Life Drawing

Life drawing refers to drawing the human figure from observation. You can draw the full form (from head to toe) or just a portrait (head and shoulders).

It is important to know the correct proportions of the figure and the face when drawing the human form. It is also important to observe the figure in front of you as not all figures are the same.

Make sure that you only draw what you can see. If you can only see one eye from where you are standing or sitting then make sure that you only draw one eye! As the human form looks different depending on what angle you are viewing it from.


Key Elements: Scale and Form

Proportions of the Figure

Firstly you need to figure out the scale of the head in relation to the body. The head fits into the body approximately 8 times. This varies slightly from person to person.

The body can be percevied as being made up of cylinders and spheres. Closely observe the position of the figure and how the weight is dispersed.

Draw diagonal lines to map the movement or direction of the limbs. Be aware of fore-shortening (a limb seen in perspective).

Proportions of the Face and Head

The head is a similar form to an egg or a rugby ball, and it pivots on the neck. The eyes are positioned half way between the top of the head (not the top of the forehead) and the bottom of the chin.

The bottom of the nose is roughly half between the eyes and the chin. The mouth is usually halfway between the nose and the chin. The top of the ears are in line with the eyes and the bottom of the ears are approximately in line with the bottom of the nose.

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