Hi, my name is Ben. I am an animator. In this tutorial i would like to talk about in my experience 1. How to draw and paint legs with a solid ground/foundation.
2. With the foundation, how do we draw dynamic legs and feet.
I found that to improve on anything, an important step to take is through practicing. So in this tutorial, I left some rooms for viewers to take part . Hopefully by the end of this, we can grasp a solid understanding of legs and feet from artist perspective.
If we look at the anatomy of the human leg ( even the simplified version that i painted below) it looks complicated, right? So many different group of muscles, tendons, bones. Not to mention they also look differently as they extend, rotate or contract. But please don't be turned off by that! I am sure if you stick around you would keep up some valuable skills along the way.
In my experience it is hugely beneficial to draw the muscle and bones during my artistic career. Reason I said that u will acquire knowledge of why certain body part look the way it is. And when something doesn't look right, you will be in a better position to identify it, as you know in reality (your knowledge) how a muscle/ tendon and bone would look!
A:Sartorus B:Vastus Internus C:Patella D:Gastrocnemius Inner Head E:Tibia
F:InternalMalleolus of Tibia G: Semi Tendinosus H: Popliteal Space I: Tendon J: Vastus Externus K: Biceps Femoris L: Gastrocnemius Outer Head
A:Pelvis B:Femur C:Patellar D:Fibia E:Tibia
You know what? It's your turn! Challenge yourself to find/ label/ even outline the corresponding muscle from this diagram; using the knowledge acquired from the muscle and skeleton illustrations.
Look for rhythmic pattern, simplify details
A:look out for rhythmic pattern. Usually when there is a curve on one side , u will see one on the opposite side. In this view . The curve starts from the outside of the thigh and stretches through the upper leg. It then flows to the middle where the Vastus Internus is. Then on the lower leg, this pattern repeats:Gastrocnemius Outer Head. It starts at the top of lower leg and stretches through it, then on the opposite side the Gastrocnemius inner Head is prominent. But the curve is more pronounce on the in inside than the outside.
B:break down the mass into simpler form. Usually how the muscle is divided would be a sensible spot to divide the form
C:Rather than drawing each body in parallel or in same angle, pay attention to where are the apex of the curve. where is the corresponding part. The ankle is the classic example where the inner bone is higher than the outside. the lower leg inner muscle is more abrupt than the outer muscle; Vastus Internus on the thigh is bulging out. These are the subtle observations that help making the legs more relistic
D: your turn, try to combine these tips and draw your own!
A: curve at the front the thigh is stretched across the whole upper leg. The back curvature is more compressed and skewed toward the top. The knee cap is bulging out, although we see a break between fat and patella. The shin bone is probably the only spot that is pretty much straight.The back of the lower leg curve stretches over the entire lower leg, with apex closer to the top
B: simplify and group bone and muscle. Usually how the muscle is divided would be a sensible spot to divide the form
C: The Apex of curve at the front of the thigh when compared to the back, is quite a bit higher than the back. It creates a slope from left to right. the Popliteal Space when compared to the knee, it slight slants down to the right. The back of the carve while compared to the stright line at the front, would slant downward. . These are the pointers that would be helpful when we try drawing leg
D: Your turn, Try to use these pointers draw your own leg
Wait! Aren't these look familiar? yes, these are the mirror images of the front view. So for
A: when we look out for rhythmic pattern, these are the mirrored version of the Front view. As artist, we try to understand the science of how something work and try to save time whenever possible.
B:break down the mass into simpler form. Usually how the muscle is divided would be a sensible spot to divide the form. Biceps Femoris and Sartorus are connected but it's sensible to group them together. Gastrocnemius Inner Head and Outerhead are connected in the middle. To indiciate strong muscles however, we would usually would separate them with some shading.
C: Also the mirror of the front view.
D: your turn, try to combine these tips and draw your own!
Break it down to simple shapes then build it up. Think 3 dimensionally
Next, what if the leg bends? One way to simplify and visualize is to break it down to simple box shape. just like action figure or toys, Pay attention to the thigh and the lower leg.. it's never just a stright line. It is staggered. and the patella , legament created a wedge to tranisition from the upper leg to the lower leg.
Start adding outline. Try using the underlying structure as the guide. and add muscles on top. Try drawing your own version and bring some the knowledge from the anatomy to the table and think which bone or muscle would be more pronounced during the leg bend.
Final version, after removing the structure, would the drawing still hold up?
Dynamic Legs and Feet
Now that we have laid down a solid ground for legs n feet, lets move to posing the legs n feet dynamically. Here r some thumbnails i drew. The most important part is the pose, we dont worry so much on the proportion. Can u tell the emotion, the action. Can the pose read well? Does one body part flows well to another? ( line of action). Is the character in balance or is it off balance?
>Thumbnails/ gestures drawings
In this sections I would like to pick out 2 poses to discuss:
1. a guy leaning on a wall and browsing his phone.. The supporting leg is the right leg and half of the weight is supported by that one leg. The other point that support weight is shoulder as he is leaning on the wall. you may ask, how about his left leg. ? It's free to move around as long as his pelvis allows it to. the 2 red circles indicate where the weight support is and the red line indicates how the body parts connects and flows from one to another(line of action).
2.female action hero holding gun on her right hand. She is launching herself and ready to take off in mid air. In essence of this pose is she is ready to jump but she is looking back at the same time. The line of action is really important in this pose and I started by establishing that and with the left feet planted. That's the foundation of this pose. body, and arms and head comes later.
Here are some gesture drawings idea:
Jumping/ Mid air pose
Putting it all together
Now that u have the knowledge, what do we do with it!? Pick s subject matter that u would loke to draw and paint with. Apply the knowledge.
A: Gesture drawing. What's the action? Don't hang up on the details or portion but 1. Is the pose feel fluid or stiff. 2. How do the different body parts relate to each other?
B:frush out the details more, focus on the proportion a bit more. In this stage, you can see what the problem of the upcoming render would bse off and what problem of the pose may have. In this case I found that the right thigh and the arm is overlapping/ cover the body quite a bit
C:I decide to keep the overall idea of the pose in mind but try to use the 3d model that comes with csp a go. Surprise, it is very easy to use and allow me to pick and choose a camera angle iam comfortable with
D: This is one of the poses I used in the process. The right leg sticks up too high and the silhouette is not clear. How to read as the right leg is buried in her body
E: painted version.
Glad you made it to the end! Hope you like it and feel free to share your thought with me on what u think works for u and and what doesn't . See u next time!