This Plate is reproduced from a study made with the object of demonstrating to a class of students the main principles of construction, and I hope it will serve a similar purpose here.
The original drawing is about twenty-four inches in length, which is about the size generally advisable for drawings from the nude.
It is a good discipline to make your study come within an inch of the top and bottom of your paper, so that you do not find when you are about to draw the feet that there is no room for them. All that you draw or paint should fill a definitely fixed space. Neglect of this precaution is a frequent source of trouble.
Proportion is the first thing to consider, and, by the way, always the most difficult to preserve.
We must therefore begin by creating a standard of measurement. In most instances the head from the top of the hair to the chin will best serve as a standard.
After having measured the number of head lengths contained in the entire length of the figure, proceed to mark off the given number of equal lengths on the paper (A on the plate).
This measuring is done by fully extending the arm in a direct line between one eye (the other closed) and the subject, marking off between the tip of the thumb-nail and the top of the charcoal the length of the head thus seen, and proceeding downwards till you have ascertained with the greatest care the number of head lengths on the figure.
If the number proves to be seven and a quarter as in the Plate, you will decide after a little experimenting how large in the drawing the head is to be, so that seven and a quarter head lengths will make up twenty-four inches. Once the head length has been decided upon, it will and must remain your standard of measurement for the figure in every part.