Art Class: lesson 4

Look at another person (either in real life or in a magazine.)  Look at their body parts–they have a head, shoulders, arms, legs, hips, feet, so on.  Look at all the joints (where the body bends).  Some joints just bend back and forth other joints rotate (go around).  Move your own body.  Which parts bend back and forth?  Which parts rotate?

When you draw a person’s body you have to pay attention to what each of those joints can do.  You also have to remember to draw even the bits you don’t think about.

When I draw a person I draw a stick figure first.  No, not a stick figure that is just two arms, two legs, a body and a head.  If I did that my people would have no hips and no shoulders.  Instead I draw an egg shape for the head (with the point where the chin should be), a line for the spine (which I curve in the way a spine would), a flattened oval for the hips and shoulders, straight lines for arms and legs, with circles for joints, hands, and the heels of the feet.

I draw this lightly as a sort of frame to which I add everything else.  This way I have the basic proportions down, as well as where each joint should be.  For years I refused to do this even though my art teacher told me to.  I insisted on doing it my way (I am stubborn).  And for years all my drawings had the proportions off.  The head was always the wrong size, the shoulders to wide or too thin or angled wrong, one arm would always insist on going where it didn’t belong and my people never looked natural.  Finally I figured out that my teachers were right.  If you draw very light (or use good drawing paper so you can erase easily) drawing in a skeleton of sorts will help your whole drawing and your people will suddenly move right.

God gave you a skeleton with bones and joints and your muscles and skin need that skeleton in order to be shaped right and move.  If you didn’t have a skeleton you would be a big blob.  Getting the skeleton right in your drawing will help the person you are drawing look and move in the way God created people to look and to move.

This week all I want you to do is practice drawing a skeleton–not a real skeleton , just an artist’s skeleton.  Use what you know about proportions to figure out height but now keep in mind where all the joints are as well as the shoulders and hips.  (Some artists also add in the rib cage and possibly a ball for the stomach–I usually don’t unless I really need it.)