Day 5: Torso / spine line – distance to each side

We’ve talked about looking for just the top 0.1% of the information in the pose and filtering out the rest, looking for the important curves and angles that define the torso. Now we’ll take a look at what people often tend to reduce and lose that dynamic look of the pose.

When looking at the torso from an angle, it’s really useful to explain to the viewer’s eyes what the angle is, and when there is a twist in the torso, to explain to the viewer’s eyes how the twist is changing the angle of the torso relative to your eyes.

The really useful thing to look for is the distance from the middle (the torso centre line to the sides) versus the same distance on the other side at different points on the line. 

Lets look at an example from Michael. He’s only recently started life drawing and is improving really rapidly. This is a great drawing he did, but notice that the distance from the centre line to each side in his drawing are more similar to each other than on the photo.


So here the red lines make it seem like the distance to each side is more similar than it is.

And when there’s a twist in the pose, the difference varies along the line, some parts of the torso are more angled from our eyes than others. You need to get those differences to show how the torso is twisting.

One way to summarise the last few videos/articles is this: There’s a tendency to move poses towards something like this – a straight pose viewed from a straight angle.  So if the pose is like this, there’s a tendency to reduce the curve of the spine, make the pose less rotated, reduce the twist. It’s this tendency to make the pose less fun!

So the message is, find what makes the pose great and instead of reducing it, emphasise it. And during today’s practice, when you’re presented with a pose with the torso at an angle or twisting, observe the pose and look for the difference in the distance from one side of the line to the edge compared to the other edge and get that into the drawing. If the pose is twisting and that difference is changing, then get that twist in there.

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