F'amOU5 Artists Coulrse

Fcmous Artists Schools, lnc., Westport, Connecticut


A.lbert Dome

Fred' l.udekens

N~orman Rockwell

A.!I Porker

Ben Stohl

Jon Whikomb

Robert FawceH

Austin Briggs


. Printed in U.S.A.



lien Stahl drewlhis figure as a preliminary study forlha composilion shown above. After he hod establi.hed the basic ccticn, proportions and construction you see in this. drowing he drew the <lothing around Ihe solid form. of the underlying figure s, That is why the figures ate so convindng.

The finished painting done from the sketches on the opposite pag:e wos reproduced in CQ5'mopolilon cs you see it above.

The artist who wi hes to achieve wide popular success must be able to draw the human figure. There are, of course, comrnercial artists and mal).y gallery artists who never seriously attempt to draw the figure. They are content to restrict themselves to product illu .tration and decorative design, on the one hand, or to landscapes and still life on the other. But few serious artists are wiIling to limit themselves to that extent.

Go through a representative group of magazines, and you will see that there are few drawings which do not include people. ]11 mo t story illustrations the accent is on people - their action, their emotions. The reason for this emphasis is easy to understand. Since we are human beings, we are more interested in our fellow human beings than in anything else. \'\Ie want to know how other people look, feel, move, and act. Popular magazines are designed to satisfy this natural curiosity.

Even the advertising i llustrations in these magazines usually include people. Advertisers have discovered that figures, no matter how small, are able to "stop" the reader. Figures also help demonstrate the product, pointing om its chid features and

howi.ng how it is used, which may lead the reader to accept it.

It is eternally true that there is no other vehicle so subtle or so effective for the expression of human thought and emotions as the human figure. The artist who has mastered drawing of the human figure can call human per analities to life at -wrll, and depict the specific attitudes, actions, mood, and emotions which will best express the picture story he wants to portray. He can transport the reader to a world far removed from immediate experience, and enable him to live, momentarily, an imaginary existence with imaginary people. The great artists are dramatists in paint, who consistently help their fellow men bridge the gap between imagination and. reality. H you hope to become that kind of artist, you must learn to control the human figure for your own purposes.

From previous experiment , you may have concluded that drawing the figure is an extremely difficult job. We are going to show you that it can be much easier than you think. But you


must be willing to progress one st'ep at a time. mastering each step as you go along. If you are patient, and follow very carefuIly the procedure presented in this and the following lessons, you will find that your progress will amaze you.

The chief reason most students have trouble mastering the human figure is very simple: They want to start right off by drawing ia fully clothed model in a complicated po e. They spend a great deal of time worrying about details of features, anatomy, and drapery, But in their concern about these detail.s they lose all ense of proportion, con truction=- and most of all, the solid form or the figure.

There is only one ound way to approach the problem of drawing the human figure. You must begin by having a very dear concept of its basic [oIm .. The human body is not a twodimensional symbol on a flat urface: nor is it a paper doll with such decorative details as hair, eyes, teeth, clothes, shoes, etc., drawn on top of it. The human figure is first and primarily a three-dimensional object, a solid object with bulk. and weight. It is certainly as three-dimensional asa piece of sculpture in wood, marble, or bronze.

The solid form of the human body looks complex. his obviously not a single sphere or cube or cylinder. But when we examine it we discover that this complex form is actually a construction of very simple forms. These simple forms are closely related to the spheres and cubes and cylinders you learned to recognize and draw in Lesson 2. H you can draw those forms well, you win have no difficulty putting them together to make the total. human form.

In this lesson we will show you how to analyze the human figure in terms of these simple, basic forms. "\Ie will show you what the proportions of these individual forms are, in relation to the total form, We will illustrate the methods by which these individual forms are connected, and demonstrate how the parts move. In other words, we will explore the basic can truction of the figure. Then we will show you how you can draw this basic human form in any position and any kind of activity. 'Ne will also explain how the form changes as it develops from child into adult, and show you how to draw it at different stages.

Once you have learned to control the basic form, the rest will be fairly simple. But don't give in to temptation and rush right on to attempt sketches filled with anatomical details. In the following les ons we will study simple anatomy and the special problems involved in drawing individual. parts of the body such as the head, the hands, and the feet. Concentrate for the present on the basic form figme until. you can do anything you want with it. Draw it in as many positions as possible. Look for it in photographs of people, paintings, and above all in the people you see around you.

The information presented in this lesson is a important that it is not enough for you merely to read it, 'Ne suggest that you learn every detail thoroughly. you can do this most effectively simply by making dozens of drawings, both while you are study. ing this lesson and afterward, in your spare time. fast of these practice drawings can be done in just a few minutes. Practice of this kind will help train your hand and your mind in the pro· portions, construction, and relationships of the individual forms so that you will never forget them.

The e essential facts about the human form are as basic and invaluable to you, as an artist, as the knowledge of words is to the writer. You will be drawing the human figure the rest of your life, so build your knowledge and control of it as solidly as you can, You win find the rewards well worth the effort.


he human figure i a olid form. t ha bulk and weight. a a rock has bulk and weight. The figure has depth and thickness a well as height and width. It exi t in three dirnen ion.

In the front and rear views of the walking tor 0 above. the culptured form has all the olidity and rna of a living figure. Looking at either view, we feel that the other side of the form i there even though it doe not show. he olid, simple form exi t 0 convincingly in depth that we know we have onl to walk around the figure and we will see the other side.

Whether the ani t constructs the human bod out of clay or stone or draw it on a flat urface, he rnu r always think of it

The terms we use

You will find 'thal Ihe lerms explained below are used frequently in ,hi. and the following I"",onl, 01 well o. in our letlen of crilici.m. Study the definilions carefully, ond refer bock 10 thern 'from time '10 time if nece .. ary.

