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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Character costume figure drawing : step-by-step drawing methods for
theatre costume designers / by Tan Huaixiang.
ISBN 0-240-80534-8 (pbk. : alk. paper)
1. Costume. 2. Costume design. 3. Drawing--Technique. I. Title.
British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.
For information on all Focal Press publications
visit our website at www.focalpress.com
04 05 06 07 08 10 11
Printed in China
9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Table of Contents
What Makes a Good Theatrical Costume
The Importance of Personality and Body
Philosophy for Drawing viii
DRAWING THE FIGURE
Proportions of the Body 2
The Basic Bone Structure of the Body 6
The Joints of the Body 7
The Head, Chest, and Pelvis 7
The Relationships between the Limbs and Body
The Balance of the Body 10
Weight on Both Legs 10
Weight on One Leg 16
Body Leaning on an Object 21
Figures in Action 24
Abstract Stick Figures in Action 24
Contouring the Stick Figure 25
Figures in Dance 37
Figure Poses Change through Time and
Garments and Textures in Relation to the Body in
CREATING THE FACE
Proportions of the Face—Front, Profile, and
Three-Quarter Views 70
Step One: Establish the Head as an Abstract
Form or Mass 70
Step Two: Block in the Features 72
Step Three: Contour the Features 74
Types and Characteristics of Faces 83
Facial Expressions 92
How Can Proper Facial Expression Be
Positioning the Head and Neck and Directing the
FIGURE AND FACIAL
Characteristics of Different Age Groups 113
Children’s Faces and Body Types 118
Teenagers’ Faces and Body Types 118
Youths’ Faces and Body Types 122
Middle-Aged Faces and Body Types 126
Elderly Faces and Body Types 130
Characteristics of Different Figure Types 132
Heavy Body Types 132
Thin, Tall, or Short Body Types 135
iv M CONTENTS
HANDS, FEET, AND
Heads and Hats 140
Hands, Gloves, and Props 150
Hand Proportions 151
Relationship Angle between Hand and Wrist 152
Feet and Shoes 160
Creating Highlights and Shadows 185
Characteristics of Materials and Drawing
Painting Costumes 196
Painting from Light to Dark 196
Rendering Sheer Material 207
Painting from Dark to Light 208
Painting with Markers 217
Creating Texture 225
Painting the Head and Face 233
Decorating the Background of the Costume
Drawing Supplies 247
DESIGN CREATION 169
What Is the Best Way to Begin? 170
Proportion, Action, and Movement 171
What Is the Figure Doing beneath the
Detailed Costumes 173
Outlining the Garment 173
The Details 174
Credits to Walt Stanchfield: Words of Wisdom
A handout for people who are interested in animation drawings or
want to be animators.
s an instructor, I have been working with theatre costume design students for many years.
I know how students become frustrated
when drawing human figures, and I understand their
needs. I feel I have a responsibility to write this book
in order to help students who have trouble drawing,
and hope this book will greatly help all prospective
designers out there. Because English is my second
language, writing this book has been a very difficult
task. Some days I felt it was impossible and wanted
to give up. But the desire to help my students—future designers—encouraged me to continue.
The development of this book is based on years
of experience with educational theatre and, more
specifically, my teaching experience with college students. I know they need a guide they can use in their
free time to educate themselves and practice figure
drawing to become skilled costume designers. I tried
to make this book instructional and fundamental. I
tried to keep it simple, direct, and straightforward. It
is difficult for me to express myself exactly the way I
want to in English, so I hope the visual images speak
for themselves. The various illustrations demonstrate my step-by-step processes. I have incorporated
a number of examples of my costume designs into
each subject to give more visual explanations on the
topic and to show how to utilize line quality, form,
and texture to create facial expressions and body
language, and to explore variations in characters and
garments. I have tried hard to make this book easily
comprehensible and easy to follow. I hope this book
is both useful to students and entertaining to casual
readers. It can be used as a reminder or as inspiration by college students and professionals who are interested in character drawings for all different types
of character creations. I hope this book will help
costume design students enjoy the process of figure
drawing, and if it helps even a little with design artwork, I will feel rewarded.
would like to thank all the professionals and
friends who encouraged me to write this
A special thanks to Bonnie J. Kruger, who introduced me to the Focal Press. Thank you to the
Focal Press for your support and understanding.
