AA1 Drawing the body


The Egyptian Canon of Proportions was maintained over many centuries through the medium of the artist's grid, in which the different parts of the human body corresponded to different squares in the grid. This (18/19square) grid system was not merely a copying device which made it possible to render a particular scene on any chosen scale, but rather a complete system of proportions by means of which the human figure could in theory be correctly represented by Ancient Egyptian artists, unlike artists of today, they were not interested in being unique or in having their own style. The use of grids and a formal canon or proportions explains why their art seems to change very little over 30 centuries of Egyptian history.

Standing figures

  • One unit is measured from the sole of the foot to the ankle ( not correct here feet to long).
  • One vertical line of the grid ran through the ear and divided the figure.
  • The figure is divided into 18 equal units or squares starting at the soles of the feet to the hairline. The 19th unit contains the area above the hairline, which is often obscured by a headdress.
  • Knee is between squares 5 & 6.
  • Elbow line at two thirds height comes at square 12
  • Neck-and-shoulders line comes at square 16 for a man and is 6 units across (on each side ½ a unit)
  • Calf line (curved) on lower leg between knee and sole starts at square 3 to 4.
  • Line 17 between nose and lip
  • Length of hanging forearm =a little over five squares from elbow to finger-tips for man and a little over 4 for a woman.
  • Naval is about 2 ½ units at line 11
  • In female figures it is 5 across shoulders at line 15

Distance between armpits is usually 4 squares for male figures, 3 for female

Seated figures

occupied 14 squares between soles and hairline:

9 squares from hairline to lower buttock, 5 from top of seat down to baseline Lower leg occupies 6 units as for standing figures ( knee top is 1 square above seat top)

The 8 Head Count

The eight head count is a method in which the size or length of the the head is used to measure the height and width of a figure.The most common usage of head count method is eight heads for height and three heads for width.This method is great for beginners and for those who have problem drawing proper figure proportion.The head count method is more suited for studying the basic human figure proportion or create profile of characters you want to include in you comic.

Drawing the human figure proportion requires you to be consistent, realistic and also artistic.Therefore, having an understanding of basic proportion and bone structure is essential.Here we cover the head count method which is best used for training on basic human proportion and also the difference between male and female proportion as well as children and infant proportion.

In the following section we will discover the use of height and width of the front view of the model's head to figure out how the height and width of the figure. We will also explain how to use head count for different ages.

People at various ages have different height and with that different head counts:

Using head count

Average Male/Female - 7½ - 8 Heads
Teens - 6 - 7 Heads
Children - 5½ - 6 Heads
Toddler - 4 - 5½ Heads
Infant - 3 - 4 Heads

First head count always starts from the top - Example: Drawing an average male starts from the top of 8-heads, while drawing children starts from the top of the 5-6-head.


The body's Center of Gravity (CoG) is roughly behind the belly button. The body is supported by whatever part touches the ground: generally both feet, but it can be one foot, both feet and one hand, two hands, etc. The Center of Support (CoS) is the mid-point between those points of contact with the ground, whether it's a single point, or they form a line, a triangle or a square.

The alignment of CoG and CoS determines balance, both in real life and on paper, and this operates differently depending on whether the body is still or in motion.

Balance in Stillness

Picture a vertical line shooting up from the CoS. The body is balanced if the line runs through the CoG. Think of it as balancing two cans on top of each other. They can only be slightly unaligned before the top one falls over.

Even if the body is holding a puzzling stance, most of the time you'll find that the CoG is still aligned with the CoS, holding it all together.

It is very difficult to hold an unaligned position like the one below for more than a few seconds. The alignment must be reestablished, either by moving the CoG back in line, or by moving one foot to re-position the CoS – otherwise a fall is inevitable.

AA1 Drawing the body
AA1 Drawing the body
AA1 Drawing the body
AA1 Drawing the body
AA1 Drawing the body
AA1 Drawing the body
AA1 Drawing the body
AA1 Drawing the body
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