Drawing through: The glo .. 01 Ihe leh ho. been "drown I'hrough 10 the 01 her side"; all Ihe slructural lines tan be seen. In the some woy. you must sketch in 011 "tne ,tru,lural lines. when you ore dlowing 0 solid, opaque object, whelher you can adually see Ihem or not.

three-dimensional': The .quare 01 Ihe immedial .. lef1 hal only Iwo dimeMliono - heighl and widlh. To make obiects s.eem three-dimensioncl, you mU$f 0150 draw in depth. o' .hown in Ihe thr ee-dirnensiono] cube 01 the for leh.

Construction v-s , outlining: An obi""1 Ihol is "well constructed" ho. depth, en well a, height and width. If we .ay Ihot Ihe COMtruclion of your drawing is bod. we will mean either' Ihol you hove merely 2.!!!.: ~ your formo, forgelling oboul deplh, or you have mode mi$la~e, in Ihe basic slruclurol line s,

W.lking Torso M •• K.li,h. A.N.A.

as a three-dirnen ional object. Paper lack the third dimension of depth, but we can till reate the feeling of depth in the figure we draw on it. The be t way to do thi is to "draw through" the olid forms of the body. The e are all basi.c forms. 'l\Te can ee sorne of them - mo lified cylinder - in the cut-off neck, arm , an I leg of the tatue.

If you draw the ba i figure imply a a flat outline, all you are likely to produce is a flat-looking figure. But if all think of, and draw, the irnple olid form as they actual! exi t in depth, you will be well on the way to creating figure that come to life on paper. lway remember: he figure i a olid form.

P,rapartlDnsl Each .eporDte form in Ihe drawing at the exlreme lef1 i. prop"rly propor1ioned, bul Ih .. different" forms ate not properly "related" 10 eeeh 01 her. The upper arm ondthe lower arm ore drawn in a scole quite different from the one used in drawing' the torso. Moke sure Ihol Ihe individual form, have the right proporlions; also moke sure thor when Iho.e form. are pul I0geth.r they have th" proper r lation,hip 10 eoch other, a. in the drawing ot Ihe imm"di"te lef+,

M.odified ,cylinder.: The cylinder 01 Ihe forlefl i. a geometric object. perfectly regular in shape and propor ions. The tap"red cylinder nexl to il i. "" .. nliolly Ihe some bosic cylindrical form, but the ,hope ho. been modified .Iighlly. Thi. is whol we colla "modified cylinder."

Fore,hortenillg, When on objed i, lipped loward you or owoy from you~ it is said to be "Foreshcetened.tl It seems to diminish in size and change in .hop. as il goes, bock. In the case of Ihe cylinder, noticelhot Ihe sid.s become shorler and Ihe ellip,e. more open as the foreshortening is increo$ed.

T.hebasic form figure


Ihe dr·awings ,in ,this le •• on tlhrough IPage'14 are ,e •• entia'lly diQlgrarns. Iheir main purpose is to show you t!'e solidity Df the human Ii,gu.e and to encourage you to otways tMnk of it ,in th,ro"e-dimen.lonal terms.

We do not wa,nt you to ~opy the rother pre'che lines in the$e diagrams wlhen you' make your own dr-cowing s, Insteud, we wan" you to use the same kind' of freedom you see in the dora,wing5 starting on Page, 15,., Remem'ber that y,our drawl'ngs :should1a1Ilways, Ibe weill Ipr'opofflo:[led ,and ,<on,.t,rud·, ed, but at the same .ime reflect y,gur ,own personality - iust ,as the dr,awing" o'n !>ages 26-21 .. eflect the personalities o,f the men' who made them.

The drawing at the right shows yOll the simple basic forms that make up the larger form of the human body. Every distracting dera il ha been eliminated - only the important forms remain. These are the head and neck; upper tor 0 and lower torso; upper arms, lower arms and hands; upper legs, lower legs and feet. Think of each form of the figure as if it were carved out of something solid. Don't forget that form has three dimensions and that it occupies space.

Let's compare the form figure with the photograph of the living model to the left. Are the model and the basic form figure similar in basic mass and constructjon, with the same association of parts? Yes. In both model and form figure the neck, the arms,

the legs, and the torso are essentially modified cylinders, similar to those you drew in Lesson 2. The head is basically a simple sphere. The hands can be reduced to cubic forms. while the feet are combined ~ and 9!..!K forms.

It is extremely important in the beginning to view the body in term of these simple, ba i forms, understanding the essential ~ of the separate part, and placing these in their proper proportions and relation hips. For the present you must ignore hair and features, as well as the more subtle curves resulting from underlying bone and muscular structure. Once you can control and draw the basic forms properly, you will have little trouble drawing the details of thee forms.


Drawing the human form

Famous Artists Course

1 The head is the beslc unil by whith the ligu"" is meosured. In the he[]d~unif "ruler" obeve, the vertic:al height of the heod i, used to make ver+iccl measure.

menrs of the body. Thus We soy thaI the model 01 the righl is a "seven-heed" ligure.

2 This model is a men of aver'age height and good phy-

, sicol development. His I'olal height is seven limes the height of his h .. od. If you ran into him accidentally in real life you would censlder him well-propartioned_ Yet when we draw him on pe per, as the silhouette demonstrates. he seems to be much broader and .tock,;er then most Americans think ,the "ideal" man should be,

3 In the ideal 'hgur,ethe body is eight, limes the height , of the head. os we hove diagramed above. Nolke thaI although the I2!2l heighl of this eight-head figure is

the same oS that of the seven-head ligure 01 Ihe left, the size of the heed hal been reduced in the eighlhead figure. All Ihe ether porls of the figure heve been elongaled proportionately. so that the figure now u,emo olim end graDeflJl.

1. Proportions

The artist u e the human head as hi ba ic unit of mea mement for the entire human figure. The head can b viewed in two way, however - in term of its height, and its width. The height of the head from hin to top of kull i the ruler by which all vertical measurement are made. For example, the artist speak of an "eight-head figure." by which he means that the figure i eight veni al heads high. It is more onvenient to use th width of the head in making horizont I measuremen t. he hou lder for in ranee, are three head width aero .