Thanks to all my professors at the Central
Academy of Drama in Beijing, China: Hou Qidi,
Ma Chi, Xing Dalun, Wang Ren, Li Chang, Zhang
Bingyao, Qi Mudong, Zhang Chongqing, He Yunlan,
Yie Ming, An Lin, Wang Xiping, Sun Mu, and Li
Dequan. You laid the foundation for me to pursue
and achieve what I have today. You nurtured and
motivated me to start my theatre design career. Your
influence has changed my life.
Thanks to the professors in the Department
of Theatre Arts at Utah State University, Colin B.
Johnson, Sid Perkes, and Bruce E. McInroy, for your
kindness, advice, and support. You taught me how
to survive in the United States and were patient and
understanding at all times. I greatly treasure your
Thanks to all my former chairmen with whom
I worked: Sid Perks, Bruce A. Levitt, Wesley Van
Tassel, and Donald Seay. Thank you for being won-
derful, understanding leaders and for teaching me
discipline and timeliness. Your positivity will always
Thanks to the UCF Faculty Center for Teaching
and Learning computer lab professors and staff
for all your great help whenever I needed it for my
classes and computer problems.
Thanks to the entire faculty and staff in the
department of theatre at the University of Central
Florida for all your help, support, and kindness.
Thanks to my dear friends Xiangyun Jie, Julia
Zheng, Helen Huang, Peiran Teng, Dunsi Dai,
Liming Tang, HaiBou Yu, Zhang Chongqing, and
Rujun Wang for giving me unconditional support
and advice. You put a smile on my face when I
needed it most.
Thank you to my parents for shaping me into
the person I am today. A big thank you goes to my
daughter, Yingtao Zhang, for all your inspirational
ideas and unending support and encouragement.
Thanks to my husband, Juli Zhang, for encouraging
me and helping me to succeed in my own professional life.
Finally, thank you to all my students for your tolerance and for allowing me to be your instructor.
his book is visually oriented to provide a
simple, viewable guide that focuses on the
principles and formats of character costume
figure drawings. Throughout all the illustrations,
you will see dimension and diversity in the characters. Facial expressions, body language, body action,
and props are incorporated to clearly characterize
What Makes a Good Theatrical
I would never say that a person who draws beautiful
pictures is always a good costume designer. A good
costume designer must have many other qualities
and capabilities, such as imagination and knowledge
in theatre, world history, theatre history, costume
history, and literature. The designer must retain
good communication and organizational skills;
possess research and technical skills like drawing,
rendering, computer graphics, costume construction, crafts, millinery, and personnel management;
be a good team player; and even be in good health.
All these factors make a wonderfully ideal costume
designer. Drawing and painting skills are tools for
helping a designer develop and express visual images
and design concepts. Renderings are not the final
product, the final product is the actual stage costume
made suitable and proper for the actors.
The Importance of Personality and
To capture the impression of a character’s spirit
is always a goal when developing character figure
drawings. By nature, we all relate to human emotion
because we all experience it. Characters are human
beings, and human beings all possess personalities.
To portray a character’s emotions and personality
on paper is a challenge, but well worth the results.
When I create costume designs, I try not only to
illustrate the costumes, but also to portray a completed characterization. I try to manipulate every
body part to build compositional beauty and artistically express the power of a character’s substance.
Every gesture, action, facial expression, and accessory will add meaning and entertainment to the
design. People say that we should not judge a person
by his or her appearance, but when an actor appears
on stage, his or her appearance becomes significant.
The character’s body language reflects the soul and
spirit of the character, and an interesting gesture
helps to display the style of the costumes. Using
body language to emphasize the personality and status of a character is to give the character an exciting
appearance. Character figures enhance and adorn
the costume designs, and they communicate with
the director, actor, other designers, and the production team. Expressing the personality of the character in your drawings is like the saying, “A picture is
worth a thousand words.”
viii M INTRODUCTION
Philosophy for Drawing
Drawing human figures should be fun. Nobody was
born an innate artist and nobody will become one
overnight, but I believe that with some effort, anybody can draw. Although improving your drawing
skills requires tremendous effort, enjoying it and being interested will greatly help. When you are driven
to do well, you will. Watch, listen, and absorb.
