How to draw female body proportions

Tips and tricks for learning to draw people

Sketch by Michelangelo

Here are some tips, tricks and links on drawing people and drawing portraits. Nude drawings are known to be one of the big themes in art and everyone who likes to draw tries to learn how to draw portraits, nude studies or people.

Actually, you don't draw a person differently than a chair, a dog or whatever, because the basic rule is: look closely, observe and don't let your own senses fool you. The trick with the pencil, which you hold in front of your own eye as a yardstick, often helps.
But there are still tons of helpful tips and tricks for drawing portraits, drawing faces, people, and nude studies. These instructions are about learning to draw people and especially about the correct representation of the proportions of the body.

Learning to draw people - rules of proportion

So if you want to learn to draw people as a budding hobby artist, you can orientate yourself using some rules of proportion for the human body.
It's just a rule of thumb, but for the drawing it can be assumed that a person is roughly eight heads high. In nude painting, we use the head height, so to speak, as a unit of measurement to correctly draw the proportions of a person. The unit of measurement head is distributed over the length of a person as follows (see also the following picture):

  1. the head
  2. from chin to nipples
  3. from the nipples to the navel
  4. from the navel to the crotch / pubic region
  5. from the crotch to mid-thigh
  6. from there to just below the knees
  7. from the knees to the middle of the lower legs
  8. from the middle of the lower leg to the soles of the feet

Another rule for drawing the proportions of a person:

  • The thigh is just as long as the lower leg

Drawing people & learning nude painting

Proportions in width

These were the body length specifications, we now come to the rules of proportions when creating nude drawings that concern the width of the body:

  • From shoulder to shoulder = two head lengths
  • Waist = 2/3 of the shoulder width
  • Man: pelvis width = width of the shoulder joints
  • Woman: pelvis width = shoulder width

Differentiation when drawing man & woman

If you want to learn to draw people, you also have to learn to perceive the differences between men and women and to draw correctly - very important not only in nude studies. The main differences in proportions when drawing and painting are as follows:

  • Women have a female breast or bosom
  • A man's shoulders are wider than a woman's
  • A woman's pelvis is wider in relation to her shoulders than a man's
  • A man is usually taller and more muscular than a woman

Correctly draw proportions man & woman

Learn to draw arms

Learning to draw the arms is actually a topic in itself, but as part of a person, the proportions of the arm are described here. Here are a few tips for learning to draw arms:

  • The arm can be divided into 4 parts - as shown in the picture below. And this is how the sub-division of the proportions of the arm is made:
  1. Width of the shoulder - this is where the arm begins
  2. from the shoulder joint to the elbow
  3. Length of the forearm
  4. from the end of the forearm to the outstretched fingertips

When the arm is against the body, you can orient yourself as follows when drawing a person:

  • The elbow is in line with the waist
  • The wrist is at the height of the crotch
  • The outstretched fingers reach about the middle of the thigh

Learn to draw arms

Anyone who would like to learn more about the subject of people to draw or learn about nudes should also deal with and study the human skeleton and muscle structure.
Here are two more links to other websites devoted to human drawing: