Sequence of Invention : The Magic Bean

When a model isn't present to capture a gesture from, and we don't have the clearest mental image or intent, how can we go about drawing a girl from scratch?  Babe Lab would like to suggest a logical sequence of invention.

In a previous tutorial, a proportional tool was introduced : two crosshairs (indicating the direction of the neck root and the thigh root) connected by a bent, bisected wire represent the torso.  We can see this tool in white below.

If this visualization is too abstract, think first of a bean, curved on one side and bent on the other.

In all but the most rigid postures we can see some bean-like deformation in the torso, so (1) draw a few random beans from various angles.  One or two strokes for each.

(2) Apply the crosshair/wire tool to them.  There will be more than one way to do this with each bean, so don't think about it too hard.  The torso is where all other parts of the body branch from, so it's a sensible place to start.  With us so far?

(3) Now determine which ends you'd like to make the neck roots, where the heads will sprout from, but don't actually draw them yet.

4) On the opposite ends will be the thigh roots.  Drop the legs here.  Legs/buttocks are usually what's in contact with the ground, and act as resting places for hands and elbows.

(5) Arms and hands come next in the logical sequence.  Had we drawn these earlier, we wouldn't have had leg geometry to work with or around.

(6) Block in the heads next.  Play with their tilts, keeping gravity and direction in mind.  Heads are very seldom centered!

(7) Now that we have a better idea of what the legs, arms and heads are doing, we can begin to define what's happening around the busts and waistlines.  Maintain the curved/bent relationship from your original beans, but don't keep to their outlines.  You're not drawing vegetables anymore; you're drawing anatomy.  Locate the corners of the hips.  Are there twists?  How are the breasts reacting to the geometry around them, and to gravity?  Ask yourself these questions at this stage.

(8) Without the preceding geometry built, it would be folly to draw hair.  But we have built it, so go nuts!  Think of things like hair and breasts as dessert, to be saved until after you've had your beans!

(9) Now's a good time to remind ourselves where the facial features might go...

10) ...and to tweak the overall graphic shapes of the poses we've created.

(11) From here, we can finish out the drawings as we see fit, adding clothing (optional) and making corrections.  The important, underpinning construction is all done, so we're free to play with subtleties.  As we can see below, not all bean-powered poses will be 100% successful.      

What can you do with a magic bean?