To develop a more positive attitude, consider this:
Just do it. Work helps. Avoid a pessimistic and sluggish
attitude. Desire and dedication are the discipline of a
career, and work is the language of that discipline.
Drawing the Figure
y objective in writing this book is to show how to draw figures using a simple and
easy drawing method. Specifically, the book is intended to help theatre students
improve their drawing skills so that they can give effective design presentations.
Most theatre students do not have any solid drawing training, nor do they have any human
anatomy or figure-drawing courses in their curricula. Drawing requires a lot of practice and
knowledge of the proportions of the human body. I believe that with effort, anybody can
Theatre students typically have to do production assignments and work in the shops, helping to build either scenery or costumes for the production. Their time is occupied with those
assignments, leaving them little time to improve their drawing skills. That is why I am trying
to find a short, easy, and fast way to help them improve their drawing abilities. The methods
in this book can be used without a model. However, if theatre students have the opportunity
to draw the human figure from live models, they should do so. Drawing live models is a tremendous help in understanding the human body.
2 M CHAPTER 1
PROPORTIONS OF THE BODY
There are many concepts or methods for measuring
the divisions of the human body. The eight-heads-tall
figure proportion method is often used by artists or
fashion illustrators. Some fashion drawings may use
eight-and-a-half- or nine-heads-tall figures to demonstrate the garments, using a slim, sophisticated
image. Realism is not intent of fashion designers or
illustrators. Rather, their objective is to create a stylized or exaggerated version of reality, which today is
a tall, slim, and athletic figure, with a long neck and
long legs. Fashion illustrations emphasize the current
ideals or trends of fashion beauty. The thin body and
specific poses are designed to enhance the garments.
Fashion illustrators are creating the images of fashionable products to stimulate customers to purchase
the garments. Beautiful illustrations can impress and
influence customers to buy and wear the advertised
Costume designs for theatrical productions are
quite different from fashion illustrations. The
costume designer uses the history of fashion as a
reference for creating costumes for many varieties of
characters or groups of characters in plays. The characters are everyday-life people: young or old, thin or
heavy, short or tall, with different nationalities and
particular personalities. Costume design for productions requires creating practical garments that are
going to be worn on stage by believable characters
who have well-defined personalities. Sometimes a
well-defined character costume design can inspire
the actors and enhance the design presentation for
the production team. In my drawings and designs, I
try to emphasize a realistic style of body proportions,
but I use slightly exaggerated facial features and
body language to create characters with personality.
The real creative challenge is how to express personalities of characters.
Most of the proportions of the body that I used in
this book are based on the theories of proportions
used in many other art books. There are fantastic
art books from which you can learn about the
proportions of the body and about figure drawing
techniques, such as Bridgman’s Complete Guide to
Drawing from Life, by George B. Bridgman; The
Complete Book of Fashion Illustration, by Sharon
Lee Tale and Mona Shafer Edwards; The Human
Figure: An Anatomy for Artists, by David K. Rubins;
Drawing the Head and Figure, by Jack Hamm; and
Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, by Betty
Edwards. These books helped me improve my understanding of the human body and taught me how to
present the body well. You can study the rules and
principles of figure drawing but you have to learn
how to use them through practice.
To give my characters a realistic appearance, I
slightly change the size of the head. Compared to
the eight-heads-tall proportions, I enlarge the head
to extend outside the usual boundary of the first
head area. This enlarges the head in proportion to
the top half of the body. I keep the feet within the
bottom-half portion of the body. When I start the
foundation of a figure, however, I still start with the
eight-heads-tall method because it is an even number
and easier to divide for calculation purposes. My divisions on the body may differ from other books, but
the measurements work for my figure drawings. My
primary intent is to have a system that is easy to use.
The key for developing a character figure drawing
that is in proportion is to keep the top half (from
the crotch up to the top of the skull) equal to the
bottom half (from the crotch down to the bottom of
the feet). The crotch is the main division point. The
head can actually be made either a little bigger or
smaller. A small head will make the figure look taller
or thinner; a bigger head will make the figure look
shorter or chubbier. When keeping these measurements in mind, the figure will always look right.
