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Copyright 2005

Section 1: The Basics

Section 2: The 3 Main Masses of The Body and

how to use them to create lifelike drawings.

Section 3: The Face

Section 4: Joints, Hands & Feet

Section 5: Practice what you have learned.

Step-By-Step #1

Section 6: Practice what you have learned.

Step-By-Step #2

Reference Pictures
Section 1: The Basics
Here are a few directional terms that need to be discussed before we
begin, to help us in labeling and in explaining where things are placed.
Look over them, because I will be referring back to these terms.
To begin, let's start by dissolving some commonly believed myths. Many
people say that tracing is bad. I believe it is best to free hand, but if a
person needs to trace in order to get a feel for drawing something new,
knock yourself out!

Do not be prideful. If someone gives you feedback, good or bad, take it

gratefully and go back to the drawing board.

Ok, let's get started…

The stick figure may be the greatest asset for starting a drawing. You will
use it to do the step-by-step drawings. There isn’t much information in
the stick figure, so it doesn’t get in the way as you add more and more to
your drawing.

With stick figures, you can determine the gesture, the placement of the
arms, legs, position of the head and the direction the face is pointed.

The stick figure is the basic step to your drawing. It is like a blueprint of
what you are going to draw.

The sketch below illustrates a figure that has been “blocked out”. In this
example, I have used tubes to show the 3 main areas or “masses” of the
body. I have also drawn the tubes so that each tube represents an entire
muscle group or bone mass (skull, rib cage etc..).

These tubes also handle the proportions. Each tube is the correct length
of the corresponding muscle group with each joint having its own tube.

Look over this sketch. We will be referring back to this throughout the
Section 2: The 3 Main Masses of The Body and how
to use them to create lifelike drawings.
Now, let’s talk more about the 3 main areas, or masses of the body. The
3 masses are:

1. The ribcage
2. The skull
3. The hips

Here is a sketch to illustrate these:

Here are the secrets to drawing lifelike figures. Make your drawing be
expressive, show movement or gesture:

1. None of these 3 masses should ever be parallel. It will make

your drawing boring and lifeless.
2. The front of each mass should always be facing different directions.
3. The top of the rib cage mass should be used to locate the collar
bone (clavicle)

Examples of this are shown in the top two sketches below:

In the two sketches at the bottom of the picture, here is an example of a
“lizard” drawn only with lines. Notice how much more interesting the
lizard is to look at, with the same number of lines, when opposing angles
are used. This is an example of how angles can create more lifelike
Section 3: Faces
Let’s discuss the concept of an ellipse. If you take a circle and tilt it
gradually until you see only a narrow portion of it, you get an ellipse. It
is with the ellipse that we show and reinforce the perspective of a

This soup can shows with a series of ellipses, the angle at which the can
is tilted.

This will be used in the step-by-step drawings in order for us to practice

this concept.
Look at how the soup can concept is used in this example to draw a face,
tilted slightly up.

Let us also take this opportunity to see where the shadows fall on a face
that had a light source above it.

From the eyebrows, a shadow is cast over the eye sockets. The nose
casts a shadow that extends to the upper lip, which is at a 45 degree
angle and therefore, it is in shadow.

The bottom lip is also at a 45 degree angle. So, it is not in shadow but
casts one that extends to the box of the chin.

The ears should be visible from a front view of the face.

Three equal measurements help us map out the face.

Here are the three equal parts of the face.

1. From the hairline to the eyebrows.

2. From the eyebrows to the bottom of the nose.
3. From the bottom of the nose to the bottom of the chin.
4. The bottom of the bottom lip is ½ of the way between the bottom
of the nose and the bottom of the chin.

Secrets to a well proportioned face:

1. Two of the three equal distances turned sideways will give you the
width of the face from cheek to cheek.
2. The width of one eye should equal the distance between both eyes.
3. The wings of the nose should be directly beneath the inside corner
of the eye.
4. The corners of the mouth should be directly beneath the middle of
the eyeball.
5. The top of the ear is even with the brow and the bottom of the ear
is even with the bottom of the nose.
6. A hand with the fingers extended, should go from the fingertips at
the hairline to the base of the palm at the bottom of the chin.

