Using Simple Shapes in Your Drawing Process

by Jollyon Hooley
(Fenton, Missouri)

Human Figure Showing Volume

Human Figure Showing Volume

Drawing figures, either real life or cartoons, should be drawn as a set of simplified volumes. The main parts like the body, legs and head should be tackled as cylindrical shapes. (see illustration).

This will help you no end to acquire valuable knowledge of the basic structure of the human form. If you skip this your drawings will look inarticulate and “wrong.” Try as an experiment if you like. Just draw without thinking of volume and your eye will wander to the edges of your drawing or flit from one area to another.

Studying basic anatomy can be useful if you can relate it to “volumetrics” or, in other words, related to the “mass area” say, of the chest and abdomen.

Try to determine what are the most characteristics of each ‘volume’ area. Apply this to the head, chest, arms, legs etc. Base these volumes on the cube, sphere, cylindrical and cones.
You have to think “volume” for any part of your human body; this applies also to cartoons if you want to make them believable.

Without getting too technical, the exercise need not be represented in “cubes” but should be in your mind as your figure takes shape.

Please note that the figure’s volume with be the effect of gravity depending of model’s posture and other factors.
You have to take note of perspective, foreshortening, and your eye level.

Your mind and eye are always drawn towards details, so try and be disciplined and focused on the main volumes. Get those right and your drawing will show your figure has depth and is more natural.

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