I recommend that you use the following steps to
create a figure drawing, until you become familiar
with body proportions. Refer to Figures 1-1 and 1-2
as you complete these steps.
1. Place two marks on the paper — one on the
top portion of the page, one on the bottom
portion of the page — to indicate the height of
the body. Then draw a vertical line from the
top mark to the bottom mark. The composition of the figure should be considered; that
is, keeping the figure centered or off-centered,
more to the left or to the right side, and so on.
These guidelines control the figure height.
2. Draw a mark at the middle point of the vertical line to find the middle point of the body.
This mark is where the crotch is located and is
also the half-height of the body. I am going to
call the area from this mark up the upper half
of the body. To me, this mark is the most critical reference point for good proportions of the
body. (See Figure 1-1, mark #5.)
3. Divide the upper body from the top mark to
the crotch line into four equal parts. This creates five marks but four portions. Number all
the marks: The very top mark, mark #1, is the
top of the skull; we won’t use mark #2; mark
#3 is the armpit; mark #4 is the waistline; and
mark #5 is the half-body mark (it is also the
crotch, pelvis, or hipline). The very bottom
mark drawn in step 1 is mark #6. I will refer
by numbers to these six marks extensively in
the discussion that follows.
4. Make the head bigger compared to mark #2
(usually considered the chin in measurement
Drawing the Figure M 3
systems used in other drawing books). The
head will be increased by adding a distance
approximately the size of a chin from mark
#2 down (see letter A on the sketch in Figure
1-1). This shortens the neck. Fashion drawings
usually are just the opposite, showing a longer
neck. The mark at letter A is going to be the
bottom of the chin.
5. Draw an egg-shaped frame between the top
mark and the chin mark, A, to indicate the
shape of the head.
into four equal parts. The first mark is the
top of the pelvis (see letter G in Figure 1-1).
The male pelvis width is different from the
female. The female hip width is usually wider
than her shoulders. The male hip width is
less wide than the shoulders. For both males
and females, the width of the top of the pelvis
1-1 Proportion of the Body, Marks A through H
The top of the skull
6. Divide the distance between mark #2 and the
armpit line (mark #3) in half and mark it as letter B; this mark is going to be the shoulder line
or collarbone. Generally speaking, the width of
the shoulders is a measurement about two heads
wide for females and two-and-a-half heads wide
for males. Measure the width of the shoulders
and add two marks (see letter C in Figure 1-1).
7. Divide the distance between mark #2 and
the shoulder line, B, in half and add another
mark. This mark helps to establish the
shoulder-slope line (see letter D in Figure 1-1).
Look at the sketch and review this in detail.
1/2 height of the
8. Divide the distance between the armpit (mark
#3) and the waistline (mark #4) into four
equal parts. Now you have drawn three marks
to create four parts. The first mark from the
top of this group is the bustline (see letter E
in Figure 1-1); this mark usually refers to the
nipples position or bustline. The third mark
from the top is the bottom of the rib cage (see
letter F in Figure 1-1). The second mark is not
9. Divide the distance between the waistline
(mark #4) and the crotch or hipline (mark #5)
usually equals the width of the bottom of the
rib cage or chest. The bottom of the pelvis/
hipline/crotch line is wider than width of the
the top of the pelvis (see letter H in Figure 1-1).
The hipline’s width will depend on whether
you are drawing a female or male. The other
two marks are not used.
The bottom of the
The width of the shoulders
The bottom of the rib cage
The width of the top of
The width of the bottom
of the pelvis or hipline
4 M CHAPTER 1
10. Treat the chest/rib cage as a tapered box (refer
to Figure 1-2). Connect the shoulder line with
the bottom of the rib cage to make a tapereddown box. The shoulder should be wider than
the bottom of the rib cage. Keep both sides
of the body symmetrical with the body centerline. The pit of the neck is at the middle of
the shoulder line — it is the body centerline.