If you look at the people around you in real life, you will see that they differ con iderably in proportion. One man ha a head which we think j large for hi body. another ha a head whi h eem maller than normal. he great majority of P opl , however, are rea onably imilar in proportion and hape at any given age. It i because of this fact, of cour e, that it i po ible for clothing manufacturer to de ign "ready-made" suits and dre e. Mo t people can be fitt d into standard pattern SLIC-

e fully wi th only min r ad j u tments.

On this bas i we could easi ly arrive ,H average proportions for the adult figllre. There i a di tin t difference, hoi ever. between the "average" and the "ideal." rti t have alwa .ought to Ii cover the llk.a.l. the perfect figure. he -reek culpiors, for example, established a "canon" for the human figure. hi· canon wa a set of proportions for the ideal figure. In the same way later arti ts, uch as Leonardo and Durer, et up their own anon of proportion for the idea I figure. J n man re pe t the concept of the ideal change from nation to nation. and from period to period. The hefty, voluptuou beauties of the Ruben murals were much admired in their da , when women were

on idered beautiful only if they had monumental proportion ..

Today popular ta te ha wung in the oppo ire d lrection.

ince we are attempting to draw people who will eern handsome and beautiful to the average per on of today, we mil t set

up a canon of proportion based on pre ern-day ta teo hi

anon need not nece aril be the arne a the measurement of the present-day average man or woman. In the photograph 011

Lesson 4

Famous Artists Course

Drawing the human form


Here the eigM-head "gure i. pre.ented in basic form, a. Seen from side, front, Ihree-quarler franl, and three-quarter bock views_ Study the relotionship of the different parh of the figure, noticing how they are balanced an 'he vertical a"i s.

the oppo ite page, the model is a well-developed male of average height. He i a" even-head figure." People roda , however, do not consider a even-head figure tall enough to ari f their con-

ept of the ideal. The prefer the eight-head figure, which they feel i hand omer ami more elegant. It is therefore the eighthead figure which is u .ed in modern illu tration,

On the right-hand side of the facing page you will ee how the eight-head figure looks. 0 make thi figure the same height a the even-head figure we divide the height into eight parts. One of the e part serves as the basic head measurement unit.

fter drawing in the head, we po ilion the other part of the body along the verrica Ii. The body alone. (rom neck to feet. now mea lire ~ head unit, in read of ix. The part are all slightly elongated becau e of this, and a a re .ult the figure seems much better proportioned.

The eight-head figure i today considered the "ideal." It is this set of proportion which we will expect you to follow throughout the Course, unless we specifically request different proportions. Occa ionally yOll will want to draw people who are obviou Iy not average. If ou want to cari ature a per on, or show that he j horter than averag or taller than average, you can

do this very ea ily by retarmng the arne width mea urements u ed to draw the eight-head figure, but reducing the height to five or six heads, or increa ing the height to nine or ten heads, However. any departure from the eight-head formula should be deliberate. The drawings above how you how the eight-head ba ic form figure looks in different views.

Rely on your eyes for correct proportion. The head a a unit of measure is convenient and helpful while you are fir t learning figure proportions. You must realize, though, that you do not make figure drawings with a pair of dividers or a ruler. You make them with your pencil and your eye I ctually, the only lime YOll can literally mea ure the body and see how many heads long it j ,i when the figure i tanding bolt upright, in a position of attention. ny other time - whi h means most of the time - the figure or part of it are fore hortened to some extent. Therefore, the only way to gauge proportions i with your eyes. If it looks right it is right. By all means study the chart above and fix in your mind the size of one part of the body compared with another. but put your ruler awaywhen you stan to draw. Never forget for a moment that skillful drawing is simply killful eeing, transferred to the urface of our paper.


Famous Artists Course

Up to this point we have presented the male figure proportions exclusively. The female figure is constructed in the same manner, following the eight-head formula. Important differences between the male and female forms are considered on this page. In the lesson on anatomy we shall go into these differences in more

Siudy 'he diagram. cbeve, tampo.ing tne mole a"dlemolelorm. point by' polnt, Notioe .hat Ihe man', shoulders ore fully Ihre" head. wide; Ihe woman', are' much nerrewer, 0" the ether hcnd, the mo,,', hips are' much narrower thon hi, .houlde .. , while I~e woman', are aboul the same width cs her own shoulders, The woman', shoulder '01,0 lope. much more than the men's, Herormo, w.;.'15, and

.r=> .

..... ( ,

'~ LLt'

..... , /'

" ,,'"

_' ..... '



Comparing I" e hip structure in man ClOd woman: Th", female, hip" are' broader Ihanlhe male, a"d where he, le-g' ,join her body there i> a much sharper ang:18.

detail. Both figures are shown the same height in the illustrations below in order to make direct comparisons. [orrnally the woman is drawn slightly shorter than the man beside her. To do this, using the eight-head formula, you should construct her with a smaller basic head measurement than the man.

linsersore smaller and thinner than the man's, end her lower leg. taper 10 thinner ankles, .. nd .malle, feel. The female breasts are two simple "oll-spheres, the botlom ,line' of which is ebeut one-third of 'Ihe wo,y down hom the top of .he .houlder to the crotch. The mole', nipples ore pleced obeut two, h"ad-Iength. 'lrom Ihe top 01 hi, head. Tihe Ie mal e ni pplescre slig "Ily lewe r.


Ihe wama" ha. a narrower ..... 1.1 Ihaolhe man, end

• he 'a"gl'e fTom the wai.t '10 the widest point of the "i'ps ;. much sherper in the ... oman', ,figure.

The upper thigh is clearly much thicker in the woman_ :Nalt,e l'hol the cuter curve Irom war.t to knee i • much more prominent than if i,5, in the male.

IRe,lclltiive p1ropo,rtioln,s at variiou.s ,ages

'\I hen a child is born, some pan of its body are much further developed than others. It head, for example, is quite large as compared with the length of its arms and legs. By the time the baby is a year old, his body from neck to feet is about three and one-half time the length ol his own head. In other words, he i about four and one-half heads high. His legs are still quite short compared to the length of his head and torso; the center of his


body is at a line through the stomach, rather than the crotch.

