. 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.

An important 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 proportions.

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 refereeing to.

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).