11. Treat the pelvis as a tapered-up box. Connect
the top of the pelvis line with the bottom of
the pelvis line (mark #5, also the hipline/
crotch line) to draw a tapered-up box. The
female hipline is wider than the male hipline.
12. The area from the crotch down will be for
the legs and feet. The legs join the pelvis at
the hipline. Before starting to draw the legs,
1-2 Proportion of the Body, Marks I through M
The pit of the
neck is at the
The pit of the
The elbow is at
1/2 the length
of the arm.
is at 1/2 the
length of the leg.
divide the distance between mark #5 (crotch
line) and mark #6 (the bottom of the feet) into
four equal parts. Then mark them from the
top down (see letters I, J, and K in Figure 1-2).
13. Divide the distance between K and mark #6
into three equal parts. The feet are drawn in
the bottom third (see letter L in Figure 1-2).
14. Draw two lines from both corners of mark #5
(hipline/crotch) down to letter L to indicate
the legs. Keep them symmetrical. Then divide
these two lines in half; the middle marks on
these two lines are the knee positions (see letter M in Figure 1-2). This method of drawing
leg length avoids the leggy look of fashionillustration figures. Our objective is to create
a realistic look corresponding to the actors,
rather than a fashion ideal.
15. The arms join to the chest at the shoulder
line. In human anatomy theory, the upper
arm from the shoulder to the elbow is longer
than the distance from the elbow to wrist. In
my method, I treat them as two equal parts
in length for an easy calculation ratio. When
the arm is hanging down, the elbow usually
lines up with the waistline. The measurement
from the shoulder to the elbow should equal
the measurement from the elbow to the wrist.
From the elbow joint, measure down to indicate the placement of the wrist.
16. Add hands to the wrists. The fingertips usually stop at letter I (the fifth head in other
books). Asian people often have shorter arms,
African people usually have longer arms, and
Caucasians often have arms that are longer
than Asians’ but shorter than Africans’. There
are many variations and exceptions to any racial generality.
Drawing the Figure M 5
17. As shown in Figure 1-3, contour the body according to the basic bone/stick structure (see
the section, “Contouring the Stick Figure”).
Figures 1-4 and 1-5 show the contouring lines
for the male and female body, respectively.
The proportions of the body, either seven- or
eight-heads tall, work only for the body standing in
a straight position. When the body is bending or the
head is facing up or down, you cannot apply the measurements to the body because of foreshortening.
1-3 Proportions of the Body, Stick Structure, Front and
The body measurement methods used in this
book are not the only methods you should follow,
but I recommend you use my system as a guide or
reference for drawing stage costumes.
1-4 Contouring Lines for the Male Body, Front and Back
6 M CHAPTER 1
1-5 Contouring Lines for the Female Body, Front and Back
THE BASIC BONE STRUCTURE
OF THE BODY
The bone structure in this book is symbolic and
abstract. It is not my intention to copy the real human skeleton. My objective in using a simple and
abstract bone structure is to make it easier to draw
and understand, and easier to obtain the proper
proportions of the figures. The shape of the human body is complex. To draw it well, you need to
spend extensive time studying bones and muscles.
Unfortunately, in most cases, theatre students don’t
have a long time to study the human anatomy. The
simplified abstract bone structure used here is going
to help students to better understand the human
body and its movements (see Figure 1-6).
The skeleton dominates and directs all surfaces
of the body, and the bone joints determine and
dominate all the movements of the body. We must
discuss the basic bone structure of the human body
to understand body movements. To keep it clear and
simple, my discussion is focused on the basic length
and width of the outer edges of the skeleton, and
on the major joints of the skeleton. The outer edges
of the skeleton include the outline of the skull and
the outline, or frame, of the chest and pelvis masses.
The major joints include the spine, shoulder, elbow,
wrist, hip/leg, knee, and ankle. In real life, the chest
and pelvis are irregular shapes. In this book, I am
going to use either boxes or abstract shapes to demonstrate the body parts. Small circles will be used
for each joint. Abstract sticks will be used for the
length of the bone. The length of the bones between
the forearm and upper arm, and between the lower
leg and thigh, may differ in real skeletons, but I will
make them equal distances here because it will be
easier to calculate the proportion ratio.