As the child grows older his legs and arms become much longer. By the time he is eight, the center of his body has moved down to a line above the hips. t the age of twelve, he is about seven heads high, and the center of hi body falls at the crotch. From this time on, until he becomes a full grown adult, he broadens out in addition to becoming taller.



Thi. diagram is in't'ended 10 show you Ihe,elolive heigh I of children 01 vorieus age" a, <am pared ..... lth Ihe adull figure. The horizontal line is drown 10 indicate Ihe ten' .. r of Ihe figure. Notice how the <en ter line move. down from a position on Ihe lower che .. of the one-yeor-ald, until it reoches the crotch when the figu.e is fully developed. Nolice also thaI Ihe leg. ond arms grow much mere I'han any a'the, port of the body, while the heod ,i%e <honge, quite slowly.

The one-yeor-old' mu.t be measured in terms 01 Im...5!:tm MruI, 01 ecurse. Using this head size a. a me(uu.ing unit, he is about four and cne-hol] heads high. Study Ihe poin'" at which the head meesuremenrs loll on the' various port. cfthe body so' you con g,,,e them the right proportions.

By Ihe lime the' child is eight years old, the head ha, grown somewhat larger. The eight-year-old can then be considered .ix and one-qucrter heads high. Always remernber that therei. no ~. he,ad me,nuremenl;each figure must be mecsured in .erm. 01 its own head size.





Iheselhree diagrams .haw you some important points about the relati¥e' proportion. of the adult figu'e'. Notice, ct the lefl, .ha,t a line drawn across the crotch divides 'the whole figu,,, in half_ In Ihe center diagram, a line drawn aero .. the nipple. and iU$! below Ihe armpit, divide. Ihe upper port 0'1 .he figure in half. At the right, you see .hal a line drewn across the knees divide. the lower port oflhe figur,,, in half.

The' head of a child'wel"e yea,. old hes again grown, and we meesure Ihe new figure in terms of .he new head size, The u.ual 'lwelve-year-old i. about s"ven heads high_ The center of the figure is now a' Ihe crotch. from.h,. lime en, all body part. develop at about Ihe some 'role.


Famous Artists Course

Drawing the human form


In Lesson 2 we explained how helpful it i to reduce ill object to their simple ba ic form of cube. cone. phere, or cylinder. Thi an be done even when the object seem quite complicated. On the e page we will demon trate how to think of the tor o. arms. and leg a modified cylinder, the hands and (eet a cubic hapes, and the head as a imple phere. If you can draw the ba ic form you tudied in Lesson 2. you can draw the human bod

2. Construction

1 The human torso is essentiolly two form. ioined together on a fle~ib'le .• pine which permits movement in 011 directiens. The upper form is approximately twice a., high 05 the lowe r.

2'. In order to vi.ual'ize the relation.hip of these· two forms, g.eltwo ordinary tumblers, one Iwice as high as Ihe

other. Like these twa glaSle., Ihetwo forms of the human terse are essentiaUy simple cylinden_


3 This Is the way we would draw these . two simple glon cylinders, iUIIO .• you learned in l.e sson 2. If you think 01' Ihe

glos.es as Ihe upper and lower portion. of Ihe 10"0, and draw the gla .. es Ihrough, you will have no trouble visualizing the to rs o itself.

,4 In thls drawing you lee how ·the two port. of Ihe torso fil in.;delne two glosse.. The torso form. look convincingly Ihree-dimenolonal becouse they occupy Ihe volume of spcce you have created by drawing the glan cylin. den Ihrough 10 the other side.

Think of the twop"rl. of Ihe 10 rs 0 as litting inside the glosses. By <hanging the relationship of the glosses, you ce n then imagine the torso in any pasilion. Drew through the gloss ellipses to creole a three-dimensionel volume of space, and then draw the solid terse through in >ide this spa"". If you follow this procedure you will find it eesy 10 visualize and draw the terse even in twilling or foreshortened poses.


The leg

The upper and the lower leg arc both modified cylindrical forms of approximately equal length. You can visualize these two forms very easily inside the cylinders of the drinking glasses. By arranging the two tumblers in different positions and studying the ellipses in the glass you 'will see how the ellipses of the leg forms should look. Until you arc completely sure of yourself, this approach will be of great help, especially when you arc drawing the leg in foreshortened poses.

The arm

he upper and the lower arm are both modified cylinders very similar to the upper and lower leg. The chief difference is that the arm and leg are hinged so that they bend in opposite directions. The cylinders in which the arms and legs are constructed are much narrower and longer than the cylinders which enclose the two forms of the torso, but otherwi e they are much like the torso cylinders. You will find it very helpful to use drinking glasses in visualizing and drawing all these forms.




Lesson 4

IDrawing the hum'Qlln form

Famous A,rtists Course

The' hOlndi

The hand. like the Ioot, cannot be reduced to a single basic form quite as easily as can the other pans of the body. However. it may be interpreted for the present as a combination of simple forms which represents the real hand with reasonable accuracy.

t the left it istreated as a wedge-shaped form divided into two sections. The upper. broad section of the form symbolizes the palm; the lower .• tapering wedge suggests the mass ofthe fingers. The wedge of the palm, viewed alone. is a nearly perfect sguare. The finger wedge is about as long as the palm wedge. The visible part of the thumb is about the length of the little finger. This simplified presentation of the hand will serve for our basic form drawings. Later. in Le son 6,. we will di cuss the form and structure of the hand in detail.

The Ioot has the same essential structure as the hand. with the important difference of proportions. It is approximately as long as the head is high. The upper portion of the foot can be reduced quite logically to a cone that has been cut off at the point where the top of the foot meets the ankle. This cone is not symmetrical; the back rises almost straight up. while the Iront is quite slanted. The toe form and the entire sole of the foot are best considered a thin cubic form. This approach to the foot will erve for your present drawings. The important tiling now is to realize that it is a solid. three-dimensional object. You will study the actual foot in detail when you reach Lesson 5.


Famous Artists Course

Drawin'gthe human form


The head

Of all the part of the human body, the head i undoubtedly the most important from the viewpoint of the artist. III later lessons we will make a thorough study of the head and how to place and draw the features and the hair. For the pre ent, however, it is extremely important for you to think of the head only in terms of its essential solidity and mass, and keep the fealUres quite simpl.e.

The basic form of the head is a sphere - actually, more of an egg form - set on the cylindrical column of the neck. The no e and ears are not part of the basic egg form: they project from the surface.

At the right we explain the placement of the features and show their relative positions as seen [rom the front and from the side. otice that the egg head is slightly different in the side view and that it i tilled.

If you slieed down through the center of the egg head (left), the knife would po ss through the center of the nose wedge and the egg would foil apart in two equol halves. If you slieed fhe egg horizontally (right) where the tap of the nese wedge meet. the e9.g, you would again find you had sliced the ·egg in half. This demon •• ra.iM is intended "0 remind you that the human head i, a solid form. Think of it· that way - and .ketch it that way - in your basic form drawing.. Keep the features simple.


1 The head is an egg·.haped sphere with the na rraw end a' ,h .. boHam. It resls • .,curely on Ihe neck, which is a .hart cylinder. The

hori~ontal and vertical center lines are guide line-. lor plating, the 'e·olllrel.

2 The eyes Dre locate-.! on the horizonta I ten-

ter llne, Ihe eyebrow. an another line a litII .. higher. The nose extends fram ,hi. line halfwa.y to the· chin. Tap of eo,. lines up with brows, bottom wit h ba.e of na$e.

3 The hair extend. slig.htly out fram Ihe skull, and ·,he hairline run,s. dow" on ·Ih"far,ehead. The nose Is ·0 wedge shape· with plane •. The

e99 Is moGilied 00 it ha •• ide planes too.

Side view




I I I /






1 The form is wider at the top and narrower at the boltam than in the franl view. Note Ihat the egg shape h tilted, a.' .hawn by

Ihe diagonal line. The neck i. toward the back of Ihe head and .Iants forward.

2 Nose and eyebrows are located as described 01 the left. The ear is placed just ~ of the cenler of the head. The top i. level with

the brow, the bottom wilh the ba.., of the nose, Twa line. Indicote the moo.h - one .uggest. the mouth opening, Ihe other the bollam of Ihe lower lip.

3. The holr rise. above the .kull, the· haidine run. olong the lemple and toward the back of the heed, The jaw line curve. down from

Ihe ear. The ear. are solid forms.

3. Movable po!rts,

Important points at which motion occurs in the body are indicated by white dots on the figure at the left. The individual parts are connected by three distinctly different types of joints: 1) the ball-and-socket joint. which appears at the shoulders and hips; 2) the hinge joint. found at the knees and elbows; and 3) the Ilex.ible column, a term used to describe the spine and the neck. The action of the first two of these joints is illustrated on the opposite page.

Each of the e joint varies considerably in the type of motion it allows. The ball-and-socket joint is extremely flexible. The part of the body attached to it can be swung around or back and forth in every direction - just as though it were attached to a ball revolving in a socket. However, the amount of motion depends on the construction of the individual joint. Although not balland-socket joints. the wrist and ankle joints permit similar rotary movement.

The hinge joint at theelbow and knee works much like an ordinary door hinge. h allows the forearm to swing forward and the lower leg to

bend backward and then to rever e these movements until each limb is back in a straight line again. However, it does not permit the forearm or lower leg to bend sideways. Try these movements yourself and observe the different ways the ball-and-socket joints and the hinge joints work.

The third kind of joint is the flexible column of the spine. This connects the upper and lower halves of the body. The pine is involved in any motion which requires shifts in weight .. such as walking, running, and jumping. Since i.t is highly flexible, it permits not only a turning motion in all directions but also a twisting motion throughom its entire length. The upper part of the spine is in the neck, which controls all motions of the head.

The diagrams on this page are intended to remind you of the various possibilities which these three different joints provide. However, you can study the possibilities and limitations of motion in the human body best by experimenting to see how the various portions of your own body move. Test out these diagrams for yourself.

The tw.I.ling mollon between the upper and tile lower torso is e.Ntremely' importent tn Qlmo$'t every cction p05.e. You .hould .tudy it fo, yourself by nolicing the limitation. of this movement in your own body.

The .haulder and the hip joint. ore both ball-and-.o"kel ,olo'rjoln". bUI because of can.'ruc:1ion the shoulder joint h much more flexible than Ihe hip joint. Motion of the shoulder jo'int to .... ers a c;:.omp'ele ore, '0,$, you can see ... but motion of Ihe hip joint i. much more limrted.

The flexible column of the spine connects the uppel end lower halve. of the body. Beceuse of rhe way it is designed, it p,ermih more motion in some' directiens than in othen. These are Ihe :side·lo-.ide limi" of motion.

The sense of balance in Ihe human body i •• 0 well developed that when one parI reeches aul from the <)enl'ol cxi s, another port in,tinctively tend. to extend it.·elf to creore 0 new sf'ate 0': equilibrium. If .he arm reoches up, the lower leg will probably be lifted back to bolonce it

The s, pine and hip join" 0110 .... the upper part o·f Ihe body to bend ·forward until it is practically at right on9le. to ·the lower. The bock ..... old molion is more limited. The spine permits somewhat the some movement 05 H the upper lana we,.e mounted on a boll-and·socket· joint.

Ihis dio9ram .how. Ihe po ss ible backward movement of the arm and the forward movement of the leg. These two mctions 'are naturaUy c:usodotedt '05 are the 'two motions shown in the previous example'. Always take this metter of reciprocal b,,·lonce inloconsideration.

