Positioning the Feet on a Standing Figure

In drawing a standing figure, we aim to capture the essential gesture of the pose and the balance and rhythm of the model.  This is achieved through capturing the diagonals that represent the inclinations of the weight-bearing leg, the torso and the head.   In doing this, it is essential to locate the feet of the model accurately in vertical relationship to the torso and especially the head.  An accurate placement of the feet is critical to achieving balance.

There a number of exercises that the student can do as homework to train the eye to depict feet.  The first one is an exercise to hone our skills in planting standing feet firmly on the ground.

From many perspectives, the base of the model’s feet are not exactly horizontal, and the natural inclination for so many people, is to exaggerate the diagonal base line of the feet.  This gives the viewer an uncomfortable feeling that the model is standing on tippy-toes or even levitating.

The following are examples of feet exercises done by some of students in Florence.  I’d recommend for anyone attending drop-in life drawing sessions where the early poses are very quick, to concentrate on doing such drawings.

Block in the feet and draw in the legs up to the knees.

You can also draw a box around the feet to knee section and tone in the negative shape, in order to use the latter to check the positive shapes.

Focus on the base line of the feet (indicated by the red lines).

And secondly, focus on the distance and horizontal relationship between the two feet (indicated by the green lines).

The next post will look at exercises to be done from mastercopies.