Drawing the Figure M 7
The Joints of the Body
Joints connect or hinge together two things. There
are many joints on the human body. The spine joins
the head mass, chest mass, and pelvis mass. The collarbone, shoulder blade, and arm are joined together
at the shoulder and connected with the chest as a
unit. Joints are capable of moving in many directions
within their limitations. Each arm has its own joints:
shoulder, elbow, wrist, and finger. Each leg also
has its joints: hip, knee, ankle, and toe. Each joint
directs body movements. In figure drawing, when
joints are in the correct positions, they will show
comfortable movements and body rhythm with natu-
1-6 The Abstract Skeleton of the Body and Its Joints
ral expressiveness as a whole. Incorrect positions will
make the figures seem stiff or lopsided. Through our
experiences during our daily activities, we know how
joints work. But showing the joints properly through
drawing is critical and requires practice. The bone
joints allow us to move our body parts comfortably
and also inform us of the limitations of our joints.
Consider and study how your own joints work; practice stick figure drawings to analyze the joint functions and limitations in different positions.
The Head, Chest, and Pelvis
There are three major masses of the human
body — the head, chest, and pelvis. They are joined
together by the spine, which controls the movements
and turning directions of the head, chest, and pelvis.
The significant fact here is that these three masses
are able to move independently of one another (see
Making the three masses move in different directions will add dramatic excitement and personality to
the figure. When the body moves, the balance has to
be maintained. The proper angles between the body
masses maintain this balance. The neck area of the
spine usually has more flexibility than the lumbar
spine. The flexible spine allows the head, chest,
and pelvis to face up, down, or sideways, or to turn
around. When each mass faces in different directions, you will see twisting movements.
When the body is in action, the body centerline
becomes curved. This line can also be called the action line. When the body bends or twists, it creates
angles or curves between each mass. If the body is in
standing position, you will see the level of each mass
forming a 90-degree right angle to the spine — the
centerline of the body. When the body bends forward, it brings the front of the chest and the front
8 M CHAPTER 1
of the pelvis close together to form an angle, while
stretching the distance between the back of the
chest and pelvis, forming a curved line. When the
body bends to either side, it brings one side of the
chest and one side of the pelvis close together, forming an angle between them, and stretches the dis-
tance between the other side of the chest and pelvis,
forming a curved line. You will see the same pattern
when the body bends backward. When the body is
in a twisting position, the body centerline and the
outline of the body become curvy lines rather than
sharp angles. The three masses can be turned and
twisted in different directions within spine limitations, but the chest and pelvis always move in opposite directions from each other in order to keep the
body in balance; otherwise, the body would fall.
A small turn of the body gives some action to the
figure. A full or exaggerated turn or twisting of the
1-7 The Body Masses and Their Movements
The head, chest, and pelvis are joined together by the spine and move independently of one another.
Make the blocks move in different directions to add dramatic excitement and personality to the figure.
Drawing the Figure M 9
body increases the dramatic action and attitude of
the character, and gives a loud or screaming emotional statement. Try to manipulate these three masses by
turning them in different directions, allowing them
to speak for your characters’ actions. When you make
the three masses face different directions (see Figure
1-8), you will immediately see your character alive
and active. It is essential in character drawing to es-
tablish the relationships of the head to the torso, the
head to the neck, the head to the chest, and the chest
to the pelvis. These relationships portray a great deal
of the personality of the character.
1-8 Turning the Three Body Masses
This side of the body is
This side of the body is
This side of the body
forms an angle.
When the body
is in a twisting
This side of the body
forms an angle.
This side of the body
forms an angle.
to the side
Body in a
10 M CHAPTER 1
The Relationships between the
Limbs and Body Masses
We have discussed how the arms are joined to the
chest, and how the legs are joined to the hipbone/
pelvis. Therefore, when the chest and pelvis move in
different directions, the arms should follow the chest
as a unit, and the legs should follow the pelvis as a
unit. The limbs cannot be considered as separate objects from their units (see Figure 1-9). For example,
when the body is in an erect standing position, the
chest and pelvis masses are in horizontal lines parallel to each other. The joints of the shoulder, elbow,
and wrist as well as the joints of the hip, knee, and
ankle will be parallel to their units. But when the
chest moves in a direction that makes the right side
of the shoulder higher than the left side, the right
shoulder and arm will go higher as well. When many
students draw this position, they draw the arms at
the same level. They forget the arms are connected
to the chest mass.
