Croquis Part II

The human figure is based on guidelines defined by mathematical formulae establishing the ideal human proportions. The classical canon is derived from the Greco-Roman ideal. In Leonardo da Vinci’s Virtuvian Man circa 1487 we see a visual representation of these proportions. Leonardo’s drawing correlates the ideal human proportions with the geometry of Roman Architect Vitruvius in his book Treatise De Architectura expressing his theory that man is the measure of all things.

There are numerous mathematical consistencies in the body. Our wingspan is equal to our height; our foot fits from elbow to wrist, our face is the length of our hand and on and on. The measurement of the head plays the pivotal role as the basic module for measuring the human body. This average is 8 heads tall, 2 heads wide.  Therefore the total height of an adult is eight times its size.

The Fashion Illustration Croquis is elongated to 9-10 Heads tall. This distortion of the figure lengthens the legs and lower torso. They are also drawn slimmer, 1 1/2 heads wide instead of 2. The body itself is divided in half- the torso equaling the length of the legs. The basics canons tend to remain the same.

Now the croquis can be stylized and will often change over time as fashions change. Everyone has their own variations, perceived ideals.

In comic books and Manga the figure is closer to 8 heads high and superheroes are often drawn with increased muscularity. Fashion schools often use a 8 1/2 head croquis for woman and 9 head for the male.

I tend to make the legs longer than the torso (opting not to split the figure in half), the shins elongated and the shoulders a bit broader. But at 6’1″ with a linebackers shoulder this makes sense. In my world Men just are not taller then woman so I use the 9 or 10 head figure for both.

The Dalai Lama says you have to “know the rules well, so you can break them effectively”. Like with music you learn the scales first before playing variations on the tune. So here we will start with the basics. Once you master these you can manipulate the croquis as you see fit.

So let’s start by looking at the basic building blocks. The body is broken up into sections each in relation to one another. These sections are then put together to create a balance figure.

Creating the template for drawing the croquis:

First draw a line down the center of your paper.

Then Draw parallel lines every inch for ten inches.

Drawing the croquis:

If drawing the average proportions of the eight head figure the chin falls at 1,the bust line at 2, the elbow & waist at 3, hipline at 4, fingers tips at 5, knee at 6 and heel at 8.  By using the head-length units we can assure the right balance when drawing poses.  The shoulders are 2 heads wide, waist is I head, and hips 1.5 heads. The arm from elbow to finger tip is 2 head. Knee to ankle 2 head, foot 1 head, hand ¾ head.

The nine head figure is drawn in the same fashion as the eight head.  The shoulders and hips are still 1.5 heads wide and the waist is 1 head wide, etc. as listed above.  But as we said the nine head figure is elongated and slimmed. It is drawn as follows:

Female Croquis:

  • The head is drawn from 1 to 2.
  • The neck is from 1-1 1/2.
  • The shoulders at 1 1/2.
  • High pointof bust at 2 and bust line at 2 1/4
  • Waist and elbows at 3.
  • High hip at 3 1/2.
  • Hip at 4.
  • Crotch at 4 1/4
  • Finger tips at 5. (Generally mid thigh)
  • Top of knee at 6.
  • Widest part of calf at 7.
  • Ankle at 9.

**Some people draw the crotch at 4 1/2 and the knee closer to 6 1/2 and the widest part of the calf at 7 1/2. Like I said there is variations.

Male Croquis:

  • The head is drawn from 1 to 2.
  • The neck is from 1-1 1/2.
  • The shoulders at 1 1/4 to 1 1/2.
  • Pecsat 2 1/4
  • Waist and elbows at 3 1/4.
  • High hip at 3 1/2.
  • Hip at 4.
  • Crotch at 4 1/2
  • Finger tips at 5.
  • knees at 6 1/2.
  • Widest part of calf at 7 1/2.
  • Ankle at 9.

Here is a fabulous video tutorial on Drawing the Fashion Croquis by Elidada84 

I have created a blank practice template for male and female figures. Here’s Thread Magazine’s template for a croquis family.

Going forward I hope to bring you more information on drawing faces, hands and feet as well as various silhouettes, poses and body types. We will explore ways to create balance, movement and manipulate the figure.

I promise to have more templates and resources for you to explore and use but in the meantime practice practice practice.

Images: (1) Leonardo da Vinci’s Virtuvian Man- Wikipedia (2) Bina Albing’s Fashion Sketchbook


10 thoughts on “Croquis Part II

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  9. Thank you for a great explanation and illustration of the human croquis. I have not seen anything else so well explained and illustrated before. Not even the existing sketching books explain it as clear as you do.

    I am a fashion design teacher, and would like to ask permission to use your instructional video and images, to teach my students how to create their own croquis and designs.

    I would only like to use your material as a reference to help the students understand the general concept. It is not intended for business or to be reproduced in any other manner different than helping the students learn better.

    Looking forward to your feedback.

    Thank you,
    M. Fischer

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