Proportions of the Human Figure : What is Meant by Good Proportions
Good / Correct Human Figure Proportions & What is Meant by Out of Proportion
Proportion, and What Is Meant by Out of Proportion. For example : If a picture of a man were drawn with the head twice as long as the head should be, as is shown below, that would be called out of proportion, because it would be unnatural.
It should be in "good proportion," which means it should be near the natural size as compared with other parts of the body. The ability to draw the figure in proper proportion requires considerable practice, close observation and accurate eye-measurement.
Varying Proportions.—In drawing the head of a child, the same proportions as adults does not exist ; the child's head being larger in proportion to the body than in the case of adults. There are also further variations. Putting a very smail head on the body of a child would make the drawing appear as much out of proportion as in the case of the overlarge head referred to. In caricatures, lapses from true proportion are permitted. Then it is done purposely to producc a ludicrous effect.
Relative Proportions.—Ability to represent the relative size or proportion of one object to another is an essential element in correct drawing.
An effective method of teaching this is to choose some object for a unit of measure or comparison, and place others beside it, one or several at a time. Any well-known object will do, as, for instance, a piece of fruit, such as an apple or an orange—or a ball.
Exercise in Proportion.—Make a drawing of the object selected and compare it with some other object of about the same size. Then place beside them still another object, two or three times as large, such as a book or cap. Now let the student make a drawing showing the three objects in their relative sizes. Any small wooden or cardboard box may be used in connection with other small boxes to demonstrate proportionate sizes.Place the apple (or whatever object is selected) on a box and draw both in proportion.
Proceed with the exercise by drawing from imagination (or copy) some other object with which the student is familiar and draw the object in proportion. The subject may be a bird, a mouse, a rat, a cup, mug; in fact, any object that is not larger than the box itself.
Drawing Men, Women, and Children
Proportions of the Human Figure.—The Greek statues have regulated and determined the standard of beauty in art. These proportions, however, vary in individual cases and individual tastes. They are, however, valuable as a foundation from which modifications may be made.
In the Greek statues, the height of a developed man was usually eight heads; that is, the head was one-eighth the length of the body.
The height of a woman, Greek standard, about seven heads.
The human figure may be divided into four parts of equal length, namely:
1. From the top of the head to the arm-pit.
2. From the arm-pit to the middle of the body.
3. From the middle of the body to the knees.
4. From the knees to the soles of the feet.
From finger-tip to finger-tip, when the arms are extended at right angles to the body equals the length of the entire figure from crown to toes.
The face may be divided into three parts:
1. From the top of the forehead to the root of the nose.
2. From the root of the nose to the bottom of the nose.
3. From the bottom of the nose to the bottom of/the chin. The ear is the length of the nose and its general direction is parallel to it.
From the top of the shoulder to the elbow measures twice the length of the face.
From the elbow to the wrist, one head.
The hand measures three-quarters of a head from the tip of the middle finger to the wrist.
The foot measures one-sixth of the whole length of the body.
These proportions are not exact or to be arbitrarily followed.
Drawing the Human Figure.—When drawing the head, whether in profile or three-quarter view, avoid making the facial line too upright. There can be no rigid rule regarding this or any other part of the human figure, on account of the variance of different persons. The degree of difference is even greater if we consider racial variances.
Making the features too small is a common error. Sometimes, however, the error is in the opposite direction, especially in respect to the eyes. They should not be made too large for the face. In drawing the normal eye, place the pupil slightly under the upper lid. Do not draw a line directly under the eyeball. If this is done, it is apt to give an impression of soreness to the eyes. Let the line indicating the upper line of the lower lid be a trifle distant from the eyeball. Eyelashes should be sparingly introduced. Eyebrows should not be too strongly demarked.
The ears should not be longer than the nose, and they should be level with it.
Things to Avoid
Do not make the mouth too small.
Do not make the space from the eyebrows to the top of the head too narrow.
Do not make finger nails too distinct or prominent.
Do not make goose-necks on your women nor bull-necks on your men and children.
Do not make the arms too long, unless you are making a caricature and wish to produce an ape-like effect.
Guide Lines Again.—When intending to draw a draped or clothed figure, first draw, in faint lines, the figure itself through the clothes. Erase the faint lines, which are guide lines only. This method will be of special asistance in getting the feet in the right place and in the right direction. That is, first draw the feet without the shoes, putting the latter on afterwards.