When drawing eyes on a face, most people are tempted to just place
them on the outside facing straight out, like headlights on a car. When,
in fact, they are at a slight angle.

Humans are predators, like lions, tigers and bears. And, as such, have
forward facing eyes. But, unlike most predators, our eyes are set at a
slight angle giving us good peripheral vision.

Beneath is an exaggerated picture of a top view of the head.

See how the eyes sit at a slight angle on the head while still looking

Also, let us take note that just before the ears, the skull narrows slightly.
As a result of this, the head is not perfectly egg shaped.

On this next sketch, notice that the angle of the jaw is greater than 90
degrees. NEVER draw a jaw with a 90 degree angle.

Here are the 7 secrets to mapping out a face:

1. The forehead
2. The pits of the eye in the skull
3. The bridge of the nose
4. The box of the mouth
5. The box of the chin
6. The angle of the jaw
7. The ear

The secret is these masses combined with the three equal length rule,
gives you a perfectly mapped out face.

Here are some examples:

See how there is very little information in the above pictures, but,
following the 7 secrets and the three space rule, these faces are mapped
out perfectly and ready to be finished.

Here are some more secrets to drawing a face at a profile:

Notice how in the following sketch, the angle of the tip of the nose, the
bridge of the nose, the top and bottom lip, the box of the chin, and the
area where the bottom of the lip connects to the box of the chin can all
be drawn at 45 degree angles.

Take note that the eye is also a 45 degree angle.

This next sketch shows how the throat is a tube placed between the two
Sterno Mastoid muscles. This is the windpipe. The thick portion in the
middle is formed by the thyroid cartilage.

Notice how the collar bones look like an upside down coat hanger.

Let’s go into the finer detail on the face. Here are some sketches for
reference as we discuss these concepts.
Let's discuss the eye first. The eye is a ball set into a bony hole in the
skull and covered by thin flaps of skin. When drawing the eye, it needs
to be both setback into the socket and look like there is something round
behind the eyelids.
See how the eyelids are just two flaps of skin, draped over the eyeball,
which is in the orbit of the skull. Also, notice how the eye seems slanted
up just a little.

Now let’s talk about the nose. The nose is formed by the connection of
these cartilage plates as shown above. This cartilage insures that our
nostrils stay open and our airway is unobstructed. Because of how these
plates sit, a really cool ridge is formed on the nose, which can be seen on
a profile.

Following are some step-by-step drawings for facial features.

Here is a step-by-step drawing of the mouth.
Section 4: Joints, Hands & Feet
This sketch illustrates the function of the hip and shoulder joint. Both are
ball and socket joints which provide a good deal of forward and backward
movement with limited lateral mobility.

The joint of the elbow is like this sketch here. It allows up and down
The elbow shows a lot of bone. Here the lateral aspect of the elbow
shows a portion of the humerus and the olecrenon process of the ulna.
Notice here how the tendon of the tricep wraps around the lateral condyle
of the humerus. Notice how the brachial radialus attaches from the
brachialus to the radius. If you put those together, you can see how it
got its name.
Notice how in the next picture the position of the brachioradialis changes
as it follows the radius as the wrist rotates. Also, notice the belly of the
biceps as the triceps are flexed and notice how the biceps shorten when
the tricep is relaxed and the forearm is brought up.
Here is another example of what we just talked about, the relationship
between the bicep and the tricep.

The function of a muscle, in most cases, can be analyzed by thinking

“what muscles are being used, if this is going on?”. Like, in these
drawings, the fingers are extended and therefore, the extensors of the
forearm are engaged. Likewise, in the other drawing, the hand is being
pulled down and therefore the compressors are being engaged.
The knee joint is similar to the elbow, but is much more sturdy as the
bones are 50 to 60% bigger. The bones in this joint are obviously
designed to take much more weight and impact. But this joint allows
about the same range of motion as the elbow.
The secret to the anatomy of the knee and ankle is quite simple. The
knee and ankle are simply points where bones from above meet bones
from beneath.

