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Basement Medicine

The student-run community news site of Vermont State University - Johnson

Basement Medicine

The student-run community news site of Vermont State University - Johnson

Basement Medicine

Art Tips Part Three Electric Boogaloo

Oh goodie, welcome back to the THIRD installment of this madness.
It’s great to be back, and I have no energy whatsoever to write this, so pretend I’m writing something snappy and funny here. … Did you do that? Okay, good child.
Anyway, in this lovely section, we will be covering bodies because last time I lied and said we would be. Don’t go back and read the last issue, it’s cringe and embarrassing on my end.
So, how to draw bodies. Let’s start with the feet!


No, I’m serious.
If you are a beginner trying to learn how to draw a full body, it’s a good idea to start from the feet. This is to help you figure out where the rest of the form goes, and it’s also a good way to make sure you don’t end up drawing too out-of-proportioned body parts.
With the feet done, we can move up to the legs. Now, in the words of one of my favourite art YouTubers, Ethan Becker (who I have mentioned before):

“Triangles.”


You see how the legs look like not so sharp triangles? This is a good way to commit to a form. Some people say to use ovals, but if you are a beginner, getting a good feel for just gesture drawing (i.e. drawing a body quickly without rigid structures) is ultimately your best friend. You don’t want your forms to feel rigid. Be loosey goosey, don’t be afraid to mess up because hey, that’s how we learn.
I could go into a whole diatribe about how our society doesn’t value failure enough and how many expectations we put on ourselves that are so unrealistic until I’m blue in the face, but alas, no time.
Now that we got the legginas, we now must get to the torso, something that we all have. If you don’t… well, you’re either dead or Nas’hrah from “Fear and Hunger.” (Don’t google that.) Either way, a torso is the foundation of how you will be drawing a person.

Bodies come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, including fat people, who also deserve to be seen in art. I highly stress that you take time to also draw people who are deemed unattractive by broader society. Mind you, attractiveness is completely subjective and prone to change even over a few years. And even still, drawing more varied features and body shapes is good for inclusivity’s sake and to help other people feel seen. And because white heteronormativity is cringe, here are some examples of different kinds of proportions of torsos, regardless of gender or sex.


With the torso all settled, it is now time to do the noodles: the arms!
Again, we are following Ethan Becker’s rule of triangles. See how the triangles meet and overlap from this angle? And once we have that, the arms are done. Here are a couple of tips on drawing arms: Typically, when a person is standing up and their arms are at their sides, the tips of the fingers tend to align with the middle of the thigh. And when lifting up the arms, make sure you keep the same length. Also, legs are always slightly longer than arms!


Now, the very bane of many artists’ existences, the horror show to end all horror shows, the thing all beginner artists fear and hate… hands.
Here’s an easy guide:

Now, when drawing hands, it is very important to segment your hands into parts. And here is where we will be disregarding the triangles and will be pivoting to rectangles. I have colour coded what to draw in what order: red first, then blue, then green, and then purple.
You now have a pretty a’ight looking body! And we finally get to the head! I’ve already talked about how to draw a face, but I will do you all one last solid and show y’all how to draw the head:


The head is a funky shape and not a perfect circle, but that’s okay. We’ll suffer together. If you are trying to draw more realistically, from a front facing angle, you can always fit one head between the end of the shoulders and head, on both sides. If that doesn’t make any sense, here is what I mean:


In this part, we’ve covered a bunch of stuff, but I feel like I need to establish one last ditty for you all. With this knowledge in mind, you can go online right now, type in line-of-action.com/practice-tools/figure-drawing in your web browser of choice (Use Firefox. I don’t care if you like Chrome, Firefox is better.) and do some gesture drawings! This website is amazing for practicing quickly drawing the body. Don’t worry about how little time you have, do your best to establish shape language by learning how something works via the shapes! The idea is not to get bogged down by minute details because that is ultimately what fucks over beginner artists.
Let me repeat: When drawing a body, do NOT focus on the details! Work on the whole body first, make messy sketches, and then fine tune the sketch when it is all set.

And there it is! A finished body for you all to enjoy (that’s what they said). I hope you found this tutorial at least mildly entertaining, and I hope you all have a horrible day!
Happy drawing!

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About the Contributor
Sage As8bakw Selec, Staff Writer, Art Director
Sage "As8bakw" Selec (they/them) is an Indigenous and Bosnian artist and writer. They pride themselves on being critically honest and being passionate about their endeavors. They are currently living in Vermont, have a cat named Jiji, and enjoying being broke.

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