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Female figurative art. The female body.

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How to draw the female body for absolute beginner's.

The wire frame or stick man method.

I am writing this tutorial as a learner myself so if you have never put pencil to paper before, do not despair because if I can do it I'm sure you can. I'm not an accomplished artist and the main reason I am doing this is because it has always been something I have wanted to accomplish and also to help my 14 yr old son
who is showing promise as an artist and has developed an interest in cartoon caricatures and Manga.

Stage 1:

In order to get a basic idea of how to proportion your drawing/sketch you will first need to use a sheet of A4 lined paper that you will use as a guide under your blank sheet of drawing paper as shown below.
I will use this method for now as it is simple and makes the process of proportioning your subject easier to understand. You may need to use a black biro/pen and a ruler to go over the lines on your guide paper so that they are more visible for the next stage. Once you are happy that the lines of your lined paper are dark enough you can place a sheet of blank A4 paper over the top of it. If after going over your lined paper with a biro your lines are still not visible enough through the paper try moving the top layer slightly to one side so that you can see them. By using a ruler you should be able to project your lines onto the blank sheet and follow the steps below.

Tip: Another way to set out your drawing is to use a Drawing board as some of these have pre set rulers on their edges. If you do not have a drawing board and depending on where you live please see the available items to purchase in the tool bar to the right.

Next draw a light line down the centre of your blank page using a ruler and then divide the line into equal parts. I  made a mark 4 lines down from  the top of the page which will be my start point. then counted every 3 lines and continued to mark the page until I had 8 equal parts. It isn't compulsory that you use an A4 sheet of paper. You can use any size you like, Just make sure you divide your line into eight equal parts.

Setting out the female body proportions

Stage 2:

The head. Firstly draw an oval with its narrower end at its base in the first space marked 1. Don't worry if it isn't perfect, as we are beginners.

 Setting out the female body proportions 1

For now we will be setting out the general positioning of our female body.

Stage 3:

Setting out the shoulders.  I am going to set out my points for the shoulders starting about 1/3rd of the way down space number 2. To do this I am going to draw a horizontal straight line across my centre line.  At the end of the line I am going to draw a small circle approximately one head width from the centre line to designate the shoulder joints. Try to take into account the fact that although not in all cases a woman's shoulders are usually narrower than a mans. Using the end of your pencil to check, make sure they are spaced equally apart. It is important that we get this bit right as the shoulder width will be used to designate the width of the hips later.

 Setting out the female body proportions 2

Stage 4:

Set out the centre of the chest at approximately 1 head; lower than the chin. The way I prefer to do this is to imagine a capital D and use the line I have drawn for the shoulders as the back of the D and then  join the two points for the shoulders with the front of the D. The naval will be roughly at the bottom of section 3.

 Setting out the female body proportions 3

Stage 5:

The hips and Groin
The hips need to be about 1/2 way between the naval and the groin area which will be 4 head lengths down the body. When setting out the hips make sure they are positioned inline with the shoulders.

 Setting out the female body proportions 4

Stage 6:

Legs.
The legs are fairly easy to set out. If you imagine that the point at 5 heads down is approximately the centre of the thigh. The point just above 6 heads down is the knee joint. The point at 7 heads is the centre of the shin/ calf muscle and the point at 8 heads is the top of the ankle you can line in roughly the centre of the leg. Remember to position the leg taking into account that the hip point is the widest point. This means you will need to position your point for the top of the leg slightly in from the hip to allow for the width of the leg. See below. (See also Leg tutorial)
 Setting out the female body proportions 5                  Setting out the female body proportions 6

Stage 7:

Arms. Again the arms are fairly easy to set out. Pick a point around the naval area at 3 heads down and mark where you want the elbow to be. Next pick a point around the thigh area about half way between the 4 and 5 heads mark and mark where you would like the hands to be. Line in roughly the centre of the arm the same as you did with the leg. See above. You now have your basic wire frame or stick man.

Next, Roughly sketching the body out line.