DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

Marcel Duchamp, Nude on a Ladder, 1907-1908

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

Instructor: Blanca Gonzalez
TA: April Read

Figure Drawing

Today we’re going to practice drawing the figure, focusing on proportion and form.

5 Poses, 5 Drawings
3 short drawings -- 5 minutes each
2 sustained drawing-- 20 minutes each


You can use charcoal, pencil or  Indian ink on paper

Today’s Timeline
2:00-2:15      Introduction to figure drawing
2:15-2:30       Examples
2:30-2:35       1st pose   (short)
2:35-2:40       2nd pose  (short)
2:45-2:50       3rd pose   (short)
3:00-3:20       4th pose  (sustained)
3:25-3:45       5th pose  (sustained)

Axis Line
Start with an axis line. Every figure has an axis—a vertical line of balance. Lay the axis line in lightly. Another  line should be laid in to show the general direction of the forms.


-The center of the figure, from the head to the foot, is just below the wait around the hips


-The knee is halfway between the center of the figure and the foot

-When the arm is down at the figure’s sides (not flexed) the elbow matches up with the navel.

-The length of the body is equivalent to 7 -8 heads

-Always put the head in. It is as important as the figure. Also be aware of floating heads. Remember, the neck is connected to the body, the head to the neck.



Draw in the lines lightly that  determine the proportion of the figure. Draw in the figure center line, the knee line, the navel/elbow

Draw in horizontal lines connecting points of the shoulders, elbows, knees and feet.

Find the forms
All forms are modifications of basic forms—block, cube, cylinder, sphere. See the forms of the figure simplified. For example the rib cage is a box and the pelvis is a smaller box, somewhat inverted. Both these boxes intersect.
Never begin with a detail.

Make implications of  form and its direction with line.

Use VALUE to give three dimensionality to the figure. Enforce sense of weight and gravity by placing darker values at pointed or greater pressure and tension.

Do not outline the figure. Instead try to start from the inside out. The edges do not have to be defined.


Use your eraser to make accentuate highlights and blur the edges of the figure.

Draw the figure in her/his environment. The figure should be grounded, not floating. This should be evident only in the longer drawings.  


Sitting Pose
If the figure is in a sitting pose, decipher the entire shape of the figure  and see it as a whole. 


DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.