The Foot

The foot is a marvel of engineering. It is designed for holding the entire weight of the body in balance. Although it is relatively small compared to the rest of the body, the foot is designed to support the body in a wide range of movement. While most all other animals in the animal kingdom walk on all fours, man is the only land creature that can balance walking on two legs without the support of forepaws or a tail.

The foot contains 26 bones, similar to the hand's 27, but the bones of the foot are much larger and heavier than those of the hand. The largest bone of the foot is the calcaneus that forms the heel. This bone acts counter to the other bones and is attached to the body's larges tendon, the Achilles tendon. Just above the calcaneus bone is the talus bone. The talus bone acts as a pivot joint between the massive calcaneus bone and the front bones of the foot. Figure 4.6 shows the bones of the foot.

The mid foot contains the tarsal bones. These bones form the arch of the foot and act as weight distributors and shock absorbers.

Figure 4.6 The foot contains 26 bones.

The metatarsal bones are similar to the hand's metacarpal bones. They are flexible joints that connect the tarsal bones with the phalange bones of the toes.

The phalange bones of the foot comprise the bones of the toes. There are 14 phalange bones—two in the big toe and three in each of the other toes.

The bottom of the foot is padded with a layer of fat that acts as a cushion for the foot. The plantar fascia ligament holds the bones of the arch together and lifts the arch. A series of tendons runs along the top of the foot up through the ankle. These tendons are very evident in the foot, particularly when the toes are lifted.

The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscle with the calcaneus bone on the heel of the foot. The tendon forms the narrow ridge that runs up the back of the foot.

The foot is basically wedge-shaped from the side and with a concave indentation of the arch on the inside bottom. It is narrower at the back than it is at the front. Like the hand, a series of blood vessels cross the upper foot, forming ridges. Figure 4.7 shows some construction drawings of the foot.

Try to draw the foot as many times as you can. With the aid of a mirror, you can get a good view of your own foot to work from. In addition, you can pose and draw from the feet of your virtual models in Figure Artist. Figure 4.8 shows a close-up shot of a foot from Figure Artist. Although not as detailed as an actual foot, the mod els in Figure Artist are great for learning proportion and construction of the foot.

Try isolating and drawing the foot by itself so that you feel confident. I remember talking with an artist friend of mine who was trying to get accepted at a major art gallery He said he brought his paintings into the gallery and placed them against the wall. The gallery owner was talking with a customer and didn't pay much attention to him for several minutes. Then, all at once, he stopped talking and walked over to my friend's paintings. He picked up one of his paintings and asked if my friend had painted it. My friend answered that he had.

The gallery owner looked at my friend and said, "You know how to paint feet! You don't know how many artists I see who don't know how to paint feet."

My friend was accepted into the gallery.

Figure 4.8 You can use the virtual feet in Figure Artist as foot references.

Just because your feet are farthest from your head and at the bottom of the body does not mean that they are not important. Figure 4.9 shows a more finished drawing of a foot.

Figure 4.9 Some drawings should look for the subtle detail in the shading of the foot.

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