Lesson 4

Famous Artists Course

Drawing the human form


The ball-all1d-.50cket joint

The bell-end-seeker joint at the shoulde rs and hip. permits the arms and legs to be revolved or swung beck and forth in any direction_ These two kinds of motion are indicated by the two boll. in the diagrams_ Swing your arms and legs and compare the oeficn of the ball-and-sacket joint end the hinge joint, described below.



the hinge joint

The hinge joint, shown by 0 block disk, allow. limited motion back and for-th. The hinge joint 01 th" elbow permit. the low"r orm form to bend forward toward the upper arm fo'm; backward motion is .topped when the two form. ore in 0 straight line_ The hinge joint of the knee enable. the lower leg form to bend backward reword the upper leg form; kneecop stops forward motion when both forms ore in c ,trgight line.


Lesson 4

Famous Artists Course

4. iPract'ical uses

Ithough the material on the foregoing page ha been pre· sented in a Factual, impersonal way, a though we 'were analyzing the construction of a dressmaker' dummy, our ultimate object is to create real, breathing, living people. If yOll have learned to think of the basi form in irnple three-dirnen ion I cy linder , cubes, and pheres, you are now read to take the much more exciting step of composing rhi form figure in action pauerns, The drawing shown on these two pages are done in exactly the mann r you have been studying, and very little attempt ha b en made even to ugge t anatomical. detail. But any one of these figures uld be develop d directly into a fini hed figure in an iJlu rration: The proportion and can [ruction are correct, and the various elements are properly balanced. The e figures have convincing 111a' and weight becau e each part has been drawn through in three dimension.



IRemember to vi$ualixe I~e vorious pari. 01 the Iorm figure in terms of the besle .imple form. 01 cy'lioder, cube', ond sphere.

R'eme,mber 10 USe ordinarygla ... , to help you aee how the ellipses look :'11 the ,imptecytinders cfthe upper and Ilower terse, the' upper and low"er crms, and the 'upper end lower le9"

IRem'embe' 1'0 Ihink ofthe head as on eg,g:.,hoped sphere,

R'e'me,mber 10 draw all forms t'h,o\lgh '10, the olher ,id'e.

I:f you fo,II'owthese Ipr,incip't'e.,,),OY' "",,III hillve' 'II pr'<I(:ti(<I'1 ''',ppr"a.h .'o, ,dev,,,,loping con,vinc:ing d'r,,"w· in9!5, '0.: "he Ihuman, 'figlll,e ilin 'Q(:ti:on.


Famous Artists Course


Drawing the human form

The drawings on the e two pages show you how to get started drawing the ba ic figure and head. Work freely at fir t, without attention to details or the exact placement of individual lines. Your first lines are impl "starters" - you u e them merely to suggest the ize of the figure and it pose. Once you ha e the e down, you can make the form more accurate.

Work in a rela ed, informal way when you ketch the figure.

Draw in pencil and don't he itate to era e and change. It' a mi . take to try to "freeze" or tighten up your ketch too quickly. Try to feel the action. bove all, keep the solidity of the form in mind and draw them through. Thi i the be t way we know [Q create the illusion of three-dimensional figure.

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rrr""' How t,o' draw the me,le basic: figulre

1 The lir,t sketch lines indicate the general posilion of the body and the "flaw of ocrion." There is no attempt ot solid form or detail yel. But we hove sugge'ted Ihe size of the figure and its general pose.

2 Over Ihe fir,I lines we now begin 10 sketch in the brood delails of the pose and the bosic figure forms. We draw each "arm .olidly, .0 that il really seem. 10 exi,l in deplh. Some line. ore erased and redrawn.

3 Now the figure form. have been sharpened with more accura1e lines and the figure is close 10 a reol humon form. After a li"le erasing, it will be reedy to be corried on toward 0 finished' drawing.

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How to draw the femcde basic figure

1 Sketch in loose, free-flowing lines to indicate the sizeand position of the figure, These lines don't have to be exact - most of them will be eevered up or era.ed o s Ihe drawing develop. toward Ihe finished slage.

2 Drawing freely over your fiut line., start 10 sugge.tthe bosic: figure forms. Decide such .hings Oli proportions, which way Ihe hip. lilt, which way the head is turned.

3 As you work, adjust the figure form. and de~ne them more clecr ly, Be sure to "draw them through" 05 solid forms. When you are .oti.~ed that your bo.ic figure is

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correct, you can draw in dothing and other detoils.



1 first indicole the modified egg ahcpe (.ee Page 13). Decide which way Ihe face is lurned - here we have a Ihree-quarler view - and indicate this by 0 vertical

center line which represents the center of Ihe face, and a horizontal line to locate eyes. Sketch in neck.

2 A lined a little 0hbaveh' "". eye. ondh enother dlineb holf. way own to I e c in g,ve you t e top on 011010 of the nese, Sketch in Ihe other fealures, locating the ear by the no." lines, Remember thai Ihe,e guide tine. go li!2..Iln.d. the solid form 01 the head.

3 Indicate Ihe hairline and the ,ide plane of the heod.

Then refine Ihe form, a lillie and erose your guide lines. Praclice drawing heads Ihis way - thinking 01 the large. simple solid lorm s. Don'l draw such smo] l detoils as eyela.he. - you will learn about them loter ,


' ess 00 4

Famous Artists Course

Drawing the human form

Developing' aln iiiU!ustration with basic form figures.-

lOne of he most etlective ortis.h in portraying the fogure in cetion ;, Alberl Oorne. He i, able 10 draw any Iype of perlon engaged in any kind of action becouse he begin' by visualizing the be,ic form, gild thi$ give$ 0 conviction and s.olidity to his figures. Whether you are drawing one figure or 0 group of figures. - whether you c+e doing a society porlroit or a cartoon establish the basic form font, and corry this through to the finish.

2 Once the bosic form and oction hove been wo« ed au' carefully, it is c comparatively .imple molter to clothe the figure. convincingly. Nolice that the lines 01 creo.es and fold. are de.igned to ·follow and emphasize Ihe bosic form, ralher thon centredk. it. Never fargel that the clothing i. merely a ,oft moleriol draped oyer the form; the underlying form determines the lines in the materiel.


Famous Artists Course

,Dra:wi;ng the Ihumanfo'r'1m


,4, Here i~ the illustr oticn Q~ .t appeared In c dve rflsernents for Hiram Walker. The figures. in the finished painting are ccnvincirrq chiefly becouse the form underneath the drawing is -sound, end thh boair Ior m corries through to the final ,tog".

