The Human Body and Its Extremities

In This Chapter

V Drawing the human figure

V Gesture is all

V A feel for body parts

V Form and proportion

A drawing of the nude is the most revealing form of artistic expression simply because it is the most immediate and the most personal.

—Mervyn Levy, The Artist and the Nude, (New York: Clarkson Potter, 1965).

We are fascinated and enticed by the figure, the most single expressive subject for artistic exploration. When we draw the figure, are we drawing ourselves or all humanity? Perhaps it doesn't matter—the figure attracts us, whatever the reason.

Your sketchbook will be your greatest asset in learning to draw from the figure. Constant sketching is the way to an understanding of the figure and an ability to quickly see and draw a gesture. The more you draw, the more you will see. Your drawings will quickly gain grace, proportion, and form. You will be able to use your own creativity, and your work will be original and unique.

Like the four-footed and winged animals you worked on in Chapter 20, "It's a Jungle Out There—So Draw It!," people move around a lot. Get used to it. Work with the knowledge that they will move and you won't be disappointed.

Drawing people is virtually impossible without a working understanding of the nude figure. Once you do learn it, you may find the shapes and beauty of the figure become your favorite image.

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