How to draw the human figure - Figure Drawing




Extreme Perspective

What is it?

One thing that happens a lot when you're drawing hands is having to sometimes deal with extreme instances of proportion and perspective. For example when a finger is pointing almost directly at you, or your subject's arm is bent in such a way that the forearm is totally blocking the upper arm. How would would you draw something like these examples? Your logical mind begins to freak out because the portion of the body that you want to draw is angled in such a way that the body part no longer really looks like what it is. Let me show you what I mean. Can you tell what the image is on the right? Click it to find out.

What's happening with the pointed finger is that it's at such an angle that it's difficult to tell that it's a finger without seeing the whole hand. Your mind needs a context to place the object that it doesn't understand. So when your mind sees the whole hand, it understands that the object it didn't understand earlier is a finger. This happens a lot in figure drawing, so let's talk about how we can draw objects that are in extreme proportion or perspective (or both).

Click to enlarge

The easy answer is to break the figure down into three dimensional cylinders like we did earlier in this section. When your subject appears daunting, break it down into manageable pieces. So let's look at another hand where all the fingers have extreme perspective. Looking at each finger of this hand, at first look, the fingers appear to be way too short and stubby. But that's because in drawing, we're confined to the two dimensions of the paper. So in order to accomplish drawing this three dimensional hand where the fingers are pointing towards us, we need to visualize the fingers as three dimensional simple cylinders that are easy to draw in perspective. Go ahead and click on the hand and see how the drawing is broken down into cylinders.

Click to enlarge

The fingers above are coming out at you - but the idea of breaking down the figure works just as well when the body part is angling away from you, too. Look for example at the drawing of the bare back. The left upper and forearm (the whole arm) is angling away from your eye. The left forearm is also mostly obscured by the upper arm. With the right arm, the upper arm is pretty much parallel to your eye, but the right forearm is also angling away from your eye. So if you break the arms up into cylinders in your mind, you should be able to visualize how the arms are placed in space, and you should be able to draw simple cylinders to understand the layout of your drawing. Remember, since the arms are angling away from your eye, the arms and hands will appear smaller than they actually are. So it might be better if you did some measuring to get the proper size relationships of the objects to the other objects in your composition.

If you envision your figure as stacks of simple three dimensional cylinders that are angled away or towards your eye, drawing extreme proportion and perspective will become easier and more comfortable for you to draw.

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