You learn to d,raw by drawing

3 The third step is 10 add the light and shodow . which will make the form. more r,eali,tie. Notice that the modeling has been worked out very sfm-

ply, with the lights held in one pattern and the shcdows in another. The object, again, ho. been to k,eep the emphcsis on the form itsell, rather rhon confuse the eye with an undis.cipl;ned pottern of meaningle .. dark and light accents.

Courte:s.y Hi-ern Walker, Inc.


Good basic forms

help make

convincing illustrations

© The Curtis Publishing Co.

Tommy eorcoran's Washington ShenanigiUlS

The more reol Ihe figures in on illu.lro.ion look. the more solid and three·dimensionol i •• he bcsic form which underlie. delails of anatomy and clothing. In the paintings of

orman Rockwell Ihe 6g"re5 ore .0 convincing Ihat we reel we are 100 ing a. a scene from reol life. The arti.t could never achieve this effeci ,imply by copying down the ... rface appearance of people or things. His thorough knowledge of con.truclion enable. him to build hi. figure, three.dimensionally, .... ith ee eh detail assigned its proper place and given precisely the right emphasis. The drawings above .how the basic form, which underlie the fini.hed figures.

AI Porker i. noted for the economy and design 01 hi. picture s , He hOI leorned how 10 eliminate every deteil which is, not essential 10 0 de(orotive presentorion of the story ideo. Although he often work, in pctterns, and organizes both figure, and props into deceptively sienple compositional (He-(J5, he always. makes $,ure thoi the beslc form underlying his figure, is sound and convincing. The drawings show you the solid slructural form from which each of the, figure. in this illustration has been developed.

© The Curtis Pub I ish in", Co.

Courtesv Jcs. Schlitz Brewing Co.

The form Figure <0" be used to work out any posture or position you hove to drew - even unU5uoi ones lilke those .n this pointing by Austin Briggs. If you con draw Ihe ba,ic ngure with cssurence, you con tryout mony variations on a figure in a very short time.


AlberlDorne'. iIIu.tration, owe much of their vigor to the .killiul ... ay he poses his figure. and Ioreshortens them. The accompanying drawing. show how the bo.i'cr,gure can be used 10 work out problems like Ihose Oorne solved in making Ihis picture. By drawing through these figure" you can e,limale Ihe length ond direction of eech port 01 Ihe body ond moke the 'Figures look convindngly ,olid. After you have solved your book IIgure problems, you can eo.ily corry your sketch through to a reoli.tic illu,trolion by adding the necessary deloils.


Lesson 4

FcmOU5 Artists Course

Dr,awi.ng the human form

;NOR.MAN R.OC'KW£LL Rockwell show. almost incredible pe'lienee in the woy he work. oul every lost bit of detail in hi. pidure s. He develop. hi. forms with equal care. tn this f1nl.hed pencil drawing" nerlce particularly how sclld hb forms ore. When he added the clothing to these figure., you can see thai he drew it IlIl1.II..D.d the underlying forms, lor he never allow. delail 10 destroy the besle form. Each of these figure. appears 10 eJ<isl in three dimensions. For exornple, the girl stand. ~ the cal, the mother .tand. ~ of the girl.

Many Unes or few - but the forms are so,lid

These picture - each one by a different artist - val}' greatly in tyle and drawing technique. 11. however. have one thing in common. hey how that the e artists po e a thorough knowledge of the form of the human figure.

he artist's feeling for form is the main reason each one of the e drawings i convincing. , hether he portrayed hi ubject with ju t a few ketchy line or many pain takingly drawn detail, he u e I hi pen i I to create the j Ilu ion of solid form. he worked, he thought of his pen il a traveling around and along the solid form of the body, transferring it to paper. he result is that no matter how much detail he added, the underlying form of the figure how through.

ALBERT DORNE. The pencil lines of Albert Dorne'. drowing$ al,.,aY$ reveal hi$ mojor inlere.1 in Ihe jab - the Jl.S1i.2n of the form •. A. he drew, he obviou.ly Ihoughl of the boy's arms a. going around the dog's neck, the boy'. righl foot o. resling behind Ihe dog. He drew on a<"lion of form. in .pace rolher than flat .hopes on a flot .urfoce.

Courlesy Brooklvn Museum

PICASSO. Thi, drowing by one of the mo.1 original and v~rsatile -artists. of our lime shows c concenlraled interesl in the form of the head. lt is constructed with hundred. of strokes, long and s hort, th"t give it shope and thre e- dimen· .ionol being. The eye sockets aClually seem 10 be cuI bock into the' head, the nese .eem. to protrude from the front plone of Ihe foce.

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liEN STAHL. When Sen Stahl draw. the body, he make. hi. pencil follow over and around its three-dimeruloncl form •. Nolice how hi. line. give solid shope to the leg., buttocks, torso and arm s. Every .Iroke help. to describe she form.







AUS,TlN BRIGGS. A direct, deci.ivefigure drawing like this require. real knowledge 'of the 'farm of the figure. Only a srnol] number of line. are used - bul Ihey shaw Ihe dre.. fitting around the breost and thig hs, the left knee coming forward and Ihe righl leg going back.


Lesson 4

D'rawing the human form

Famous Artists Course

Seven artists draw ,'he same figure

Each of the drawing on (he e page was made by a different ani t working from the figure shown at the left. Here are two important point which YOll should gain from your rudy of these drawings and apply to your own work:

1. Each arti t ha drawn the figure in hi 'own personal way. He has u ed a style that i easy and natural for him.

2. Most important of all - each drawing clearly shows that the artist ha thought of the figure and drawn it as though it were made up of solid three-dirnen ional forms.

Because the feeling for form has now become a habit with the e artists. they no longer find it necessary to draw the arm. legs. torso, etc .• as separate cylinders. everthele s, their pictures dearly show they till think of them in these terms as they draw.

