- Arts and Design»
How to draw female human body
Here I am going to begin this tutorial by addressing
one of the most commonly asked questions
that I receive: how to draw women's breasts
(heh, I never thought I'd actually be making a
tutorial about this.... ^_^). One of the most
important things you should consider is to
make your subject look natural; you can draw
an attractive female without making her look
like a "silicon implant ad," as a friend of mine
put it. ^_^
The main problems people seem to have with
drawing breasts are the shape and the
placement. A lot of artists (professionals as
well as ametuers) make them look like
balloons that have been taped onto the
subject's chest; this is hardly a natural look. If
you look through figure drawing books, you'll
see that they are more like halves of a sphere
or overturned teacups rather than balloons.
Now, note the position. Imagine a central guideline that runs down the center of
your subject's body, as shown at the left. The breasts are at 45 degree angles from
that center line, and are about halfway down the chest (shown by the red diagonal
guidelines). Be very careful not to draw them too close together or too far apart, or
too high on the chest; these are commonly made mistakes. As you will see in
examples below, this basic rule of the 45 degree placement will apply to pretty
much whatever pose you are using.
Here is the another pose, showing the torso from a front view.
Note how the breasts are still located at 45 degree angles
from the center line of the body. Oh, also take note of the
shading. After looking at various examples, I find that
shading in this fashion (rather than just following the lower
curves as you would shade a sphere) makes them look
more natural.It should be realistic its the only way that attract the people.
Here is one last pose to go over the size and placement. It's
harder to see here, but the breasts are still at the 45 degree
angle from the center line (which isn't draw in this picture; sorry
about that ^_^;). Notice that the leftmost breast is drawn as a
half-sphere, not as a full sphere. If you want to exaggerate the
size, that's your choice, but I personally don't think its
Moving to the neck and shoulders.
When you draw the shoulders, notice that
they are slope down smoothly, they aren't flat.
Try to take the musculature structure of the
neck and shoulders into consideration,
especially if you are going for a more realistic
look. They should be shaped more like a
clothes hanger, and not drawn flat an hard.
Here are few examples of various
shoulder positions. Notice that the shoulders
are never drawn flat and dull.
One more thing I wanted to say regarding the
torso is how to draw it if an arm is lifted.
have personally found this difficult sometimes, so
I figured it was a good thing to go over. If the arm
is lifted, then the back of the torso will be
exposed. Although a female's torso isn't as round
and full as a males, it should still stick out in the
back. Don't make the upper torso too narrow.
Notice also how the top of the right-most breast
doesn't just keep curving inwards in a circle;
remember that it is not a full sphere, so it is
attached to the muscles of the shoulder.
Next, Coming to the arms. The arms consist of
three basic sections: the upper arm, the forearm, and
the hand. Each can be represented in preliminary
sketches by oval shapes. Now, I know some people
don't like using the shapes; you do not have to do it
this way, this is just one possible way to go about
sketching arms. Some books recommend using
cylinders, but it's better to use flat ovals because they
more closely match the shape of the arm. It isn't
shown here, but if the arms are held loosely at the
side, the hands should come down to the middle of
the thigh. The elbows should be at about waist length.
Once you have your basic shapes of the arms down,
you can refine them and make them look more
realistic. This is a little more difficult. When
drawing the arms, don't make them straight and flat;
arms have muscles, after all. Never draw a
straight arm as just a long cylinder (unless you are
doing a super-deformed/chibi pic). The arm starts
at the shoulder. Notice how the shoulder bulges out
slightly, then curves back down. The arm tapes
slightly inwards until you reach the elbow. At the
elbow, the arm widens again just after the elbow
where the biceps are (as shown in the topmost picture
here). The elbow itself can be a little daunting to draw.
Remember that the arm doesn't just start curving in
the other direction; there is a joint, and it should be
shown (as in the top and bottom left pic). There are
more examples below.
Here are some more poses for arms, this time
showing how the parts of the arm overlap. It is
sometimes easier to visualize the overlapping
or foreshortening if you use basic oval shapes
first, but again, you do not have to use them if
you do not want to. Notice how in the topmost
picture, the arm that is moving away from us
tapers and grows smaller the further awayfrom us it is.
These poses are a little more difficult to
refine. It is very important that you pay
close attention to the way each par of
the arm is facing, and how the elbow is
to be positioned. Try to imagine the arm
as two different shapes stuck together:
the cylindrical upper arm, and the
forearm, which is sort of shaped like a
bowling pin with a bump on the bottom.
That should help you in determining
the position of the elbow.
Legs can be another problem area for artists.
