How to draw legs for absolute beginners.Anatomy-figure drawing.
Before I begin this tutorial I will attempt to briefly describe the leg.
The leg is made up of two basic parts. The upper leg which consists of the quadriceps which as the name suggests are made up of four separate muscles called the Rectus femoris, the Vastus intermedius, these two muscles form the V shape that can be seen 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.
The lower leg consists of the Soleus which 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 which is a two headed muscle with one head originating from the lateral aspect and the other from the medial of the lower femur. Both heads overlay the Soleus and join with it to insert into the Achilles tendon, which inserts into the shin bone. Its basic function is also to flex the foot. The Tibialis anterior which runs up the front of the lower leg is also used to flex the foot.
There are 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. but as with my tutorial on arms I prefer to use artistic license and believe that you can roughly judge the legs in relation to the rest of the body to suit the desired pose. We are all pretty good judges of what looks right or not and none of us are perfectly symmetrical but as a general rule of thumb, if you are using the 8 head method as demonstrated in my Beginners guide to drawing the female body the legs generally come in around the 5 heads mark with the groin area being at approximately 4.5 heads.
The sketch's below are of a three leg types and 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 on the three examples the shape of the leg depends on the subject.
In the first example the person is of a normal build so the shape of the legs appear smooth with no defining shape around the muscle groups.
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.
However in the third example the subject is of a very muscular build which can easily be seen in the shape of her legs which show clear shaping and definition to each muscle group.
Below are three more sketches to give you an idea of how the legs will look when viewed 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 sketch's and explanations.