To make solid, convincing figure drawings, YOll must concentrate on learning the basic forms of the fiflure which we have carefully de cribed on Page 5 through 15. At thi tage of your training yOLl will benefit most by making drawings which are generally similar to those on Pages 16 through 23. you gain more and more experience drawing the e simple solid form, you will naturall and un on iously develop your own style.


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IDraw Ir,om Hie every chance you g,et



Lesson 4

Famous Artists Course

Drawing the human form

o matter how careful ou are in drawing the form figure. ou will ometime find that you have made mistake in con truction or proportion without realizing it. he drawing in this section how you the mo t ornrnon error. Keep the e pitfall in mind while making your drawing. and he k your fini hed work against these pages; you may di over mi take ou had overlo ked.

Don't get in the habit of mo ing your figure. 100 brood or 100 norrow. Remember that the heod form you are u.ing o. 0 measuring unit mud be correct in its proportions of height and width. If you use too brood or 100 narrow 0 h .. ad, as in the two drowingl 01 the right, above, the resulling figure will probably be too brood or loa narrow also. Remember perticulorly thai the Ihree-head measurement for Ihe upper body includes the shoulders.

Alway. remember Ihal ~ i. ",.Iremely important in depicting Ihe figure. If you are drawing a vertical figur .. r Ii e those obcve, astoblish a vertical a,.i. and balance the figure on Ihat axis. If the figure is drawn off balance, it must be supported against lome othet object, like a wall or a loble, or il will topple over.

The two sides of your figure shovld be alike in widlh a. well c s in height. Make sure Ihat you avoid Ihe lap.idedeff.ecl seen obove. II i. easy 10 check Ihis in .Iraighl front Or rear views; il i. more difficult if Ihe figur." is drown in 0 three-quarter view where foreshortening may be involved. Be c·ar,efut 10 avoid this kind of di.lortion.

The Iwo drawings 0'1 the'ight demonst,ote whot happen' when the prepartia.n. of Ihe individual paris of the body ate incorrect. Nolice Ihe wrong head .hape" Ihe long necks, the proporlions of terse as compared with arms ond leg s. It is quite Irue that people in real life do nol alway .• follow the' ideal proportions of the eight. head figureot the lefl; bul reo member thai you or .. drawing ideol form 'ligures now, and nol attempting 10 rnok e realislic copies ·o·f .ea'I·life models.

Lesson 4

Famous Artists Course

Drawi!ng the human form


Remember 10 drow the figure Ihrough. Think of the individuol form, 0, though they were tronsparent form, drown within rronspcren+ glau oylindert. Then you will be able 10 ovoid making "outline" drowing, without thr ee -dimeruionol solidity.

The three drowing' above show you Ihe right relationship belween the' upper ond lower pcrtions of the arm.

The drawing al the left show. the ideo I proportion. of the mole tono. Notice the width of the lower lono, ond the angle of the beveled plane where the '''g' fit on the body. In the drowing 01 the righl the lower lana i, more choraCleri,tic of th .. , female, with wide hip' and a ,harper angle where Ihe leg. are ottached. When dr'owing the male lorso don~t drow 0 mole upper ,t0f50 with a female lower torso.

Atlhe left you see the correct shape of the head. The widlh i s righl in relation to Ihe height. The other Ihree shapes are obviollsly incorrect. You should be careful 10 ovoid dislortion, 01 Ihis kind.

In Ihe,e three drawings the lower portal Ihe arm is much too lang 0' compared with the upper porI. Thi, misteke is particularly easy to make when the arm i s fore· .harlen ad; be corel ul 10 avoid Ih i s,

The drawing at the left iseorreet for the female terse. The shoulders and hip, are Ihe correct width, Ihe angle of Ihe plone. where the leg' ore ette ehed Is right, and the brecsts are correctly placed. The drawing et the right shows a larw which would be correct for the mole figure. with wide shoulder> and narrow hip s. Female brec sts are indicated. however, and Ihey have been placed 100 high.


__ .,.

Prelimil1t1ry sketch:: Mod illu5lralors .Iarl their sketches on tracing paper. Here, the bask figure forms begin to '10k,,, ,hope a •• he art;,1 draws directly over hi. lir.t .ketchy "action" line". Draw lightly a. Ii"t .0 you can easily remove unwanted line. with kneaded eroser.

Try,in9 new ,a,ng:re: Tear off the 'tracing .heet and turn your .kelch Ihis way and Ihot to see if " change in angle improve. +he action. 'In Ihi, case, leaning the "gure forward creotes a more con.in<ing feeling of motion. All you have to do is Iroce the fig~re in this new pose.

Checking fa:" 'el"'lOrs" Since you are working on tran'parenl paper it i. easy to turn it over and 'See your drawing in reverse. This often shows. up errors- in proportion or construction to which your eye hes become cccostemed.

Think with tracing paper

racing paper i often called the ani t' be t friend.

It is an ideal material for experimenting with picture idea - [or planning and perfe ting your drawing, whether of the human figure or any other subject. It's inexpen ive and pencil lines on it are easy to erase with a kneaded Tubber.

Occa ionally it tracing-paper sketch will become me y becau e of many erasures. 11 you have to do is slip the ketch under a dean sheet of tracing paper and trace off the lines you want. If YOll are working on an illu tration with everal figures, all an adjust their po ilion in relation to each other by drawing them on separate heets of tra ing paper and shifting these around till the figures look right. Then you can trace them on 11 ingle fresh sheet.

On the e page we how you orne wa s to u e tracing paper that we hope will make this material your be t friend, too.

IN'ew' shea,": If .. of-ter c numbel of erc sures, your drawing beeemes 'too smudged or cluttered, slip it under a cleon sheet of Irating paper. Now draw a new figur,e, U$ing your previous drawing 05 a guide. and selecting the portion. you wish 10 salvage.

IRefining the 'forms: Correct any erron revealed by .,eversing the picture. Re· verse it ogain for a double, check. Continue developing your dra .... ing to the degree of fini.h you wish. Then trace it down on illustration boord and complete lt,



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