In this first tutorial, I want to demonstrate a process for starting many drawings of the standing figure. This process is especially useful for drawing static poses. The term *static pose* does not have a precise meaning within the StArt System, but artists use it to describe poses in which the figure is still or stationary.

The steps I’m demonstrating here may be used as a starting point for drawing static standing poses as they would appear from any viewing angle or distance, and from any height between about the middle of the figure’s thighs to the top of its head. The tutorial is based on drawing a figure that is 8 heads high. In a future demo, I’ll describe how these steps can be modified for drawing figures with other proportions.

## Tutorial 01: First Steps in Drawing a Static Standing Pose

Keep in mind that this tutorial is just a starting point, which future lessons will refer to and build upon. The process demonstrated here is certainly not the only way to begin a figure drawing, and as you gain experience and skill, you may adopt other, more intuitive approaches for getting started. This process, however, is very good for helping acquaint an artist with certain key ideas, including the core axis and head-length units, which you’ll learn about in the steps that follow.

There are 5 steps in this tutorial, so sharpen up your pencil and let’s get started!

### Step 1

I begin by drawing a simple vertical line on the paper where I want my figure to be (fig. 1). I’ll refer to this line as the **core axis** of the figure, because it will run right through the core of the figure’s body, from the crown of the head through a spot between the arches of the feet. The location of the core axis remains consistent regardless of what view of the figure we might be drawing.

In static standing poses, it’s helpful to start with a core axis in order to draw the different parts of the body in correct relation to each other. For example, from a side view, the core axis helps us to judge where the head should be in relation to the feet, and where many points in-between should go, too. In a front or rear view, the axis helps us to draw the figure with symmetry between the right and left halves.

Be careful that you draw the core axis as a true vertical line, meaning parallel to the sides of your paper. In smaller drawings, this is easier to judge, but in larger drawings the line can often stray to one side.

If you have trouble drawing the axis as a true vertical, you can measure in from one side of the paper at several locations within the height of your drawing, mark each location at the same distance, and then connect these marks, as you see in Figure 2. Though a ruler is useful for measuring, I recommend you draw the axis freehand rather than using a straightedge—it’s good training to practice drawing straight, accurate lines.

### Step 2

Next, decide how tall you want the figure to be, and mark the top and bottom with a short line across the core axis (fig. 3). The top line, which marks the top of the head, need only be a short dash, but the bottom line should be wider to accommodate stances of different widths.

For this drawing, the figure may be whatever height you wish (depending on the height of your paper, of course). In other drawings, an artist may be placing the figure within a defined space, such as a room or other environment. In those cases, the height of the figure will be determined by the surroundings, and requires an understanding of the rules of perspective. This is a more advanced topic, which we’ll have to return to much later.

### Step 3

Now that we’ve defined the core axis and the height of our figure, we need to divide the axis into units, each of which will be the height of the figure’s head. As described at the start of this tutorial, the entire figure will be 8 heads high, so we need to divide the axis into 8 equal units.

This can be done visually and does not require any mathematical calculations (fig. 4):

- Estimate a location halfway up the core axis, between the top and bottom points you marked previously.
- Mark this spot, then measure the distance from the mark to the top of the core axis.
- Compare this measurement to the distance from the halfway mark to the bottom of the core axis.
- If the distances are not equal, adjust the position of the halfway mark and measure the top and bottom distances again, until the two halves are the same.

### Step 4

Proceed by dividing the top half of the core axis into two equal parts, using the same process you just followed in Step 3. Then divide the bottom half of the axis into two parts (fig. 5)

When you have finished, you will have divided the entire axis into four equal parts, or quarters.

### Step 5

Finally, divide each quarter of the core axis in half to complete the division of the axis into eight equal parts (fig. 6).

You may have noticed that judging the halfway point of any section of the axis gets easier as the distances become smaller. It follows that estimating these distances overall is easier with smaller drawings of the figure than larger ones.

With smaller drawings, you can even use your pencil as a measuring stick, and avoid having to bring out a ruler. Simply align one end of your pencil with an end point of the distance you want to measure, and pinch the pencil at the other end point. Then hold this length of the pencil up to the distance you want to compare it to, and you have made a comparative measurement.

As an alternative to the estimating process I’ve outlined in Steps 3, 4, and 5, you could simply measure the height of the core axis and divide it in half. You could even divide it into eight parts right from the start. Obviously this is easier if the height of your figure divides evenly, which will not always be the case. I prefer to use the visual, “guess-timating” method I’ve described, and to use a pencil as a measuring stick whenever possible.

Figure 7 shows the completed drawing with the core axis divided into eight equal units, or head lengths. We can now use this framework to accurately draw a figure seen from any angle, at viewing heights from the figure’s mid-thigh up to eye level. And we’ll start to do just that in the next tutorial. Tune in!

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