Simplifying the body

A common way to simplify the body is to draw a manikin from balls and cylinders.

Wooden Human Figures For Drawing

Figure 2.40. A manikin

Looks a lot like the little wooden models you can buy at any art store, right? The head is somewhat closer to the shape of a skull, and the pelvis is closer to the shape of a real one. And while a normal wooden manikin has its shoulders held to the torso with bits of wire, ours has alien anti-gravity technology. This allows them to move around like a real shoulder can. In the side view you can see how the chest and the pelvis are tilted a little bit to follow the natural curve of the spine.

Another simplification is the ball and stick figure, which models the largest bones and joints in the body. It is great for quick sketching, but it does not show overlapping, foreshortening, and mass as well as a solid figure:

Foreshortening Stick Figure
Figure 2.41. Stick figure and solid model

As an alternative for the ball and stick figure, you can also draw a simplified skeleton. This can be useful in the case you have a difficult pose and no good reference — and you are really hell-bent on doing it exactly like you had it in mind.

Gesture Drawing Benting Human Figure
Figure 2.42. Using a simplified skeleton

Although it does not have much mass, it does show more depth than a stick figure. The extra work you have put in drawing a ribcage, clavicles, a pelvis, and whatnot, will pay off by the time you need the anchor points for your muscles.

Human Figure

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