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Construction Of The Figure

The Art Of Painting - Construction Of The Figure - 5, a brief series of articles on the art of painting and drawing
The extended line of the torso on the right is the answering shape to the contracted side (on the left) in this position of the model.
Now the left arm. The tip of the thumb, which is in a line with the nose, and the wrist, which is opposite the point of the shoulder D, determine for us the length of the hand. The background shape lying between the face, shoulder, and arm will leave for us its relative position.

The pit of this background shape is on a horizontal line with the right pectoral marking. Then we find that the elbow is in a line with the angle of the ribs. That gives us the thickness of the arm, between those two points at H, and the correct proportion of the whole arm to the body.
We now draw the right arm, and with it the upper right leg, for the arm rests on the leg, and the outline of the one reacts on the other. We must see that the mass of the hip contained within the inner line of the arm and right base of the torso is of the shape and proportion of the model, and that the point of the thumb falls where indicated by the line I. We thus have the length of that arm.
The width of the deltoid is now easily found. The outer line will follow quite naturally, depend- ing, of course, on your knowledge of its anatomy, and your grasp of the character of the model ; for anatomy gives you the generalised form only. Your personal observations will help you to realise its specific character, and that again will be materially aided by a careful reference to the silhouette.
Draw the shape of the whole passage of background left between the legs, as a freehand drawing, in proportion to the parts already done. You need not hesitate to measure and plumb. This will help you to find that the left knee plumbs under the elbow. And in drawing the outer line of the left leg, be careful that the whole of the shape J on the background is realised.
The indications on the Plate will point out how to proceed with the legs.
Of the vertical lines on the Plate, only the one on the extreme right was actually to be seen in the background. The others are imaginary plumbed lines, the use of which you will always find of great help in establishing the exact relative positions of each part of the body.

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