Mapping Out Proportions

Mapping Out Proportions

With this particular figure drawing I started with an abstract shape. It’s definitely a different way to start. Now what I’d like to share with you is how to branch out from the legs into drawing the torso.

That is drawing the torso with correct proportions. On paper it sounds easy. But executing this is somewhat difficult. It takes good eye hand coordination.

The concept is to use targets to branch out. What are targets you ask? They are little marks that you place on the paper to estimate where the edge of an item would be. The edge of the torso, the edge of the arm etc.

You’ll also want to look at abstract negative space between the torso and the legs. Take it slow and do not rush this step. Look and study more than you draw.

Lastly you’ll want to take measurements. Common sense stuff like what is directly opposite the model’s breast? What is right below the model’s navel. Not very romantic but these techniques work.

Like I said on paper this all sounds very boring and simple. But this really does take quite of lot of eye hand coordination. How to you get that, you draw everyday. 



If this technique helps you please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear anything you can add to conversation. If you have tried this technique and are still having issues with getting correct proportions I would like to help.

I would be happy to critique your work each and every Monday in our members Critique Gallery. It’s a cool place to get feedback on your work without all of the negative commentary.


Start Your Figure Drawing From An Abstract Shape

Start Your Figure Drawing From An Abstract Shape

I recently added a twenty-eight lesson figure drawing course in the member area of Drawing Tutorials Online. I wanted to share with you some of the lessons over here at my blog. This first lesson in particular is very important.

Too many artists give themselves artificial rules. These rules can sometimes take the fun out of drawing, especially figure drawing. One of these rules is that you must start your figure drawing from the top of the head. I disagree completely.

Do I sometimes start my figure drawing at the top of the head, the short answer is yes. When do I do this, mainly when I am deliberately trying to draw the figure from head to toe. This is something you want to do especially when working on short duration gesture drawings.

Working from head to toe using the Opposite C technique enables you to see proportions in a quick way. However when I want to work on a long duration drawing I like to switch things up.

Starting your drawing from an abstract shape is a great way to begin. I have been drawing this way for years both from life and from photos. The idea here is that drawing an abstract shape is a whole lot easier then drawing an actual body part.

For instance in this particular figure drawing I start in essense with the abstract shape between the model’s legs. Some artists like to call this a negative shape or negative space. Either way it’s abstract.

Starting with an abstract shape is a great way to start because it allows you to start building up confidence. It allows you to see proportions in a different way.

I highly suggest that you give this technique a try. Practice drawing a bunch of abstract shapes. Try copying each shape exactly, this great practice and will help you with your accuracy.



If you are looking to learn some new drawing techniques to help improve your figure drawing definitely consider a membership to Drawing Tutorials Online. I’m particularly proud of this new twenty-eight lesson course.

All of the lessons are really short, most under ten minutes. Each lesson focuses on a different technique. The course focuses on line, proportions, shading, structure as well as form.

Not to mention you can get your figure drawings critiqued on a weekly basis in our gallery. If the technique taught in the lesson above speaks to you please leave a comment below. Thanks for reading.