# Art Lesson 3: Measuring the model

If you missed lesson 2 that is all right, you can go back and look at it here and either do that this week or continue on to this one which will clarify lesson 2.

Last week I talked about how artists measure people in heads. This is a difficult idea to grasp (it took me years to get it figured out and even now it isn’t an exact science.) There is a bit of a trick to it that I didn’t mention but which will help you “get it”.

Let’s start with a picture in a magazine–choose one where the person is standing up straight and tall. Now get a scrap of paper at least as tall as the person in the picture. Measure the persons head then make a another tik mark for the head, and again till you have something similar to a ruler. Now figure out how many heads tall that person is.

This week I just want you to focus on measuring. For each individual picture make a new head ruler (since each head is a different size:)). Th emore you practice the easier this new form of measuring will get. In fact after a while you will be able to “see” it in your head or just use a pencil and your thumb to measure how many heads tall a person is.

Let me show you some examples.

As you can see, the little girls here is three of her own heads tall.

The lady in the bridal gown is 7 of her own heads tall.

The lady with the hat is 7 of her own heads tall. (An interesting note–on going through magazines I found that most models are 7 heads tall.)

I made a new “head ruller” from scrap paper for each of these. I think it is interesting how people end up being either full heads tall or a number of heads and a half (though that is usually when they are still growing.) However, where their hips, shoulders, and knees fall on this scale varies.

The more you practice measuring people using their heads the easier it will be to figure out how tall to make them and to get them in the right proportions for them.

I actually find it easier to measure body parts by a relative measurement, rather than an absolute one. Instead of stating that the torso is two heads high, and the arms 1.5 heads high, I find it easier to measure it relatively. I start with the head. Then I draw the torso in relation to the head size. After that I draw the arms in relation to the overall size of the torso (e.g. the elbow is a certain amount of inches above the pelvis) I continue this until I reach the feet; then my picture is done.

I hope that made sense.

interesting that you mentioned the thumb…i actually explained it to grace that way…it was easier for her to understand than the head…