A beginners guide to drawing legs-life drawing, figure drawing
Female figurative art, drawing legs
Depending on the position of your subject and the angle from which you are viewing her you will find that the shape and overall perspective of the leg will change.
By adding a line down the centre of the leg and dividing it into equal parts I will try to demonstrate the effects that different poses have in relation to the length of the subject's legs. Also, note the angle of each line as this will help you understand and set out your own sketch. Please remember that this is only a guide.
In this first example of a kneeling nude, you can instantly see that her lower left leg appears shorter than her right. This, of course, is an optical illusion as there is no way her leg could have become shorter based purely on how she is posed. It is a good demonstration of how the proportion of the legs change depending on their position and how they are being viewed.
Notice also the shape of the leg in relation to the muscle groups. The front of her upper leg gently curves over the quadriceps and also on the back over the leg bicep down to the knee. From the knee, her shin to the front appears flatter, but there is a distinct curve over her calf muscles at the lower back of her leg.
In the next example, the upper left leg to the back of the picture appears shorter than the right. Notice again the shape of the leg in relation to the muscle groups. In this example, the subject is of a lighter build. Her upper right leg appears flatter as she is stretching her leg back slightly, her calf is more defined also as she is pointing her toes and tightening the calf muscle showing more of its shape on the back of her leg.
In the next sketch of a nude lying on her side, you can see that she is of a slightly heavier build, again note the shape of the legs in relation to her position. It is always important to take into account the position of the subjects legs in relation to the rest of their body. As demonstrated in these sketches. Once you start to bend the subject's leg and move the subjects position the proportions of the upper and lower legs change considerably making them appear longer or shorter depending on their placement.
In the next two poses of a squatting nude, each nude has her legs spread and they are positioned in such a way that despite them being slightly differently posed they both still appear equal in proportion. This is because you are viewing them front on.
Below are some more examples to help you understand the perspective and proportion of the legs when posed differently.
Notice the proportion of the legs when they are extended as in the standing pose and the nude lying with her leg outstretched. Also, notice the apparent shortness of the lower leg on the kneeling nude.