I decided to start drawing figures based on fashion photos. This is to learn the ideal proportions of the adult human being. As my guide I use the book by late Barbara Bradley, Drawing People; How To Portray The Clothed Figure.
The ideal figure is eight heads high and can be used to compare people’s proportions with. I’m trying to learn this ideal figure by using fashion photos as reference. As a bonus I get to learn something about fashion, of which I know little.
Drawing people is hard enough, so if I pick a subject, I’d better choose something I enjoy drawing, like pretty girls. This drawing is based on a fashion photo. This girl was a bit of a problem, because she has a more complicated pose and her clothing obscures the lines of her body.
Three important parts of the body are the head, chest and hips. In most (natural) poses most of the weight is on one of the legs (here her left leg). This weight-bearing leg is roughly underneath the chin. Furthermore, the groin is at the halfway point between the heels and the top of the head. So it makes sense to put the chin and heel of the weight-bearing leg on a vertical line and determine how far to the right or left the groin is. You then need to determine the angles of the head, chest and hips.
You would think it would help to draw a “through-line” that indicates the pose of the figure. However, I found that you first need to learn how the body works by drawing. Once you have a basic understanding, I suppose you can abstract that knowledge by drawing that through-line. At the moment, I’m still trying to understand.
In this sketch I saw the limitation of my drawing method. Somehow I need to imagine the pose myself, perhaps even stand in front of a mirror. The way I’ve done it here is too mechanical, too much trying to copy from the original.
In this sketch I have added more thought and planning. I didn’t stand in front of a mirror, but I imagined how the general pose was (through-line), and how the hips were thrust forward, slightly slanted to her right. She clearly wasn’t 8 heads high, so I had fudge the pose a lot to make it fit the ideal proportions.
I see an improvement, compared to the previous sketches, like I’m getting the hang of it. A few more of these improvements and I can get on in the book by Barbara Bradley.
If you want to see how a more experienced artist does this kind of drawing, I invite you to watch Leilani Joy on YouTube.