Let's Learn Figure Drawing Fundamentals together, pt. 3:

To start things off, we have our winner for next month...Life Drawing! Or at least our version of it, since many of us can't go to a real class. I will try my best to make it as fun as possible to do at home. :)

Okay, so I have been pretty scatterbrained this week, which means this post and everything in it may be a mess. Let me know if you catch any major errors (spelling or otherwise, because I am actually made of spelling and grammar mistakes) and I will go back and fix them. Now for the main post. Why are these posts always so long?!

I don't feel very confident talking about using head units to measure proportions, since I have applied them to my own drawings maybe...once before? So I will let these two posts by Proko do most of the work for me, as he explains it better than I ever could. What I will say is that many artists swear by these, despite the limitations of a standing pose in the Richer head method. Using the cranium (the ball of our skull that encloses the brain) to measure with gives you more freedom in your poses, as the spherical shape of it is unaffected by foreshortening.

You don't have to use either of these techniques though, as they are just a tool that could prove useful for some, not all. Comparative measurement is another way of approaching this. Comparing size, positions and angles, measuring x to y on a model to see if the same appears in your drawing. I'm not sure if this is the exact definition of what I do, but I prefer to measure things by comparison than using a head unit of measurement. This involves finding invisible angles, axis lines, horizontal, diagonal and vertical alignments, negative space and so on. Anything that can be compared is what I try to look for. Example; if a muscle below the ribs lines up with the curve of the neck on my reference image, I try to mimic it in my drawing. This is how I like to measure most things.

And whether they are contour angles to help you outline the form, angles to build the shape of a limb, rhythmic angles, or measurement angles to find where certain things align, cross or overlap, all angles seem play an important role in accuracy. I use a lot of sharp lines when I construct the figure, so your decision may come down to if you have a preference for rounder or squared shapes.

Back to the main parts of these lesson. I am going to give you a short description of each like last week!

• Proportions are the distance between each individual body part. Correct proportions can be found by measuring those distances using various (and previously stated) methods.

• Landmarks are points on the human figure that are used to measure proportions, usually bony (clavicles, joints, bottom of ribs, spine) as they don't vary much from person to person, regardless of weight, race or gender. The bellybutton and nipples are also considered landmarks. Simply think of them as anything on the form that is generally unchanging. You can use distances and angles to measure between landmarks too.

• Balance has a lot to do with our center of gravity. This point sits behind the bellybutton, supported by the part of the body that is on the ground (feet, sometimes hands, elbows or knees) The center of support is the middle space between the parts in contact with the ground. The invisible shape of this area can be a line, triangle or square. The alignment of these two centers gives us balance. The figure is in total balance if the points are resting on top of each other. The center of support tends to be closer to the side carrying the most weight. Don't underestimate this article about center of gravity/center of support, as I have never seen this subject explained so clearly before.

That should be all the subjects, but let me know if anything still seems confusing to you. Now let's move on to the resources I've gathered/made! Pinterest was a little dry this week, although I think a lot of that has to do with the vocabulary I have to use to search, as I was getting a ton of unrelated results. Then we have our usual updated schedule and list of links, along with a new set of tips. I also took a few scans from Jack Hamm's 'Drawing the head & figure' and put them in a zip folder, five pages that all relate back to this week. All credit goes to him.

Then I made three example sheets using my old homework in case anyone needed something more visual. This assignment is pretty similar to the previous week, except you will be looking for proportions, landmarks and balance now. The schedule explains it in more detail!

Is that it? I feel like I'm forgetting something, and if I did I will either update this post or put it into the next one. Any questions, advice, suggestions or concerns? Don't be afraid to leave me a comment or message. Since I know a lot of you are overseas, have a great rest of the day or night!