I recently have been taking a figure drawing class to practice the human form. Been out of practice for about two years, but it is always good to keep your skills up. It’s so simple to study the human form if you study how it works and then applying your drawing skills to the sketches made during your drawing sessions. I recommend that everyone should take a figure drawing class of a naked human form because it’s challenging and you can learn a lot from drawing from 3-D prospective to a 2-D design.
It’s better to draw a nude model because you see the muscles and forms of the human body and how it works. If that’s not possible, get someone to pose for you with their clothes on once you have been in practice for a while with a nude model. The results will still be the same because you have already studied and drawn what’s underneath the clothing.
The human form in drawing is made up of lines and circles. The lines are like a shape of a capital I, from shoulders-straight across, waist-straight down the middle (same length as the shoulders and hips), and the hips-straight line matching the shoulders. The top line-shoulders and bottom line-hips will move opposite of each other when the human form is movement, position, or posed in a certain way. Look at the Michelangelo’s David and how he stands is a good example of this. Look at the shoulders and hips.
The circles are made of measurements of head, arms, waist, legs, feet, and back side in equal circles on each ligament. The head was the hardest for me. You have to keep reminding yourself that the head is divided into two equal halves of a circle that also includes lines within the circle. The eyes match the top of ears and the length of nose matches the bottom of the ears. The spaces in between the eyes are the same shape of one eye in between both eyes. The space between nose and chin is the same distance from the mouth. (Look at image).
I found out recently that it’s much easier to sketch out a nude female model rather a nude male model, because the females have more shape and curves. For the nude male, it’s no shape but there are muscles and a lot more straight lines than the nude female. On the male nude, the sketches are more focused on shading, lighting, and muscle contour.
When sketching a body form keep in mind the position, the tension in the body, and the lighting. I sometimes would do the same exact position the model is doing to get that feeling of tension in my body. Where the pressure points are, where is the location of my shoulders vs. hips and waist. If you don’t have availability of a nude model, I would use Michelangelo’s David as a good study guide. Good luck! Keep sketching!