Fundamental Proportions - The Big ThreeWhen working out the proportions of our figure drawings, whether it be for a gesture or the start of a longer rendering, it is important to remember that underneath all of that skin and muscle, there is a super-structure holding the whole thing up - the skeleton. Over the years, I have come to recognize that the skeleton (like most things) can be broken down proportionally into large-medium-and small formal relationships. In the case of the figure, the chest (or rib cage) would be the large form, the hips (or pelvis) would be the medium proportion, and the head (or skull) would represent the smaller element. These ideas are developed from the teachings of classical drawing master George Bridgeman (who calls these three the large movable masses), and modern comic artist Glenn Fabry who calls it the "skull, chest, hips" method. I took their teachings a step farther to incorporate my own "large, medium, small" definition of these masses.
It is important to get these down first, at the correct angles and turning properly in relationship to one another. These are the major masses of the figure and without their correct size relationships, the drawing will look out of proportion. The limbs just kind of hang off of these “big three.”