Whatever form of art you are interested in, knowing how to draw a body is a fundamental skill that requires an understanding of anatomy and proportions. If you want to draw your own character studies and figures, you can use this knowledge of human proportions in a very specific way.
In this introductory article, you will learn all about the human body and how to construct it using the 7.5 head rule. Afterwards we will compare the anatomy of a man with that of a woman. You will see the similarities between the two genders but also their anatomical differences.
How to draw a body: The 7.5 Heads rule
The ideal human body equals a height of 7.5 to 8 heads, with 8 heads being more in line with a larger frame. Often supermodels but also superheroes in comics have such proportions.
The 7.5 head rule can be applied to both male and female characters with minor adjustments.
An outline of key aspects for basic human body proportions:
- The shoulder width is approximately three heads.
- The width of the chest is about two crosswise positioned heads.
- The collarbone is located about 1/3 heads below the chin.
- The nipples lie approximately beneath the length of two heads.
- The navel is located below the length of the third head.
- The elbow joint is at about the same height as the navel.
- The groin is about halfway up the body. Under the 4th head from the top.
- The wrists are a little below the groin. They are located between the groin and the buttocks.
- The fingertips extend to about half the length of the thighs.
- You draw the buttocks slightly below or 1/3 below the groin.
- The knees are above the chin of the 6th head.
- The ankles are about 1/3 below the 7th head.
- The soles of the feet lie more or less at the end of the 8th head.
Male and female bodies in comparison
If you want to learn how to draw a body you need to know the gender-specific differences in anatomy. Let us compare the differences between the male and female body. In the following illustration you can see how to draw proportional bodies and how the anatomic features of the genders differ.
In absolute numbers the average man is taller than the woman. But in proportion to the height of his head, the difference is not as serious as one might think. If one would stack the head of a man with “ideal” proportions on top of each other, his height would be between 7.5 and 8 heads. If one would do the same with a woman, the discrepancy is not as severe as one imagines. 7.5 of her heads are roughly the height of a woman with ideal proportions.
The differences between the sexes are most evident in their physique.
If you want to draw a male body, you should pay attention to the following characteristics:
- Broader shoulders and chest, angular lines
- Narrow hips compared to the shoulders
- Overall more square shapes with tougher edges
A female, on the other hand, is typically characterized by the following features:
- Slightly narrower than the male shoulders with rounder edges
- The nipples are higher due to the mass of the breast. The breasts are more round and have softer lines.
- Smaller waist
- Wider hips
- Gap between the thighs in slim women
- More curved and more S-shaped lines, fewer edges
- Relevant: How to draw a proportional face