Arms raised and extended
How to draw woman's arms for absolute beginners.
Using the sketches below I will attempt to demonstrate the proportions of a woman's arms in various poses with her arms raised and extended. In each of the examples, I first set out the points between the shoulder the elbow and the wrist. In this first example, the subject has both her arms raised and outstretched to her sides. She is of an athletic muscular build and is twisting slightly to her left. Notice the shape of her arm's as she has well-toned muscles which emphasise the shape of the bicep, triceps, extensor and flexor muscles giving the arm shape and definition. Note also how her right upper arm appears slightly longer than her left, as with her forearms also. This is because the subject's body is orientated slightly away from the viewer and therefore her proportions will be slightly different as her perspective is altered slightly.
In all of these sketches, I have put marker points to help you understand the proportions of the arms in relation to their position on the woman's body. I have divided each point between the shoulder, elbow and wrist into equal parts so that it will be easier to understand the distances between each joint depending on the position of the arm. In all these figurative sketches the subject is of an athletic build so it is important that you show the shape of each muscle of the arm.
In this sketch the subject is standing on one leg with her right arm extended; to touch 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 is turned slightly showing the curve of the extensor muscles as they stretch over the forearm 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 is more prominent. This is because when a subject has less body fat and larger muscle groups their joints will appear slightly more emphasized.
Note the proportion of the arms. Her right upper arm which is extended to hold her foot appears slightly longer than her left. This is because she is turning her left arm slightly toward you thus masking its 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 again is longer than the other. Her right arm is also bending slightly back at the elbow causing the forearm to appear shorter.
In this sketch, the subject is sitting with her hand placed upon her knee. she is leaning back and turning slightly toward you causing her arm to bend slightly at the elbow, thus shortening the appearance of the upper arm and forearm. Her bicep is clearly visible and is more rounded in appearance as it is being contracted 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.