As a figure drawing instructor I’ve heard things like, “I just can’t get proportions right and the legs look stubby, drawing faces and hands are hard, she was twisted in a funny angle hard to draw I couldn’t get the perspective right”, or I’ll see choppy repetitive lines containing a distorted form confirming a unfocused approach to drawing. All is not lost. Practicing a generalized approach will enhance confidence and creative license making you a better painter, sculptor, and yes even better at abstraction, after all drawing the figure is a developed approach and even abstraction is a type of approach. The key to figure drawing is breaking down what you see into a simple methodology and into a continual measuring process that builds on previous established measurements. Although there are many ways to simplify I will discuss three that should be good enough to get you going. I recommend first creating points on your paper to fully contain the whole figure, secondly choosing your first reference line to build on, and thirdly using shadow to build volume and character. Point measurement is simply proportional placements of points on your paper that bounds outer reaches of a figure like a great sculptor estimating the bounds of her master piece before the first chisel strike is made.Look At Draw Realistic Eyes website to get more
Imagine placing a point approximately in the middle of your paper then placing a point that is vertical located half way between your center point and the top of your paper. Next make a point in the same manner vertically below and then two more points horizontally the same way. If you connected a line between the two vertical dots then the two horizontal it would make a simple cross. Obviously you’d be aware that you could control size simply by creating points closer or further away from the center. “Voila”, you’re now thinking in a measured way that makes for great drawings! Now let’s translate this to bounding a human figure. Let’s imagine you’re drawing a human subject. Arrange the drawing surface perpendicular to your line of sight of your subject. Now thinking vertically place an imaginary point that represents the highest level of the body part in your line of sight, head, hand, etc. Next create a point in relation to your first point at the lowest part of the body, you’ll have to think about it but make it as close as you can, then do the same for furthest two points horizontally in relation to the other two then connects the dots the way you made the cross.
Secondly use the reference points to proportional place your first lines. Look at your model closely and imagine a line or lines that sweep through the whole body that describe general movement. This could be an “S” curve line that flows from head to toe, or a spinal line in combination with center lines that run through the head, arms, and legs. However you see it transfer it to paper in respects to your established points. Furthermore, look at your model and imagine lines that describe position or twist of the shoulder and pelvis by imagining lines that run from shoulder to shoulder and hip joint to hip joint and transfer it to your paper. If you haven’t created center lines for legs and arms yet do so if needed. You have now just created what I like to call a “drawing skeleton.” Now use the “drawing skeleton” to judge proportion sizes of legs, feet, hands, and so on. If you have difficulty drawing hands and feet imagine the hands covered in tightly fitting thin mittens capable of stretching with finger movement, and imagine feet in thin socks. The idea is to draw those extremities as masses then work in details.