Drawing the Female Figure
The female figure varies from the male figure in a variety of ways. Most of these are generalizations based on the average male or female model. Females tend to be portrayed with a light touch, more curvilinear, and with more subtlty in the superficial muscles.
When drawing the female, lines are often drawn with more curvature and softness. In design the terms masculine and feminine are used to describe the character of a form. A feminine form often has soft flowing and rounded lines, where a masculine form is usually angular, rough and hard-edged. Cars, for example, either have rounded flowing lines like a Jaguar (feminine) or hard sharp edges like a Jeep (masculine). Look at this example by Pierre Paul Prud'hon titled Venus. In this example Prud'hon handles the drawing material in a lighter, more curvilinear way when drawing the female figure. In much of Western art history, the male is portrayed in a much harsher way than the female figure.
When drawing, one may want to handle the charcoal or pencil in a more flowing way with less tension on the drawing tool. Remember that this is a visual generalization and it may be just as appropriate to handle the female figure in a harsher way depending on the context from which you are working.
Hint:Using the entire arm when drawing eliminates harsh angles and sudden changes in direction.
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created 6/15/98 by R. M. Larmann