How Not to Be a "Cover Band" Visual Artist


Artist Michael Mentler is know as The Bone Doctor for his knowledge of the human skeleton. He recently came to mind as I was struggling to draw the skull in the Watts Head drawing curriculum.

Awhile ago I downloaded an iPhone app of Mentler's book but the drawings and his handwriting were too small to be of any real use.

But after checking online, it turns out that he has a book and a video focusing on…THE SKULL!

Talk about synchronicity!

I immediately bought both and watched the section of the video related to drawing a frontal view of the skull (the video starts with the profile but it makes more sense to me to start with the front.)

This video shows clips from the lessons:



I'm still amazed that I found this just as I was struggling with this same topic!

The beauty of Mentler's approach is that he's taken the lessons of George Bridgman, Andrew Loomis and Robert Beverly Hale and combined them into a process of measuring accurately the drawing of the skull and skeleton, a method that works for him. Per Mentler:
"If you take any one master and try to follow that person exclusively, you become nothing more than a cover band for that artist. I don't care how well you play The Beatles, you're still a cover band for The Beatles."
Thanks to Mentler's skull measuring method, I am no longer aimlessly trying to learn how to draw the skull. Instead, I'm learning to draw the skull deliberately.

Since I have found no other method for accurately drawing a skull, I recommend Mentler's approach.

Do you have a method for drawing the skull? If so, please share in the comments. Thanks!

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