Arm and leg movements also partially control the
levels of the chest and pelvis. When one arm rises
higher than the other arm, the shoulder of the rising arm will go higher. When one leg supports the
weight of the body, this leg will push this side of
the pelvis higher and in a tilted position. The pelvis
can be pushed up because the flexible lumbar spine
allows the pelvis to be tilted. The relaxed-leg side
of the pelvis line and hipline will be dropped. The
nonsupporting leg usually steps forward, keeping
a relaxed or bending position to compensate for
the length of the weighted leg and the drop of the
Most costume designers create their figures for
designing costumes without live models. They draw
the figures from their heads or from reference books
or magazines. Once you understand how the human
structure and joints work, you will feel at ease and
comfortable with your drawings. You will be able to
create your own characters of motion in a variety of
positions in order to demonstrate the costumes and
personalities of the roles in the play.
THE BALANCE OF THE BODY
The human body is uniquely and symmetrically balanced. The human body also has a natural balance
ability. The weight of the body often swings back
and forth from one leg to the other when the body
is walking. When the body is turning or twisting,
it creates angles and curves in order to keep the
body balanced. This principle is like the balance
in a sculptured object. If the bottom portion of the
sculpture leans to one side, then the top portion of
the sculpture must lean in the opposite direction to
maintain the balance of the whole piece. To create a
more sophisticated sense of movements or actions,
define the body language by employing twisted angles and curves faced in different directions. To keep
the body well-balanced, locate the center of gravity
for the figure. These are the important elements
in helping us understand and draw human figures.
Keep the movement liquid and the balance solid.
Weight on Both Legs
The spine is the centerline of the body, from where
all body parts are symmetrically balanced. The joints
of the body are lined up and parallel to each other.
Due to the force of gravity, no matter how the body
moves, there is always a center of gravity line from
the pit of the neck directly down to the ground. This
gravity line will never change to curved or angled,
but the body centerline will change to curved when
the body is in action.
Drawing the Figure M 11
1-9 The Relationships between the Limbs and the Three Masses
The chest and arms
move as a unit.
When the body is in
action, the body centerline
The spine controls the
movements and turning
directions of the head,
chest, and pelvis.
The arm and leg movements
control the levels of the chest
leg pushes the pelvis in
a tilted position.
The pelvis and legs
move as a unit.
12 M CHAPTER 1
When the body is standing straight, all body
weight is distributed equally on two legs (see
Figure 1-10). The body centerline is straight. The
center of gravity line overlaps with the body centerline, starting from the pit of the neck and extending
directly down between the middle of the two feet to
the ground, whether the feet are in a closed or open
position. All the horizontal lines (the shoulder line,
bustline, waistline, pelvis line, hipline) are parallel to
the ground and form 90-degree angles with the body
Figures 1-11 through 1-16 are design samples
showing weight on both legs.
1-10 Weight on Both Legs
The pit of the neck is
the center of gravity line
and the body centerline.
The crotch is at
1/2 the height of
The elbow is at
1/2 the length of
is at 1/2 the
of gravity line
The weight on both legs
All the horizontal
body lines are
parallel to the ground
and form 90-degree
angles with the
center of gravity line.
Author Tan Huaixiang Isbn 9780240805344 File size 17 Mb Year 2004 Pages 304 Language English File format PDF Category Drawing Book Description: FacebookTwitterGoogle+TumblrDiggMySpaceShare This book is very detailed in showing how to draw the human figure and facial features… it has greatly improved my ability to draw for costume and fashion. I’d recommend this book to anyone who needs a little help with drawing a human form with garments and attitude. It made a HUGE difference for me. Download (17 Mb) Draw Cartoon People In 4 Easy Steps: Then Write A Story (drawing In 4 Easy Steps) By Stephanie Labaff How to Draw What You See, 35th Anniversary Edition Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators How To Draw Amazing Animals (smithsonian Drawing Books) Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, 4th edition Load more posts