Normal Nachos

You don't know it yet, but this nacho chip is going to help you draw better arms and legs.

If we think of a nacho as a flat, 3 sided polygon, the direction its top is pointed is referred to as its 'normal.'  [facing up here]

Tilt the nacho, and its normal points in another direction. [facing down here]

Now, imagine that nachos came in all different triangular shapes, some lopsided, others razor-thin.

What happens when we map nachos to the triangular shapes of the arms and legs?  What are the sizes and shapes of these nachos?  In which directions are their normals pointing?

Knowing 'the normal of a nacho' will help you determine which planes of a limb are top planes, and which are side planes.  The axis of the elbow/knee runs parallel to the direction of the normal.

Knowing the size/shape of a nacho will help you determine how much a limb is foreshortened.  An 'equilateral' nacho, for instance, will be less foreshortened than an 'isosceles' nacho. [pictured below]

Note the variety of nachos and normals present in most poses.

Also note that, while the nachos are composed of straight lines, the arms and legs they represent also contain curves.  Use the 'normal nacho' method to establish proportion and better understand form, not as a means of rigid construction.

¡Vaya con nachos!

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