Tutorial Drawing: the Figure Part 2 -Animemanga Style the Posing Figure

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This is part 2 of my "Drawing the Figure" series (Anime/Manga Style) A guide on how to draw the posing figure.


Things you need before proceeding with the tutorial:

> Basic knowledge on proportion, foreshortening, and drawing the human body using 3-d shapes. (Or my previous tutorial on drawing the figure.)

> A hand that draws lightly (practice drawing lightly on paper, it makes of making mistakes and removing guidelines easier)

> Lots of patience and practice

> Lets begin

Figure 1.

> In drawing the pose, the figure is not required to appear as a body "in action"! Even sitting and standing characters can be drawn in a "pose"

> One of the key elements of a pose is what we call "visual direction it is basically the process of leaping the eye around the area of the artwork or scene.

(Note: I don’t consider myself to be an expert in the area of visual direction. But ill do my best to help you out.)


Figure 2.

> The elf lady I drew here has her body facing to the right of the page, yet her eyes are looking towards the opposite direction. The visual direction here starts from her head as you are drawn in by her eyes and face, her leaning body leads your eyes down to her arm which brings your back to the chest area and down to the curved knife in her hand, allowing you to notice other details such as the scabbard and the partially hidden belt. Your eyes now travels back up again following her raised leg and towards her hand which is holding the top of her then back down until you end on the her foot.


> What do you mean you don’t like to research? This stage is very important especially for those of you in a slump, having a harp time coming up with a type of pose that you would like to draw.

> For example: you don’t know how to draw a figure swimming in deep water? Watch underwater sports or read diving magazines, build a simple wire frame based on that image and you now have a working model you can experiment with.

Let's go back to our wire frame model of the water maiden (for more info about the wireframe, see my my other tutorial "Drawing the Figure part 1(anime/manga style) The Basics

Figure 3.

I have observed the movements of skin divers who are swimming up to the surface prom a peep dive then suddenly spotting an object that captured their interest at a distance. The movement I tried to capture here was the moment they stretched their arms out to stop their quick ascent prom the depths and quickly twisting their torso towards the direction of the ob3ect. One of them raised their leg to kick the water and propel her body to a new direction. It was very graceful the movement was stuck in my mind and I was inspired to draw a water maiden character. I drew the wire frame first while the pose was fresh in my head and proceeded later on to refine and complete the drawing.

  • Research is not expensive/ there's a trove of resources waiting out there for you to use.
  • How about still poses and stationary poses? The same can be applied as well. Take a look at pictures of people sitting, sleeping, eating, etc… you get the idea.

Figure 4.


> I’ll be borrowing a phrase prom Burne Hogarth's book of Dynamic Figure Drawing, he said... "Body action tends to follow the direction of the chin"

> This holds true since the chin being part of the head is directly connected to the body’s spine, and the spine follows the general direction of the chin's movement.

Figure 5

Take a look at figure 5 as an example. The upward thrust of the figure suggests the girl is in the middle of a (jumping maneuver when she turns her head towards our direction (the existing pose).

However, the pose indicates that the maneuver is not yet over (giving the pose its dynamic quality). Due to the chin turning to our direction, what follows is a series of body positions

Figure 6.

1. The torso follows the chin's direction, followed by the waist turning next.

2. The left leg will move down to prepare for landing, while the right knee will in turn move up with the lower leg folded ( at this point the whole body is already facing our direction)

3. The chin moves closer to the to allow the head to look down where she would land

(Note: the torso arches backward as the chin moves closer to the neck due to the body's spine)

Finally the whole left leg is now extended to prepare making contact with the ground. Notice the arms also adjust to achieve balance.

These series of future movements can be visualized or pictured in the head as presented by the first dynamic pose drawn above.

Here's another example of body action following chin direction

Figure 7.

  • Outward chin direction - the man with the sword shows dynamic movement as indicated by his chin extending towards an enemy or foe located just beyond the left side of the frame. His cape also complements his movement as his upper body suddenly lunges forward

    To strike.

  • Inward chin direction - the elf-girl's chin moves inward which leads her upper torso to move backward as she raises her sword defensively against a possible attack, her cape also reflects this movement as it suddenly opens up due to her sudden backward movement. Her raised leg also reflects her sudden action to jump back to make room for her companion to strike.

Finally, why haven't I shut up and start telling you people what you should draw? ....because I can't! that's what I’ve been saying all along, these tutorials serves as a guide to help you discover what you can draw and present some tips and techniques on how to do it, but the final act of creating something lies entirely in your creative minds and hands. Now it's your turn to Draw!

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Posted on Dec 31, 2011