Welcome to lesson one, proportion. In my opinion, proportion is the most important
part of drawing the human form. Without it, you can end up having a rather inhuman looking
person on your piece of paper.
note. Proportion is vital to a correct looking person, however every human has their own
individual appearance and measurements. Don't go crazy trying to make sure that the image
your drawing conforms perfectly to what's consider "general human proportions".
Now on to the above mentioned "general human
proportions". Remember, these are just guides and you should always remember that the
phrase "more or less" applies perfectly to the following lesson. Male and female
humans have similar measurements but different appearances and therefore different
1a --/ How To Measure The Human
Body For Proportions
The adult/adolescent human body can easily be measured
by using the head as a map for the rest of the body. Each human is around 7 1/2 to 8
"heads" high. The proportions go as follows for males and females:
Be sure to remember where each head ends! That's the
most important part of the heads measurement system. It's an old system that has
it's roots in classical Greece so use it with awe. ^_~
1b --/ Shoulder Proportions
Shoulder proportions differ with the male and female body.
In case you didn't notice in the picture above, women have slighter shoulders while
men have broader ones. The best way to measure the proper width of the human
shoulders is, again, by using the head as a starting point.
For women, you can fit two widths of their heads into
their shoulder length. For men, you can fit two heads turned on their sides into the
shoulder length. See bellow for an illustration of what I mean.
1c --/ Shoulder, Hip, Thigh Proportions
The second most important part of proper proportions is the
relationship between the shoulders and the hip/thigh area. Just to let you know,
when I say thigh I'm referring to it's upper portions near the hip ^_^;;;. These
proportions are different for the male and female body and it is of the utmost importance
to understand this! Observe the following images for those proper proportions.
As you may have already noticed (sort of), the relationship
between a male and female's shoulders, hips and thighs is different. A males
shoulders are broader than his hips and thighs while a females hips and thighs are greater
than her shoulders (sorry about the female picture above, her hips and thighs should have
been a bit wider). The reason for this is because women need a wider pelvic zone
created by a larger hip bone for child bearing. Without it, they're uterus would be
crunched making it impossible to carry a child later on in pregnancy.
Shoulders and hip/thighs are also important for other reasons
that will be discussed in a later lesson.
1d --/ Facial Proportions
The face is also easily dissected like the body, all it takes
is a little help to get started! ^_^ The shape of a human head is more or less oval
and similar to that of an egg with the tapering portion as the face and the upper, larger
part as the skull. Once you've drawn your basic head shape, it's time to think about
the eyes, ears, nose and mouth.
Step 1: Divide your face into perfect
halves vertically and horizontally.
Step 2: Then divide the
portion below the horizontal line in half. Don't go all the way from right to left,
mark the division with a small line as shown below. This mark represents where the
nose will be drawn. It should also be noted that the nose isn't directly halfway
between the division and the chin but slightly above halfway. Then draw another line
between the nose mark and the chin to mark where the mouth will go.
Step 3: Next comes the
eyes. To properly position the eyes, draw a line upwards from each ending point of
your nose line stopping at the horizontal dividing line. Then do the same with the
mouth line. It is important to remember that (if looking forward) the pupils of the
eye will line up directly with the ends of the mouth. Similarly, the corners of the
eye's will coincide with the ends of the nose. With this in mind, draw two ovals to
properly coincide with what I mentioned to represent the eyes.
Step 4: Finally the
ears! The ears begin at the eyes and end at the nose. See below for what I'm
There you have it! Now your ready to start
your face. With the above facial proportions used, I managed to do the following
picture of Heather Graham. It's not perfect but I think it's ok overall.
Lesson 1--/ Conclusion
Well, there you have it. The very basics
of proportion. If your taking a collage or university art class I'm sure you'll be
learning A LOT of other methods to maintain proper proportion of the human body and face.
Before I end this lesson I want to impart some
very dear advice. I strongly suggest the use of the above in conjunction with real
figures of people from life or magazines (or whatever properly shows a full or partial
human body/face). Discovering the quirks of the human form is important before you
can start drawing abstractions of it like anime and manga. Without the basics,
you'll end up with bad looking characters even if they aren't realistic looking (i.e. with
huge eye's and small mouths).