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When we think of portraits we may automatically think of the head alone, but nearly every
portrait you'll ever paint will include more of the subject's body than just the head. There will be
the neck, perhaps the shoulders, frequently the torso, arms, and hands, and occasionally the legs
and feet as well.
The material in these next lessons will help you understand the construction of the parts of the
body, how these parts interrelate, and how their construction determines natural movement. To
get to know the way the body moves, it's helpful, and even fun, to draw from a jointed wooden
mannequin. The adult proportioned mannequin can be arranged in nearly any pose the human
body will assume. If you can't find them in your local art store, you can buy them from artist's
supply catalogs.

The neck can be thought of as a cylinder, a very strong column rising from the sloping platform of
the shoulders, as you see in the illustration above. 
Study the drawings. There are seven vertebrae in the neck, each capable of movement, like links in
a chain. This allows the head to turn and twist in every direction except 360 degrees to the back. 
Notice that the neck isn't perfectly straight. It projects forward even when we are setting up very
The strength of the neck is at the back, where the trapezius muscles rise from well below the
shoulder blades, and extend out to the shoulders and up to the base of the skull, as shown in the
illustration. These trapezius muscles hold the head erect. 
The neck, at the back, begins at a point on a level with the ear opening and the base of the nose.
From the front, the visible neck begins at the chin and extends this same distance downward to the
collarbone protrusions. Study the drawings above, 
Descending from behind the ears to a pit at the base of the front of the neck are two slender muscles called "bonnet strings" or sternomastoid muscles. These pull the head forward and back and allow the head to turn from side to side. Between these muscles, at the front, you will see a man's larynx or Adams apple. 
Notice that the neck can be stationary and still allow the head to nod forward and be thrown back, as shown here. 
Until a child is three or four months old, the neck is too weak to support the head, which is proportionately very large for the body. The neck in a new-born baby and up to age two is hardly visible as such, but may be indicated by creases in rolls of fatty tissue. As the child grows the neck becomes more perceptible and takes on a rather slender delicate appearance. 
When a boy of sixteen or seventeen becomes active in athletics, the neck thickens. As a portrait painter, you should watch for this, as the heavy, sturdier neck is a good way to indicate a young man growing out of boyhood. All professional athletes show great strength in the neck. 
Michealangelo gave all his people sturdy necks, both men and women. There is something heroic about a very strong neck in a painted image. 
The pit at the front base of the neck has two small bony protuberances rising on either side.
These are the inner ends of the collarbones, the clavicles, which attach at this central point to the
breastbone, or sternum. The opposite ends of these collarbones extend outward to the shoulders.
The shoulders appear as round and full forms. One shoulder can be raised independently of the
other, but in most portraits the shoulders are the same height or very near it, unless one elbow is
leaning on the arm of a chair or something similar. As the elbow is higher, so is the shoulder.
The upper half of the torso is the cone shaped rib cage called the thorax. This "cage" is constructed of the twelve curved ribs on either side which connect to the sternum in the front and the spine in the back. 
The upper back of the torso is relatively flat, for there is a flat shoulder blade, or Scapula, on either side of the spine partially covering the rib cage. The top edge of this scapula parallels the slope of the shoulder and is thicker at the outer corner where it forms the shoulder joint as a socket for the bone of the upper arm. As a person ages, the upper back becomes more rounded, less flat. 
The torso is capable of twisting, bending from side to side, and bending forward and backward, but all this movement occurs only at the waist. The chest and the hips are relatively stationary.
The lower part of the torso is the pelvis, which is made up of the flat sacrum at the base of the spine and a hip bone on either side. The pelvis functions as one stationary unit and no part is capable of movement independently of the other two parts. The hip bones flare out at right angles to each other; each has a ridge at the top called the iliac crest which travels from the back to the front of the body. The lower front corners of these bones meet at center front and form the pelvis, the lowest point at the front of the torso. At the outer edge of each hip bone is a socket fitted with
the ball end of the femur, a neck-like extension of the thigh bone. 
Stand up and raise your leg to the side, as if you were getting on a bicycle, and feel with your hand
where the leg swings out. This spot, the hipline, is critically important to the artist. When drawing the full-length figure, this is where the body divides in half vertically - that is, the distance from the top of the head to the hipline is an equal measure to the distance from the hipline to the soles of the feet. Also, when the arm is hanging straight down at one's side, the line aligns with the inner wrist. 
An artist visualizes this complex machine which is our body in terms of the most simple masses.
Thus, blocking in the torso is accomplished quite effectively by drawing the thoracic area as an egg, the pelvic area as a block, and connecting the two with the flexible spine. 
(note; Remember, the torso is not really a flexible sausage. There can only be movement front to back, side to side, and twisting movement AT THE WAIST, the area between the rib cage and the pelvis.) 
Just as the vertical centerline and the horizontal center, or eyeline, are of critical importance when blocking in the head, so the centerline of the torso, both front and back, is extremely important in drawing your figure correctly. In anatomy, this is known as the median line. It's a good idea to use this line as a checkpoint if your figure drawing seems to be incorrect, particularly in the three-quarter view when your figure is in perspective. AND when you are painting portraits, the buttons of a shirt must fall on this centerline. 
By drawing a line across the upper chest through the mass of the deltoid muscles, at the heads of
the humerus bones and slightly above the armpits, you'll discover the broadest part of the entire body. The shoulders are NOT broadest at their upper corners! Study the arm carefully; From this point of greatest thickness near the shoulders, the arm begins to taper until it becomes smallest at the wrist. 

The arms are capable of radical movement in any direction at the shoulder joint. At the elbow,
only side-to-side and forward movement is possible. The upper arm is round and is made up of
only one bone, the humerus. Deltoid, biceps, and triceps muscles are prominent in the male. These
muscles are less pronounced in the female.
The forearm is made up of two long bones, the radius and the ulna. It is heaviest near the elbow,
where it is round. Two-thirds of the way down it tapers to a flat mass at the wrist.
Holding your hand flat, palm up, the ulna is on the little finger side. This bone is larger at the
elbow and smaller at the waist. The radius is the bone on the thumb side, and is larger on the wrist
end, smaller at the elbow end. When you turn your hand over, palm down, the position of the
radius and the ulna don't change at the elbow end, but midway down the forearm the radius twists
over the ulna, allowing the hand to lie flat in this position as well. Try this; with your hand, you
can easily feel the interaction of these two bones.
There is a sharper angle at the outside of the elbow joint, a rounder curve inside. When the arm is
bent (hands resting in lap or elbow leaning on arm of chair), the point of the elbow is found under
the CENTER of the upper arm, not in a line with the back of the upper arm. Shown in drawing
above. (line A to A)

MAKING THE ARM TOO STRINGY AND WITHOUT FORM: This is really the only major fault
in drawing the arm. The bare arms on a muscular man are easy to draw, but how many portraits of
athletes will come under your brush in your lifetime? Try to paint the bare arms of an
eight-year-old boy. Now there's a task to test you mettle! And slender young women, too - not so
easy. For one thing, the arms DO look stringy, but you as an artist must add form and solidity.
TIP: As you study that thin little arm, you really need something to go ACROSS the form. This is
where your artistry comes in. Put the paint on across the form to indicate its roundness. This truly
is the answer. NEVER paint an arm with up-and-down longitudinal strokes.
The most natural way to construct the arm is to block it in as two cylinders of approximately the
same length: one for the upper arm, from the top of the shoulder to elbow; and one for the forearm, from the elbow to the wrist.