How to draw legs for beginners.
Female figurative art, drawing legs
In this simple tutorial on how to draw legs, I will show you examples of leg proportions in various poses.
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 legs will change.
By adding a line down the centre of the leg, then dividing it into equal parts I will demonstrate the effects that different poses have in relation to the length of the subject's legs when drawing them. This should give you a better idea of how to draw the 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.
How to draw a kneeling subject.
In this example of a kneeling subject, you can see that her lower left leg appears shorter than her right. This, of course, is an optical illusion.
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 leg changes when viewed depending on their position.
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 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 back lower part of her leg.
How to draw a subject with her leg stretched back.
In the next example, the upper left leg to the back of the picture appears shorter than the right. Notice 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, however, her calf has more definition. Also by pointing her toes, she is tightening the calf muscle showing more of its shape on the back of her leg.
How to draw a subject lying on her side.
In the next sketch of a subject lying on her side, you can see that she is of a slightly heavier build. When learning how to draw legs note the shape of the legs in relation to the position of the subject. It is always important to take into account the position of the subject's 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.
How to draw a squatting subject.
In the next two poses of squatting subjects, each subject has their legs spread. Each subject is slightly different and posed in such a way that they both still appear equal in proportion. This happens when a subject is viewed 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 extended, as in the standing pose and the subject lying with outstretched legs. Also, notice the apparent shortening of the lower leg on the kneeling nude.