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;

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:
• The seven and a half canon may be used for drawing ordinary figures taken from everyday life. It is the anonymous figure that represents the neighbor across the street or the man in the corner store - the man in the street. The shortish figure, about 5'6" or 5'8" tall, on the stout side, has a rather large head in proportion to the size of the body, the thighs, and the legs. (fig.1)
• The eight and a half canon may be used for exceptional cases, for idealized and exaggerated legendary figures (fig.3). This is the figure normally used by comic strip illustrators; it has a small head in relation to its body and long legs. This is the heroic figure who goes by the name of Superman or Batman. It can also be used for the biblical Moses or the legendary El Cid in religious and historical paintings.
• Let us now study the ideal figure of eight heads (fig.3), using it as the basis for our knowledge of the proportions and dimensions of the human body. Pay great attention to the next page since, along with our knowledge of human anatomy, it represents an extremely important step toward a perfect grasp of the technique of figure drawing.

PAGE TWO HERE!

E-mail: elliot@eurekanet.com