The other part to this secret is that there are often equal sized opposing
muscle groups on either side of the bone. This is true with the
relationships between:

1. Quadraceps/Hamstrings
2. Biceps/Triceps
3. Extensors/Compressors of the forearm
4. Posterior/Anterior Deltoid.

Note how in the next sketch the bones of the femur can be seen as well
as the bones of the tibia and fibula. This is the secret of the knee’s
Note, also, the kneecap or patella and how it rests on the spot where the
two bones come together, protecting that gap when the knee is bent.
Also, note that the tendon attaching the rectus femoris to the patella and
then the tendon attaches the patella to the knee.

Moving forward to the hand, let’s explore the shape of the tips of the
fingers. All of the fingers, but especially the thumb, should employ the
shape of a shovel.
Remember to always draw the thumb with a scooping effect.

The hand, seen from a front view has an arch shape to it. It is not
straight across.
In the top right corner, the fingers line up so that the middle finger is the
longest, the index and ring finger are the same length with the pinky
being the smallest. The thumb comes up past the first knuckle of the
index finger.

In the bottom right hand corner drawing, see how the three bones of the
thumb are visible.

Moving on to the feet, the tibia on the ankle is higher up than the head of
the fibula. Also note in this illustration how the bones of the tibia and the
fibula rest on the bones of the feet.
See how in the top, right hand corner sketch, the tibia is very close to the
front of the leg. Also, note how you can see the Achilles tendon on the
heel. On the same sketch, see how all the toes, except the big toe are

On the bottom two sketches we are shown that there are two tendons on
the foot that are very visible when the foot is pulled in either direction. If
the foot is pulled up, then both are engaged. Note that there are two
similar tendons on the thumb.
Section 4: Practice what you have learned.
Step-By-Step #1
In this piece, we are working from Michaelangelo’s “David”. We are
starting out with a stick figure for the shoulders and hips and we are
using the soup can for the head. Notice how we exaggerate the slant of
the shoulders and hips greatly. This was no accident. If you use only a
gradual slant, by the time you finish your drawing, the figure will appear
to be standing straight up with its shoulders squared to the floor.

Now we put in the rib cage and hips. We put a center line for the face on
the soup can.
Now we add collar bone, humerus and femur. At this point, we especially
want to indicate the superior head of the humerus and the great trocanter
of the femur. Notice how we use the rib cage to determine the length of
the humerus. The position of the foot is also found in this step. This is
done by drawing an imaginary line down the center of the figure, and
placing the foot at this point. This way, that leg is balancing your figure.
Now let’s add a little mark to show us where the jaw will go, as well as
put a small soup can on the throat to represent the thyroid cartilage. For
practice only we put the radius and the ulna in when we do the forearm.
This is a little bit tedious an exercise but helpful in seeing how the
position of these bones effects the layout of the muscles.

We also draw the whole femur and tibia fibula. The only helpful thing
about drawing the entire bone is to ensure we get the correct length. It
is however very necessary to draw the femoral condyles and heads of the
tibia/fibula as these will be seen in our final drawing.
Now we use the soup cans to map out the muscle groups. We put the
soup cans at an angle so that they reinforce the perspective of the body.
For example, the lefty leg is coming slightly forward to the soup can on
the femur is tilted back so the bottom of the soup can is visible. This is
the step where we add the left forearm as well, with its soup can tilted
slightly towards us.
We are going to draw the jaw line and put in some of the information
from the neck in. The hair can go on anytime, so let’s put it on now too.

At this point let’s take out our ellipses. Also, we want to extend our
mapped out muscle groups, so they connect to the joints.

Notice how we indicate pectoralis major here. We also can put in the
lateral obliques and bring them up to meet the rib cage.

Pay attention to the lattissimus dorsi which we put in laterally to each

side of the rib cage.
Ok, now we are getting serious. The eyes, nose, box of mouth, ears and
jaw go in. The musculature of the neck is getting more defined. We pull
out the bones under the muscles leaving the bones at the joints. The left
hand goes on, the abs go in.

Let’s go ahead and put in a lot of the leg muscles now too, but no shading
In this step we finish the face. Finish the neck, with the throat placed
between the 2 Sterno Mastoids. In this step we also indicate the
Pectoralis Major and how it attaches to the sternum of the rib cage. The
nipples and belly button are 2 surface features that really tell your eye
you are looking at a nude figure.

We also slightly indicate the obliques covering the ribs.

Ok friend, here is where the anatomy page included really comes in

handy. That page may have a lot on it, but, I left out a lot of stuff you
really don’t need to know, because it isn’t visible as surface anatomy.
The last thing we include is the sling over David’s shoulder. The chest
muscles in their 3 sections can be seen. The oblique stretches over the
rib cage but the thorasic ridge (or the edge of the rib cage) can still be

Oblique causes a really cool effect. It is interesting to note that on very

thin people when we see their ribs, we are very rarely seeing ribs, it is
oblique. You can tell this because oblique angles up and the ribs angle

The space between the ribs and abs actually has little or no musculature
but contains anatomical space filler called aponorosis.

See how even now, the bones of the joints are visible in the elbow, knee
and ankle. The bones on the right elbow lateral side cannot be seen from
a front view because brachioradialus is covering them up.

This figure is shaded only to show the shapes of muscles. This is not how
a standing model would be shaded.

We do not have time or space to explore hands and feet in depth in this
book, but these subjects will be covered in an advanced book that I will
release later on. It will also cover such topics as; portraiture and
Section 6: Practice what you have learned.
Step-By-Step #2
In this piece we are working from Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel “God
Creates Adam”

Here we begin with a soup can skull and a stick figure for gesture,
shoulder and hip placement.

Now we map out the rib cage and indicate the hips. Again, we must be
sure to emphasize the angles of the shoulder/hip relationship.
Now, we use an ellipse to show the collar bone and trapezius. At this
point we extend the stick figure by putting in the arms and legs. On the
left side, the right arm will be extended to touch God’s finger and the left
knee is up by the left elbow.
Let’s get right to mapping out the muscle groups and put in the humerus.
Let’s also indicate the angle of the thorasic ridge and the sternum.
Let’s get away from using bones too much at this point and only use the
soup can blocks to lay out the muscle groups & lengths of bones. Let’s
also indicate the pectoralis major.
The hands go on now and we put in the lateral obliques.
Now, let’s put in the bowl of the belly, the latissimus dorsi, and the right
tibia/fibula area.
The right shoulder is being pushed up since it is resting on the ground.
As a result, the head of the humerus can be seen.

Take note that the left arm being raised means that from the back you
would see the shoulder blade raised to an angle. The reason for this is
the collar bone is attached to the shoulder blade and when raised, both
clavicle and scapula are raised.
Now, we tighten up the anatomy a bit and connect all the muscles to the
joints. Let’s get the abs in a little bit and put some muscles in the neck.
Let’s lay out the muscles and bones of the legs. Also, we will thicken up
the compressors of the left forearm. We are going to change the angle of
the right thorasic ridge.
Let’s finish the hair, face, chest, arms, obliques, abs, legs and neck. We
shade this figure just to show the musculature.
The next few pages are reference material for anatomy and proportions.
These next few pages of anatomy materials, plus the many tips I have
taught you should give you plenty to work on. I suggest drawing or
tracing the practice drawings over and over until the techniques explained
here become natural and easy to use.

Experiment with free hand drawing, starting from a stick figure, and
building up, just like we did in the practice drawings.

Good Luck!
Reference Pictures

Remember the three spaces rule. If you take one of those spaces and
measure down the neck, this will give you the measurement to the collar
Each of these sections of the body is two heads tall. The space on the
inside thigh where the arrows are, down to the bottom line is the width of
the hips. In order, they are; chest, calf, chest turned sideways, forearm
& hand and a thigh.

Notice how the trapezius and the shoulder blades form a large capital
“M”. Also, notice how only the top cervical portion of the vertebral
column is visible. See how at the base of the spine on either side of the
sacrum, there are 2 dimples before the gluteus maximus. This is formed
when the sacrum meets the pelvis, but the dimples have a really cool
effect on a nude back.