To draw Jim Thorpe, we should first sketch out some basic construction lines. Use a 2H or harder pencil and sketch very lightly so that the lines are easy to erase later on after we ink. Sketch the basic shape of the head, neck, chest, and upper shoulders. Thorpe has a thick, muscular build so keep that in mind. The angle is a low frontal view, so when you draw the construction lines of the face, place the eye, nose, and mouth lines slightly high so as to accentuate the lower part of his face.
Let's begin with the eyes. Be sure that they rest evenly on your horizontal construction line of the face. They should be roughly one eye width apart from one another. Have him squinting heavily, with his eyebrows pointing down in the middle causing a lot of creases in the skin around the eyes. His eyebrows are thick, but short. When drawing the iris and pupils, make sure that they are perfectly round and looking in the exact same direction as each other.
His nose is wide and bulbous. We should have a clear view of his nostrils from this angle, with are large. Draw short, vertical creases on either side of the nose that begin in the corners of the nostrils.
When drawing his mouth, give him a half smile. Like a smirk. This will create several prominent creases in the skin of his cheeks. From this angle, his upper lip will be significantly larger than his lower lip. Don't forget to draw the indentation above his upper lip.
Now draw the contours of his head and jaw line. His jaw should be very rounded and very large, especially from our low perspective. He has prominent cheek bones that rest high on the face.
Thorpe was an all around great athlete and he explored practically every sport that was popular in America during the 1920s. So let's have him wearing a leather football helmet. It should be made of thick pieces of padded leather that tightly wrap around the head. Draw stitching around the edges of some of the pieces of leather. Notice how the helmet also covers the sides of his head all the way down to his jaw line.
Draw the leather strap for the helmet beneath his chin. It should have a couple of loose straps dangling from the clasp, which should be to the side of his chin rather than directly beneath it, just to make things more interesting looking.
Thorpe has a thick neck, but we should only be able to see a small portion of it from this angle. The vertical lines of the neck should be as far apart as the face is wide.
Give him an old fashioned football jersey. First let's draw the collar and outer contours of the shirt. The collar should have a few large folds hiding the bottom of his neck. The shoulders should be wide as they have padding underneath the shirt.
Now draw the creases and folds of the shirt, as well as the creases of the inner arms. The creases nearest the armpits should point in the general direction of the armpits since the fabric is being pulled in that way.
We can now ink the image! Use either Micron markers, or a brush and India ink to do your inking. Carefully go over each line with patience and be sure not to ink any guide lines. A brush works great for fabric creases. When the ink has totally dried, erase your pencil marks with a kneaded eraser.
You can add a greater sense of depth to the image by giving it shadow. Use either a thick felt tip marker, or a brush and ink. Establish your light source; in this case, the light is coming from above the front of his face. The areas of heaviest shadow should be beneath the edge of his cap, nose, and jaw.
And that's about it! If you need to make any corrections you can use white ink or opaque white paint. You now know how to draw Jim Thorpe. Nice work!
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