Anatomy expert Chris Legaspi presents his tried and tested strategies for achieving accurate foreshortening in figure drawing
Foreshorten the figure.
Using good observation and simple strategies, achieving proportionally accurate perspective can be simple and fun. I first see the figure as simplified geometric forms. The most useful form for describing perspective is the cylinder, because it’s both round and straight in character. As such, it’s ideal for describing the position of a form.
Position is where a form is in threedimensional space. The keys to position are direction and eye-level. Direction refers to which way the form is moving, while in terms of eye-level, I can either be above or below the form.
The primary tools I use to achieve perspective are tapering cylinders, crosssections and overlaps. A tapering cylinder both mimics the natural forms of the body and also suggests perspective. Crosssections are the curved lines that segment a cylindrical form. If my eye-level is below the form, then my cross sections will curve up, and vice versa. The exceptions to this rule are when the form moves toward or away from me in perspective. In either case careful observation of the direction is the key.
I use overlaps to achieve deep perspective. I’ll often exaggerate existing overlaps or sometimes create my own. This gives me one more layer of depth that really helps to push the illusion of foreshortened, three-dimensional form.
Chris is keen to share his knowledge of art theory. You can see more of his work at www.freshdesigner.com.