Supplementary #4 (Loomis: Drawing Other Races)

Supplementary #4 (Loomis: Drawing Other Races)

In this fourth Supplementary entry about Loomis, I will be talking about drawing people of other races/ethnicity.

The main gripe with Andrew Loomis especially from people of colour is the frankly, racist and outdated depictions of anyone who isn’t Caucasian/white.

I wrote about this with some examples here.

Andrew Loomis’ illustration career era was in the past era of American advertising, promoting the ideal Caucasian American lifestyle, and a lot of outdated stereotypes were common in the depiction of other races.

Loomis was not immune to how society was last time, even in “Fun With A Pencil”‘s racist caricatures not withstanding, he has written some off-colour remarks in that book as well.

I remember one metaphor he used being like “-as/like a Chinaman” as someone who is Chinese myself, I was like “Okay…?”

So, if you started with his “Fun With A Pencil” and/or even with his “Drawing The Heads and Hands” book which had all these problems then going onto “Drawing The Heads And Hands” or vice versa which has no other races other than Caucasian still, you might be at a loss of how to proceed.

Regardless, his method still has its merits but how do you use it still to draw more diverse characters of different races?

A main problem I find from artists who are not white trying to tutorial-lize the issue of drawing other races other than Caucasian is that they also tend to fall into some form of stereotype short-hand methods to follow.

“Asian eyes tend to be smaller/angular”, “No double eyelids”, “African American noses are huge”, all these kinds of things then just going “Oh just draw them like how I said it.”

These shorthand methods like to also go in tandem with comparisons to the “default” white race, or to “stereotype” characters. Kind of erasing that there are people with those stereotype features.

“Eyes not as big as average Caucasians”, “nose bigger than average Caucasians, etc.

“Asian eyes don’t look slant-y”, “The face is actually smaller than what most white artists draw”, etc.

The list of examples goes on and on, with the problems of those examples showing through.

1) The look of a ethnicity need not be compared to a default white slate for drawing even if the target artist being taught is someone who is Caucasian wanting to diversify the faces that they draw.

2) There are people who do not have those stereotypical facial traits but can still be recognized as whatever race they are intended to be.

3) There are also people who are of mixed parentage so they do not fit as easily into those stereotypes, who are also not immediately identifiable as one race or the other.

4) People with “stereotypical” racial features exist but that doesn’t mean they need to be caricatured into a racist depiction and that also doesn’t mean those are the only features that exist and that even with other features existing those stereotypical racial features still have merit.

There are so many races and so many people with different facial features. How do you as an artist, draw different people of colour inclusively and accurately in a non-prejudiced way? I try to answer that as best I can in the content behind the paywall below. If you wish to read more content try the other links related to Loomis down below.

Related Loomis Method Articles:

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This is likely the final chapter on Loomis regarding heads, I shall combine all the previous posts and additional material for a final pdf download on Gumroad that is more easily accessible in terms of not needing a wordpress account.

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