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     Since we did the portrait series, I have received a good deal of e-mail asking if I might assist in the area of measurements of the human form. Seems that a good many folks are having problems keeping the body in proportion. Guess what; that is ALWAYS the problem. At any rate, here are a few tips on measurements and perspective I think may help some of you to get the proportions more accurate.

     Methods of Taking Measurements
  1. The arm is held directly out in front with the elbow kept rigid.
  2. A pencil, or the imaginary line of the "claw" between thumb and index finger is kept parallel (in the same place as) your face, which is in turn parallel with the model.
For Example;
If you are looking at a model you can quickly take the distance between the top of the head and the bottom of the chin, and then either with pencil or claw, move down in the same parallel line to see how many "heads" are in that pose. There happen to be slightly over seven in the pose above. If the perspective were different there would be more or fewer "heads". Tick the line to which the feet will come. The big toe is about seven heads. Put a light perpendicular line down the page as shown. Taking the head measurement again go across from the perpendicular to see how many heads the toe is from it, and tick there. It is about three and a half on the above figure. The knee point (patella) is about three heads across and three heads down. With only a few basic measurements which have relation to the head and the pertinent ticks on the page the figure can be roughed in and developed in proportion.

     Above shows how the head measurement with the body in this position, can be used to take relative measurements, to keep the figure in proportion.

The Three Cannons Of The Human Figure
Thanks to our predecessors, and all they did and said on the subject, we arrive at the following conclusions:
  1. There are three canons for determining the proportions of the human figure:
    1. (a) A canon of seven and a half heads for the ordinary figure (fig.1).
      (b) A canon of eight heads for the ideal figure (fig.2).
      (c) A canon of eight and a half heads for the heroic figure (fig.3).
  2. The canon normally used by artists is the eight head canon, which corresponds to the proportions of the ideal figure (fig.2).
Let us now consider the practical application of these conclusions: