Scale and Proportion for Humans

Scale and Proportion for Humans, giving details on adults, adolescents, and infants.  Scale and Proportion for Humans changes based on sex and age, this page discusses these differences.

Scale and proportion for humans is one area of drawing that can be very complicated.  The dimensions of the body change depending on the age of the person being drawn as well as the sex of the person.

Scale and proportion for humans past adolescence:

Each figure is typically between 5-7 heads tall (depending on the person’s actual height).

  • The first head is the actual head of the figure.
  • The second head should end right at the breast bone or the middle point of the breasts for a woman.
  • The third head should set the waist point, marking the belly button of a tall person, and the top of the pants for a shorter person.
  • The end of the fourth head should mark either the upper thighs or the knees depending on the height of the figure.
  • The end of the fifth head may end the person or mark the lower legs.

According to measurement rules, adults should have longer limbs than children.

  • The female adult’s elbows should start at the waist (end of the third head for a taller person or the middle of the third head for a shorter person), while the male has longer arms than a female.
  • The male’s elbows should bend a little below the waist

Albrecht Durer (1471-1528) wrote a book on scale and proportion for humans which you can purchase for more information.

The scale and proportion for humans in pre-adolescence:

A pre-adolescent figure should be between 3-5 heads tall (depending on age and height). Their facial features should be larger and the males jaw should be sharper than a female.

Males should have longer limbs (limbs proportioned for an adult, rather than the current body size). Remember, the marking stone for “teens” is their awkwardness.

They are growing into their adult bodies, and thus their dimensions are a strange combination of adult and child. Each person will have a slightly different dimension, but the scale and proportion for human pre-adolescent females should be shorter than males.

Tips on Infants:

Scale and proportion for human infants are even smaller.

Depending on the age, the infant should be three-four heads tall. The second head makes up the body, while the third head makes up the legs. The body and limbs should be fat and the head very round.

  • A good rule for infants is to draw them with circles, no lines.
  • The scale and proportion for humans’ infant faces are simple: large eyes, nose, and mouth. Most infants have the same mouths, very defined with a rounded upper lip for sucking.

You can also purchase Wooden Mannequins for both adults and infants to help your drawings.

This is just a brief outline of the scale and proportion for humans, for more detailed information see the page within this site that best describes what you are searching for.

Remember, the scale and proportion for humans change based on the figure. Only keep the dimensions the same if drawing the same character. Change things, make your characters interesting by changing the scale and proportion for humans.

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