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The image above shows how the head measurement with the body in this position can be used to take relative measurements to keep the figure in proportion.
Methods of Taking Measurements If you are looking at a model you can quickly take the distance between the top of the head and the bottom of the chin, and then either with pencil or claw, move down in the same parallel line to see how many "heads" measured in that pose. There happens to be slightly over seven in the pose to the right. If the perspective were different there would be more or fewer "heads". Mark the line to where the feet will come. The big toe is about seven heads from the top. Put a light vertical line near the middle of the page as shown. Taking the head measurement again go across from the vertical line to see how many heads the toe is from it, and mark there. It is about three and a half on this figure. The knee point (patella) is about three heads across and three heads down. With only a few basic measurements which have relation to the head and the pertinent marks on the page the figure can be lightly sketched in and developed in proportion.

Let us now consider the practical application of these conclusions:

The seven and a half canon may be used for drawing ordinary figures taken from everyday life. It is the anonymous figure that represents the average person.

The shortish figure, about 5'6" or 5'8" tall, on the stout side, has a rather large head in proportion to the size of the body, the thighs, and the legs. (fig.1)

The eight and a half canon may be used for exceptional cases, for idealized and exaggerated legendary figures (fig.3). This is the figure normally used by comic strip illustrators. It has a small head in relation to body and longer legs. This is the heroic figure who goes by the name of Superman or Batman. It can also be used for the biblical Moses or the legendary El Cid in religious and historical paintings.


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