Now draw a vertical line that bisects the center of the circle, as shown in Figure 5.8. Although the line might not fall directly between the figure's feet, it does fall between them. Most poses have more weight on one foot than on the other, so the line will rarely be in the exact center. You also need to think three-dimensionally. In this example the character is standing at an angle to us, so that will affect the center line as well. Figure 5.8 Draw a vertical line through the center of the circle.
Now draw the action line that shows the line of motion for the figure, as shown in Figure 5.9. Compare the action line with the vertical center of mass line. A balanced standing figure's action line and center of mass line will be roughly the same. The closer these two line are, the more evenly distributed the body weight will be between the figure's legs. Use these lines to check the balance of your character.
Figure 5.9 Draw the action line.
Figure 5.9 Draw the action line.
This method of checking the balance of a figure is a good way to understand whether your drawing will look right. Let's see how it works for a figure that is off balance. Look at Figure 5.10. I have drawn in the center of mass line. Notice how it is shifted to the right. The figure looks like he should be sitting or leaning on something.
When the action line is drawn, you can see that it does not match the center of mass line very well, as shown in Figure 5.11. The more deviation between the action line and the center of mass line, the more likely the character is out of balance.
One caution about this method is worth mentioning: You need to examine the figure from several different angles. Figures exist in 3D space even though your drawings will be in 2D. Often from a specific angle, the action line will match the center of mass line. For example, look at the three views of the figure in Figure 5.12.
The figure is definitely not balanced, yet in the first view on the left, the lines correspond well to each other. However, if you look at
the figure from other angles, the lines diverge distinctly. One of the advantages of having a virtual 3D model to draw from is that you can check the model from multiple angles to make sure it is correct before you start your drawing.
Hip and Shoulder Relationship
One of the most interesting aspects of the human body is the spine. The spine is a flexible segmented series of bones that runs from the pelvis to the skull. The spine connects our upper body with our lower body. One of the advantages of flexibility in the spine is that it helps us to keep our balance while standing or walking. For example, when a person walks, the hips will tilt from side to side. If the spine were not flexible, the tilting of the pelvis would throw the body off-balance. Because the spine is flexible, it bends and shifts the weight of the upper torso to compensate and counterbalance the tilting of the pelvis.
Usually the hips and pelvis move in opposite directions to try to keep the body in balance. In art, this opposing movement is called contrapposto and often an artist will accentuate the shift because it creates a more interesting pose.
Figure Artist has a feature called the Hip-Shoulder Relationship
Guide that helps the artist to see the relationship of the hips to the shoulders. The shoulders are represented by a blue rectangle and the hips are represented by a yellow rectangle. When this feature is turned on, it is easy to see the position of the hips in relation to the shoulders. The guide is pictured in Figure 5.13.
In this example, the skeleton is in the act of walking. Notice how the right hip is up while the right shoulder is down. Figure 5.14 shows the curvature of the spine.
Figure 5.13 The Hip-Shoulder Relationship Guide Figure 5.14 The spine twists and turns as a person helps to show the shift of the hips and shoulders. walks.
Every figure in life has some weight unless it is floating in outer space. Weight is closely related to balance in that without weight, balance is not an issue. A figure's weight is a combination of mass and gravity. Gravity is constantly pulling a figure toward the ground. The figure's skeletal and muscular systems work together to help the figure stand, move, and essentially fight the effects of gravity. When working with a virtual figure in a virtual setting, you'll find that the model will often seem to have no weight. This can be a problem if you are working toward a realistic picture. When posing a figure, you have to take weight into account.
Figure 5.15 shows a figure in the act of lifting an object. Even though the object is missing, there is a sense of weight to both the figure and the object. This is because the figure is firmly planted on the ground and his body is bent to indicate that there is tension in the arms and legs.
In essence, the figure needs to look like it is interacting with gravity to give it a sense of weight.
Weight is better understood when drawing the nude figure. Sometimes the tension of the muscles can play a big role in giving the body a sense of mass and weight. In the next example, you will be using Figure 5.16 as a pose for a drawing. The pose is an action pose in which the figure's foot is pushing off in the beginning of a run. Notice how the push-off leg is powering the figure against gravity. Try drawing this figure.
Figure 5.15 The pose shows weight by how the fig- Figure 5.16 The muscles of the leg fight against gravure interacts with gravity. ity in a running pose.
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