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Turning Figure Drawing On Its Head

Gill, S and Sanderson, RE (2014) Turning Figure Drawing On Its Head. In: IFFTI 2014: The Power of Fashion, 27 January 2014 - 31 January 2014, Bunka Gakuen University, Japan.

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Abstract

Since the development of proportional drawing techniques, documented initially by Greek scholars, it has been common practice to use the human head as a unit of measurement to develop an understanding of the proportions of a figure. Many scholars propose the head length relates proportionally to the body as one eighth of height, evidenced by drawings from this era, and this is still prevalent in many published figure-drawing texts. Current guidance, offering exercises to draw the figure using head theories, often propose elongation of the height for aesthetic purposes in establishing the heights of key body location and their widths. Analysis of these methods indicate that many fashion figure images are taller, slimmer and often defined as a single ideal shape, not representative of the customer who would later wear the designs and with no consideration of variations in body size or shape. Recent technological developments using 3D body scanning technology have enabled the collection of large volumes of measurement data and techniques have been explored to establish how real bodies and their proportions compare to those developed using figure drawing techniques. This has been expanded to recognise the different figure proportions for different body shapes, which the current head theory is not equipped to implement. The available data from the 3D scanner exposes a flaw in the concept of using the head length as a unit from which to determine proportion, particularly when drawing figures of varied sizes. If the 'head' theory was implemented this would result in size ten figures having a smaller head than a size sixteen, opening the debate of which reference dimension on the figure would be a more successful unit. This research proposes other suitable benchmarks for developing drawing theories that would produce more criteria specific figures, which are more representative of real people and take into consideration ratios, that allow for the development of different body shapes.

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