We spent quite a bit of time studying the skull and the deep and superficial structures that influence the final portrait, including muscle, tendons, cartilage, skin and most importantly, fat. If this sort of thing interests you, but you don’t happen to work at Valve, it is all covered in my six-week Portraiture & Facial Anatomy online course.