The average female figure may be drawn seven or eight times the height of her own head. The shoulder width of a woman's figure is narrow in proportion to her height than that of a man.
Her hips are wider. In fashion drawing the woman's figure is often exaggerated for effect -- standing about 9 heads high.
Now that you know the fundamentals of stickman proportions, why don't you study the human figure from life? Have someone pose for you - or find your opportunity to sketch when people are not looking - on the bathing beach, at the theatre, in doctors' waiting rooms, at conventions and other public gatherings.
When you draw directly from the human figure, think in stick-man style - of simple, basic lines. Do not allow details of muscle, flesh, or clothing to confuse you. Stick strictly to fundamentals and get the "feel" of the figure -- its pose, its height, its weight, its variation from the ideal proportions. Sketch in the main action lines first, then the masses. Then study the parts of the body, and finally the detail.
Once you have learned fundamental human body proportions, you are ready to exaggerate. Cartoon figures may be made to differ in any and every concievable way from the ideal proportions. Right above this paragraph, a stick-figure is drawn in a very simple standing pose -- one hand on hip, one knee slightly bent. Using that identical pose, variation is shown in body proportions in two other figures. See what a difference it makes when you exaggerate the height of a figure and the size of the head.
Here one body is tall, with a small head. The other body is small, and the head is big. Try making big heads, tall bodies, little heads, little bodies, long legs, short legs, scrawny necks, short necks, big feet, little feet. Try every exaggeration in body proportion that you can imagine. First start on the pose above and see how many variations you can make purely in proportion of body parts.
After you have done that, make your own simple stick man poses, changing the action. Then exaggerate one action figure in body proportions as much as you can. This is one of the chief things that makes cartooning fun -- both for you and for those who look at your work.
Men may come and men may go, but pretty girls
go on forever.
Use the stick-woman formula at first, then develop your pretty girls purely from imagination, or from models. Have basic proportions so thoroughly in your mind that you can draw without referring to rules. Your drawings will show more individuality if you do.
Pin-Up Girls, though they look real, are actually greatly exaggerated. Sometimes it is the height of the figure, sometimes the big eyes, the lengthy lashes, piquant nose, budlike mouth, narrow waist, tiny ankles, diminutive feet, long, graceful fingers - but something is always exaggerated. Study PinUp girl pictures when you come across them. Compare the figures with ideal proportions. Note which exaggerations are made in each figure. Soon you will be unconsciously making exaggerations of your own. Beautiful curves, in the right places, must always appear in the Pin-Up Girl. She may be clothed or nearly nude, ultra-sophisticated, naive
or demure, but she always has curves and she always has that "come-hither" look.
The section on Pin-Up Girls in your morgue will keep changing. If you are going in for Pin-Up Girl drawing you should subscribe to the most up to-the-minute fashion magazines for women. Keep abreast of style changes in hats, hair-dos, dresses, coats, furs, and even accessories like earrings, lapel pins, flowers, and hair ribbons. Date your file so you can refer back to certain seasons and certain years as you need them.
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