An important aspect of figure drawing is the positioning on the ground. It’s vital to make the person appear well-balanced. Like this woman here. She should not look like she is just about to lose the balance and fall down.
A good help for keeping this balance is to define the supporting leg. That’s the leg that is holding the main weight of the body. This working leg is often indicated by the height of the hip. The hip is going upwards a bit.
The other leg, the free leg, can much easier change the position, as this leg isn’t occupied with balancing the body weight.
Not sure yet?
Let's have a look at some examples to get used to this way of starting a figure sketch:
These girls here all have one leg in a more relaxed and free state than the other leg. When you look at the woman on the right side, who has put her hand on her hip, you can see wonderfully, how the hip goes up on this side. This is the leg, where she balances the main body weight.
When we look at the guy on the left, we see that his hip goes up on the right side. It's made well visible by the shape of his shirt. The right leg is therefore the supporting leg.
I admit, that the situation is not as clear on the right side, as the woman is leaning against the wall - but nevertheless, the supporting leg is wonderfully visible here.
Be your own model!
If you aren‘t sure, how the hip is changing when you are leaning mainly on the supporting leg: simply try it out.
Be your own model and test out different poses in front of a mirror by using the left and the right leg as the supporting leg alternately.
You can wonderfully observe how the position of the hip is changing this way.
The balance line
To get a better feeling for the balance of a human body, a guideline can be of great help: a vertical line that gives an idea how the parts of the body are distributed around this line.
To entirely convince you of the importance and the value of this simple line, let's take an example, where the balance line is absolutely vital for the entire pose.
It‘s absolutely essential to have a good balance in this pose here, when she is carrying her entire body weight on the tiptoes of only one leg.
This line separates the parts of the body in two halves, that should have an equivalent weight.
At the first sight it looks like more parts of her body are on the right sight - her entire head, the main parts of the shoulders and the entire right leg, that is even bent and farer away from the balance line.
But when you look closer, you see that a main part of her hip and her torso are stretched towards the left side and enable a good counter-balance this way.
The balance line visualizes clearly the distribution of the body weight and will therefore serve you as a wonderful guidelines to control the pose of the figure, that you are drawing.
Sketching with a balance line makes you quickly recognize, when there is a big part of the body drawn more on one side of the line or which parts of the body you need to change in order to make the pose appear stable and well balanced.
Interested in diving deeper into the world of Figure Drawing?
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Hallo, I'm an award-winning illustrator and drawing tutor from Austria. After great experiences in the Marketing and Database sector, I finally realised that I simply need to follow my enthusiasm and fascination for drawing and illustrating.
What fascinates me most, is this way to communicate without using any words. So expressive, so global. And this leads me to my second fascination about drawing: the exchange with others, with you! In my drawing courses I simply love to see the enormous developments of each participant - initiated by exchange and practice. That's what I like to do here, too.
The idea for this blog comes from the bottom of my heart: to get you close to drawing and to show you that you too can draw #drawinggang It's all about learning to feel the drawing!