How to Paint the Human Body: Principles of the Body’s Measurements and Basic Differences Between the Sexes
|June 8, 2011||Posted by Jacob Devies under Painting Tips|
Leonardo da Vinci studied the human body scientifically and calculated the average size of the parts of the human body using the head as a unit of measurement. He used the length of the face while Dürer used the entire head.
The standard body length is equal to 7 1/2 head lengths as confirmed by the French anatomist Richer.
For simplicity, the artistic standard today is the eightfold principle. The second head length ends at the nipples; third at the navel; fourth at the pubic symphysis (the junction of the pubic bones); the fifth at mid-thigh; the sixth at the lower edge of the knee; the seventh at the mid-tibia; and the eighth at the ground.
This same principle of head measurement applies to measurements of the arms – which should hang to mid-thigh when erect.
Leonardo on the Human Body
Here are clear reproductions of over 1,200 anatomical drawings by one of humanity’s greatest geniuses – still considered, nearly five centuries later, the finest ever rendered. With 215 plates, including studies of the osteological, myological, nervous, respiratory, alimentary, and genito-urinary system, this treasury will be admired by artists and scientists alike.
The exception to this formula comes when rendering children. Dürer adopted the relationship of 1:4 for young children whose heads are proportionately larger in relationship to the rest of their bodies.
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The neck is so short that the head almost rest on the shoulders of a young child. Unlike adults, a young child’s arms end at mid-navel versus mid-thigh By one year the proportion is 1:5 with mid-height near navel; by five years 1:5 1/2 with mid-height at mid-point between navel and public; and by fourteen the child is near adult size at 1:7 with mid-height close to public.
How to measure head length: Use this technique to help you confirm what your eye is seeing. Stretch out your arm so that your hand is at the maximum fixed length from your body. Hold your pencil upright, close one eye and aim at your subject. Measure the length of the head by using the distance between the tip of your pencil and the finger holding your pencil. Keep you finger in place – this is now a set measurement that you can use to compare the distance between any two points on your subject to verify that your measurements and proportions are correct.
Proportion Differences Between the Sexes
Knowing the subtle proportion differences between males and females will help you paint a more realistic figure. The vertical proportions of women are simply smaller than men. The main differences in measurement occur at specific points such as the shoulders and pelvic area. Finer measurement of these areas is done by dividing the head length into five smaller units.
In a male, the shoulders are widest between the prominent point of the deltoid muscles – the triangular muscle covering the shoulder joint. The distance is two head lengths plus two small units. The depth from the highest point of the chest to the pelvis measures one head length plus one small unit. At its widest point, the pelvic area of a male measures is one head length plus two small units. In other words, the male shoulders are one head wider than the pelvic area, the reverse of the female proportions.
Drawing the Human Body: An Anatomical Guide
The wording in the book can sometimes seem very clinical but it is very informative on human anatomy. There is detailed information as to the differences we should look for between the male and female form when drawing the human form. I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a book to use as a reference for anatomy and is trying to learn how to draw the body in different poses.
The male’s arms are more muscular than the female’s and the elongation of the upper arm is more pronounced because of the clearer muscle definition. With the exception of the padded bodies of children, the narrowest point of the body is generally the waist.
One of the most obvious differences in the female is the larger and broader pelvic area. The shoulders are narrower than the pelvis, the reverse of male proportions. The arms are less muscular, rounder and smoother.
The positioning of the female breast is not an exact measurement but must be determined by observation of the model. Although generally hemispherical, the form and size is dependent on age and the model’s body type.
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Painting the face on a person can be very difficult, but with the help of our art expert you will be painting the eye, nose and mouth of any character with ease.
Movement and Gesture Drawing: How the body moves and quick gesture drawings or paintings as the foundation of your work.
One of the simplest ways to begin life drawing and painting is to draw stick figures. Sketching people in this simple form can help you learn about the way the body moves and how the center of gravity shifts with different movements.
Simple sketching demonstrates the alternate placement of the feet with each step; the changing position of the hips; the swinging of the arms. If your stick figure was walking up a slope, he would lean into the slope, rather then remain upright.
Quick, minute-long sketches are often used as a warming-up exercise in life classes. Start with simple stick or “shape” figures to capture the essence of the model.
Drawing Hands & Feet: Form, Proportions, Gestures and Actions
Lots of very good examples and some good instruction. The only thing better would have been to see a movie of him draw the hands and feet to watch his methods, etc.
There’s a purpose to gesture drawing or painting beyond learning about movement or warming-up, a few simple lines to denote the pose, basic shapes, angles and measurements provide a firm foundation for your drawing and subsequent painting.
Use lines to show how the shoulders and pelvic slope and the position of the limbs. Use basic shapes such as ovals to position the buttocks, thighs or breasts. These simple lines depicting the curve of a back or hip, when done freely and spontaneously, can provide the qualities that will bring your figure to life. Once you’ve captured this essence, double-check your measurements, and you have the foundation of your final drawing or painting.
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