Arms raised and extended
How to draw proportionate arms for absolute beginners.
This tutorial contains several different poses showing the female body with her arms raised and extended.
The sketches below demonstrate the proportions of a woman's arms when in various poses. In each of the examples, she has her arms raised and extended. To do this I first set out the points between the shoulders the elbow and the wrist joints. The first example shows the subject with both her arms raised and outstretched to her sides. She is of a muscular athletic build and twisting slightly to her left. Notice the shape of her arms as she has well-toned muscles emphasising the shape of the bicep, triceps, extensor and flexor muscles giving her arm's shape and definition.
Drawing with perspective.
Note her right upper arm that appears slightly longer than the left. The same applies to her forearms. This is due to the subject's body being orientated away from the viewer slightly. Therefore, her proportions are subtly different as her perspective alters slightly.
In all of the sketches, there are marker points to help you understand the proportions of the arms. This is in relation to their position on the subject's body. The points between the shoulder, the elbow and the wrist are divided up. The shoulder, the elbow and the wrist divide into equal parts to make it easier to understand the distances between the joints depending on the placement of the arm. In all of the sketches, the subject has an athletic build so it is important that you show the shape of each muscle group.
In the sketch, the subject is standing on one leg with her right arm extended to her raised foot. Notice the curve of the bicep and triceps muscles as they extend from under the shoulder to the elbow forming a long gentle curve. Her forearm turns slightly showing the curve of the extensor muscles as they stretch over it to meet the wrist. The flexor muscles are also visible, forming a gentle curve under the forearm. It is also useful to note how the elbow joint becomes more prominent. This happens when a subject has less body fat and larger muscle groups which make their joints appear slightly more emphasized.
Nude standing on one leg with her other leg raised
Note the proportion of the arms. Her right upper arm extends out to hold her foot. Her foot also has the appearance of being slightly longer than the left. This is because she is turning her left arm slightly toward you, masking the arms full length and giving the impression that her left upper arm is shorter. Also, note the length of her forearms. Again, the positioning of her forearms is creating the illusion that one is longer than the other is. Her right arm is also bending slightly back at the elbow causing the forearm to appear shorter.
Nude with hands on her knee
In this sketch, the subject is sitting with her hand placed upon her knee. She is leaning back and turning slightly toward you. This causes her arm to bend slightly at the elbow, thus shortening the appearance of the upper arm and forearm. Her bicep is more rounded in appearance and clearly visible as it contracts from the elbow. Her forearm extensors and flexors are also visible as she has her arm turned slightly to allow her to place her hand on her knee.