It's hard to make them shaped properly
(especially when you don't practice very
much, like me...;) Just like with the arms,
it is important not to make them perfectly
straight like cyliders. It is especially helpful to
use ovals to help you get the shape right
rather than cylinders, because the ovals
better suit the shape of the thighs and
calves. The upper part of each leg should be
thicker, rounder, and shorter than the lower
part of leg. When drawing the legs, start
them thicker at the top, then taper them
down until the reach the knee. As with the
elbow on the previous page, the knee should
be defined; it's a joint and should be drawn,
the leg isn't made of rubber. ^_^ Notice how
the knee bulges outwards slightly; the leg
doesn't just go straight down. The muslces
on the lower leg, especially the calves,
should protrude a little.
Here are some more poses. I didn't use the
prelimiary ovals this time because I forgot,
but you should be able to see the oval
shapes of the various parts of the legs.
Again, I would like to bring attention to the
knee, especially in the lower pictures.
When the leg is bent, the knee can be
drawn like a flat plane. I shaded these legs
to help give you a better idea of their form.
There are better details on this in various
figure drawing books, but since you don't
often see every bone and muscle on an
anime character, I didn't feel the need to go
over everything. ^_^ On the picture to the
far right, notice how the calves obscure
part of the thigh. In the left pictures, notice
that the lower part of the legs that are lifted
up are not visible, since they are hidden
behind the rest of the leg.
Well, just as its important to be able to draw someone
from the front, you may also wish to draw them from
behind. In which case, it helps to know how to actually
draw someone's behind. ^_^ I wasn't going to add
this, but since many anime girls are draw in skin tight
suits or swimsuits, it's kind of important. Umm... I
don't know quite what to say; just be careful how you
make the legs connect to the rest of the body. There's
more info in the next section of this tutorial. If you
need extra reference, get that figure drawing book by
Burne Hogarth mentioned in my recommended
reading section. He has several pages devoted to thesubject. -_^
All right, now that we've gone over the
major areas in detail, lets put them all
together and make a full body pose. :)
When drawing your subject, you can
either begin with the prelimiary ovals
and circles, or you can go straight to
the final draft, whichever you are most
comforable with. If you are using circles
and ovals, then you will notice that the
main body (torso and pelvis) are
composed of two basic shapes, both of
which curve inwards towards the
stomach. I'm not going to go over these
a lot, because they have been well
documented in other figure drawing
tutorials. ^_^ Make sure that both of
these shapes, as well as the head, are
aligned along a central guidline (as
shown). This guidline is pretty much the
spine of the character, and will
determine the pose she is going to be in. Notice here that the center line curves to
the left a little on the pelvis; this is because her weight is shifted and her left hip
sticks out slightly (which makes the pose a little more interesting than if her weight
is evenly balanced). The body can be equally divided in half as shown to by the red
guidelines. You can use that as a general reference when determing how long the
legs should be in proportion to the rest of the body, but often times in anime thelength of the legs is exaggerated, for both males and females, and it looks just fine.
When drawing the midsection, remember to try to keep the hourglass figure shape.
Female anime characters will generally have thin shoulders, a thin stomach, and a
somewhat round waist. Be careful to make the curves look natural, unless you are
really good at figure drawing and can exaggerate the proportions.
Here is a similar pose, this time shown at a side
angle. I have found side views to be difficult, since
I had a hard time finding decent reference
pictures. ^_^ Notice that the body is composed of
the same basic shapes, except the shapes have
been rotated around. One of the things you need
to consider when drawing from this angle is the
shape of the upper torso. It isn't shown very well
here, but as you come straight down from the
neck, the chest will stick out slightly at a sharp
angle as you come to the collarbone. After that
point, the torso is drawn at a smooth diagonal until
you reach the hemisphere shape of the breasts
(remember that they are half spheres; don't draw
them like beach balls!) Beneath that, the torsocontinues to protrude outwards slightly until reach
the bottom of what would be the ribcage (it's a little
over one headlength down from the shoulders).
After the ribcage, curve back inwards a little for
the stomach. Other things to look out for are the shape of the legs (the thighs
round out in front, and are flatter in back, while the lower legs are just the opposite)
and the subject's behind (make sure you don't exaggerate it too much).
For the final pose of this chapter, here is an
example of someone drawn from behind
(which you may actually need to draw at
one point, especially if you are going to do
manga ). Just as before, the subject
can be equally divided in half. Things to
look out for at this angle include the neck; it
connects up into the skull, and should
obscure part of the face. The midsection
should be somewhat hourglass shaped,
but again, don't overexaggerate the curve
unless you really know your anatomy (you
have to know the basics before you can
start bending the rules). Don't overdefine
the lines on the behind, since there's little
reason too. Be careful when drawing the
arms; from the back, the elbows should be
more prominent than usual. Check out the
section on arms for more information.
That concludes the female figure drawing
tutorial. I hope this gives you an
understanding of basic anatomy, and helps you out when drawing full body