Drawing the skeleton

© Copyright of Giulio Porta, all rights reserved.

It's very important that you sketch the skeleton first. By sketching I mean a drawing that can be changed, edited, reworked, worked on top. Don't jump into details. Such as those of the skull

A sketch should be a tentative drawing that can be modified for the better as you go along. It can be modified with another sketch, drawn right on top or the previous one.

If these changes, modifications, and improvements are not taking place, you might as well not sketch at all, and go directly into the final solution. Otherwise you'll be going over the same lines aimlessly, the lines may get heavier and thicker but the proportions of the figure may not improve.

You got to think of the skeleton as just another figure, a figure that is simple to conceive and memorize, a structure on top of which you can build a number of different figure. A figure that can be the starting point of ALL your figures.

Although the skeleton lacks of the complex personality a complete figure may have, it has many of its qualities such as Balance, Proportions, Gesture, Rapport, and Color.

Begin your drawing from the pelvis and place that in the middle of the paper vertical half.

That should prevent you from running off the page if you had to start from the head.

Be carfull with the lenght of you figure's legs. Bears have comparatively short legs, not humans, and I'm not asking for bears.

There's not much to learn by drawing a skeleton once, therefore I would like you to try a number o stick figure that will aproximate the skeleton. There's no magical number that will guarantee "learning" of this process and it effectiveness. You heve to be your own coach. You should knnow if you figures have short leg, and when they may need revisions. off course I'll always be here to help you out. Send me you work soon.

You should never look at these figures as an end in itself. Rather as a starting point from which more complex figure can be developed.

In the art jargon this type of sketching is referred to as GESTURE DRAWING.

Drawing life size figures

The instructions here below are for students that want to undertake the drawing of a life size figure. Life size figure are effective in the real world where you can actually see and admire their sheer size, but not in the relativity of the virtual world. They are also very effective learning tools as you can come face to face with the proportions that you also posses.

You'll need to tape together 4 pieces of paper 18" x 24" each. Make sure that the paper is laid out with its long side horizontal. . The tape should go on the paper back side, butt up the sheets of paper, do not overlap them, so you can fold, them back into a 18" X 24" format.

Use the 4 pieces of paper as a way of proportioning the figure.

Sketch the complete layout of the skeleton, pay attention to proportions, not to details, DRAW THE PELVIS FIRST, DRAW IT AT THE BOTTOM  OF THE SECOND PIECE OF PAPER (from the top down) this should prevent you from making a short legged figure. The knees should be at the bottom of the 3rd piece of paper.

Do not run off the paper.

Pay attention to gesture, and balance your skeleton must look alive, because it will be used as a stencil for the muscles drawing and the complete figure drawing.

Use original expressive colors. Warm, dry, cold, wet.