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Lesson 9b: Continuing with the human form

Now we takea look at the whole human figure and how all the various parts are carefully balanced in their proportion.


drawing of the human form - a knight


Let's draw in the general form of the knight - I have drawn these shapes with dark lines so you can see them. You should draw all of these lines lightly because you will be erasing them and moving them. This drawing, erasing and re-drawing is a normal part of the art process. You will not draw the lines exactly right the first time. This is a normal part of the artist process. As you draw the lines you will see better and be able to adjust everything.

Think of these shapes as the underlying muscles and bones in the figure. You can see this real well in the neck and shoulder area of this figure. In the next step we will be putting a skin on this figure. These shapes will define how the skin wraps over the body. That is what your skin does! It covers the body but it shows many of the underlying shapes.

Don't be dismayed if you keep drawing the shapes and it takes many tries to get it look right. This is how you will develop your skill as an artist. It is absolutely normal.

Let's take a look at this figure and note some important things to look for with your drawing.

First big thing to notice: The body is divided roughly in half. The top four segments are the upper body and the lower four segments are the legs. This is easy to see. Second thing to look at: Don't forget about the pelvis/hip section. This is a section that is often overlooked and people often try to draw the whole torso with one big oval. You should break your torso into two different parts - the upper part (chest and rib cage) and the lower part (hips and lower abdomen) This breakdown of the torso is very important when you are defining the type of figure you are drawing. For example: if you were drawing a woman the hip/pelvis section would be as wide as or wider than the shoulder section. In the case of a man the shoulders are wider than the hips. Of course this is very important when drawing fantasy creatures. You would play with this relationship of hips and shoulders to define the male/female aspects of other creatures too. Look at my drawing carefully and try to mimic all the relationships in your drawing. Here is a breakdown of how the different sections size up.

  • Head - 1 segment in heightUpper torso - 2 segments in heightPelvis - 1 segment in heightLegs - 4 segments in height
  • Arms/hands - about 3 segments in height and about 3 1/2 if you include shoulders

A note about distortion of this shape: remember that when you draw fantasy creatures like elves,trolls, hobbits, goblins, gremlins and any other humanoid form you will distort these relationships. A goblins arms might be extra long or a trolls stomach might be extra big! Just keep this in mind. Remember: Draw your lines lightly and look at them, erase them, re-draw them, move them and continue looking at the figure. This process is how you will get better quickly. It is normal to erase and re-draw. If you look at your drawing and see that something doesn't look right you should be encouraged! This means that your eye is developing and you are improving as an artist.Let's continue with our lesson and start to fill in this fantasy knight figure!


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