Muscle groups of the leg. Drawing legs.
Before I begin this tutorial, I will attempt to describe briefly the muscle groups of the leg.
Muscle groups of the upper leg.
The leg has two basic parts. The upper leg consists of two basic muscle groups. The quadriceps, which as the name suggests are four separate muscles. These are the Rectus femoris, the Vastus intermedius, these two muscles form the V shape that is visible at the middle of the front thigh. The Vastu medialis or inner thigh and the Vastus lateralis, outer thigh. Their basic function is to extend and straighten the leg. The back of the upper leg is made up of the Biceps femoris or leg biceps along with the thigh flexors and other associated muscles.
Muscles and muscle function of the lower leg.
The lower leg consists of the Soleus that is the larger and deeper of the two calf muscles and functions to flex the foot. This muscle originates from both the tibia and fibula. The Gastrocnemius is a two-headed muscle with one head originating from the lateral aspect. The other from the medial of the lower femur. Both heads overlay the Soleus and join with it to insert into the Achilles tendon that inserts into the shinbone. Its basic function is also to flex the foot. The Tibialis anterior that runs up the front of the lower leg also flexes the foot.
What are the correct proportions when drawing the legs?
There are of course several theories as to the correct proportions of the leg in relation to the body. The most famous being Vitruvian Man, by Leonardo da Vinci. Nevertheless, as with my tutorial on arms, I prefer to use artistic license. We are all unique so technically there are no set rules or proportions, only basic guidelines. I believe that you can roughly judge the legs in relation to the rest of the body to suit the desired pose. We are also pretty good judges of what looks right or not. None of us is perfectly symmetrical but as a general rule of thumb, if you are using the eight head method as demonstrated in my Beginners guide to drawing the female body the legs generally come in around the five heads mark with the groin area being at approximately 4.5 heads.
Example of leg drawings.
The sketches below are of three-leg types. They are there to give you a basic idea of the muscle groups and how they look and add to the overall shape of the leg.
As demonstrated in the three examples the shape of the leg depends on the subjects overall body composition.
Normal body types.
In the first example, the person is of a normal build so the shape of the legs appears smooth with no defining shape around the muscle groups.
Athletic body type.
In the second example, the person is of an athletic build, so as demonstrated in the example her legs have slightly more shape and slight definition of the muscle groups.
Muscular body type.
However, in the third example, the subject is of a very muscular build. This can be seen in the shape of her legs that show clear shaping and definition to each muscle group.
Drawings of legs.
Below are three more sketches to give you an idea of how the legs will look. The three examples are views from the front, side, and back.
In the following pages, I will try to demonstrate and explain how the legs should look in your drawing using various sketches and explanations.