How To Draw The Torso: Front View

Updated: Jan 18



If I had to pick a section of human anatomy that has given me the most trouble, I would have to say it’s the torso. Now, I know most artists may say the back view is harder but I would argue that it only appears that way, from lack of exposure. Considering that characters need to face the viewer more often, the front of the torso is more important to understand as a comic artist.

The torso is a difficult task to break down because of the many puzzle pieces (aka muscle groups) that have to be wedged together in order to construct a cohesive whole. Just like the hands, the torso can contort and bend in various ways that can make the process of learning even more toilsome. But as always, fear not because this tutorial aims to make this process of learning a painless one and hopefully even an enjoyable one. For every task that is arduous, it is equally as rewarding when milestones of understanding have been reached.



Structure

As always, the skeleton informs the foundation of all anatomy. For the torso, which is the biggest mass of the body, there are three main skeletal structures to remember. First, the rib cage and collarbone, which I group together as the chest bones. Second is the pelvis and the last is the spine, which connects the chest bones and the pelvis together. The spine is arguably the most important and is drawn in an S curve somewhat resembling a question mark.


You can draw these forms with simple shapes like cylinders and ovals but I think the most simplified forms are tilted cubes. Let’s take a look at the proportions of these simplified forms.

As Will Weston so beautifully teaches, these masses can be split in half horizontally at the rib cage. Then, if you further divide the bottom section of the original proportion you will notice it matches up with the top of the pelvis.


Because we want this information to be easily incorporated into your figures, also remember that in order to find the top of the head simply stack another equal measurement on top of the chest.