This week’s lesson will show the drawing student the proportions for laying out the female figure as compared to the male figure.   We will also introduce the proportions which reach beyond the Idealized proportions of 8 heads tall, and introduce what is called the Fashion Proportion.

As covered last week, illustrations which are drawn in regular, natural human proportions are not impressive looking.  The natural proportion of the human figure is 7.5 heads tall.  Lesson 8 established that by extending the relationship of the parts of the figure, and to ‘stretch out’ the anatomy to 8 heads tall yields a more impressive figure.  To repeat the process again, and expand the ratio by another 1/2 of a head, distributed across the anatomy creates an even more impressive figure.  Examine these 3 proportional figure drawings which I have done:PROPORTION DISPLAY

When you look at the first figure, done to natural proportion of 7.5 heads, you can see a dumpy sort of look to the man, even tho there is no evidence of fat on the anatomy.  His appearance is one of squatness.  Look at this close up.new7.5 heads tall

The man is toned, symmetrical and without any disfigurement; yet he does not appear impressive.  It is very important to understand that this is not a matter of height.  This man could be drawn to be any height you want.  It is the proportion of the constituent parts which are creating the dumpy look.  When you compare the crossing points of the head-count lines, to the corresponding anatomical points, you can see the difference.

compare 7.5 to 8

The legs show the stretch, and you can see where line 7 in the Idealistic Proportion demarcates the bottom/middle of the shin, while on the Natural Proportion drawing the same line is just above the ankles.  Furthermore, the Idealistic Proportion figure has also been stretched horizontally, by 1/3 of a head.

Observe how the centre point of the Idealistic Proportional  figure (orange lines), is raised in the  drawing of 8 heads tall.  Also note that despite the fact the centre point is higher on the Idealistic Proportion figure, the relative placement of that middle point is lower in the man’s anatomy than it is on the Natural Proportion figure.  In fact, all the points on the anatomy of the Idealistic Proportion figure are either above or below the corresponding points on the Naturalistic Proportion figure.  This is because all the points have been stretched to accommodate a further .5 head height. Study this carefully, and note the places where the lines cross anatomy.

Now consider this figure, called the Fashion Proportion.

8.5 heads

This is the proportion I use for comic drawings.  It is even more heroic looking.  It stretches the proportions a half-head again beyond the Idealistic Proportions.  Remember it is not about overall height, it is the relationship of the parts of anatomy to one another.  By adding another half-head, the figure looks even more dramatic and heroic.  Compare the Fashion to the Idealistic below.

fashion to ideal

Again note the overall centre point has risen, but anatomically it is lower in the genitals than on the Fashion Proportion figure.  An additional expansion of 2.5 heads may be used for the width.  By stretching the proportions one more half of a head, the impression of a very heroic figure can be created.


The same general rule is true of female proportions, though their overall height should be lesser.  A few other points of difference are that the entire female figure is relatively more narrow; use only 2 heads for shoulder width at their widest point.  The nipples on a female breast are lower than on a male, and the waistline should be but one head across.  Viewed from the front, the thighs should be slightly wider than the armpits, but they appear more narrow from the back side.  Wrists fall even with the crotch.  Note carefully that the female navel is below the waistline, and the male is above or even with it.  The nipples are 1 head spaced apart, and the navel is one head spaced below them.  The elbows are above the navel.female figure with heads

It is important you learn the differences between the male and female figures.

For your assignment, please layout and copy the Female Figure I have drawn, using 8.5 heads as the proportion.  This is the Fashion Proportion I use for comic art.

Thank you for reading.  I hope to see you next week.


2 thoughts on “Lesson 9: Fashion Proportion & Female Figures

  1. I didn’t know about these proportions, especially for the female body. This is a lot useful.

    Also, doing the exercise from the previous lesson has helped a lot for a better understanding of the human figure, so thank you again!

    Liked by 1 person

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