The Male Human Body Proportions – How To Get Them Right Using the heads count method

Let’s Learn The Proportions Of The Male Human Body

Just like I talked about the female body in the previous lesson, it’s time to tackle the male body proportions. While the male & female figures are different, you will notice some similarity between them. You can think of the male figure as one more variation to learn, as you can use many of the proportions mentioned here to draw a large woman if you like.

Just like my female proportions post, I will focus on the proportion of the body itself, so this won’t be an anatomy lesson, though it will help you with that to a degree. I will also use the same two measuring methods I did with the female body. the heads count method & the local measuring method.

I will assume that some readers didn’t read the female figure post. For the reason, I will repeat some of explanations mentioned there. Feel free to skip those if you don’t want to read the same concepts (or read them again to help remember them better in the future).

As a reminder, this post is a part of a series on drawing proportions, you can refer to the first post of the series here if you missed it.

And always remember, you can always refer to my 6 Practical Exercises To Help You Draw Proportions Right post, which includes simple tutorials that can help you practice proportions in a simple yet effective way.

Now, let’s get started~

Previous lesson:- The Female Human Body Proportions – How To Get Them Right Using the heads count method

Revisiting The Two Approaches Of Drawing The Human Figures

There are two approaches to draw the human body using head count. The common approach is to divide the body into different sections, each section is equal to one head. This method is called the head-count method.

The other approach is what I call the “local measuring method”. In that method, we draw each body part based on how many heads it is. To give you an example, to draw the thighs, you can draw them as 2~ heads tall. The advantage to this method is that it allows you to draw each body part on its own, which makes it easier to draw the body in various poses.

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You can use both methods at any given time. Doing so means you will have to learn two sets of measures, which is not a bad thing.

How Tall Is The Male Human Figure Should Be?

There’s no specific height for men. Some men are huge, while some others are quite short. To make things easier, we will draw the average man, which tends to me 7.5 heads tall. Some drawing books & videos will tell you that it’s 8-heads tall, which is also fine. The point is to have a point of reference or standard to learn & help you be consistent with your proportions. You can then draw giant men that are 11 heads tall if that’s what you want, or even midgets.

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Here’s the full male human figure, with ticks each equal one head:-

We will take a closer look at these figures in the following sections.

The Frontal Male Body Proportions

For a starter, I have the head of the figure drawn here. Since that’s what you will draw first whenever you draw the upright figure:-

Going down by one head, we will get to the bottom of the shoulder, and around the armpit. Just like we did with the female figure:-

The shoulders should be over 2 heads wide for our male model. You need to ensure it’s that way while you draw them. You’re essentially dealing with two proportions at the same time here. This is where many figures ends up turning badly.

Fortunately, there’s no rule that states that you should draw everything right the first time. You could even draw the whole thing using thin lines at first, then do the actual drawing over that.

Now we have established our drawing by drawing the shoulders. Let’s continue with the rest of the figure, where another head will get us at the middle of the waist. Notice how the waist is different between the male & female figures (I find it easier to draw the female waist compared to the male):-

The next steps gets us to the bottom of the hip. Notice how the lines of the hips are different than what we see in the female figure, and are defined by the pelvis bone, like here:-

One head below, and we are a bit below the middle of thighs, slightly above where the knees are going to be:-

Then next ticks contains the knees caps themselves, and we get to the widest part of the shin:-

Next head contains the rest of the shins.

The last half head is for the feet themselves, which completes the figure for us:-

These are the most prominent proportions. Since I am a believer in repetition. We will get through the same proportions when it comes to studying the side & back figures. With few changes that are related to the pose itself.

The Male Body Proportions From The Side

The male side body view is very similar to the front view, but because of the difference in perspective, you will see things differently. Despite that, the similarity in the perspective will make it easier to memorize the proportions:-

For starting, we have the head in place:-

Just like the case with the frontal view, Going down one head will get us quite a bit below the armpit. There’s already part of the arm drawn already, as well as the chest:-

The 3rd head ends at the waist. Slightly above the butt. We did this when we draw the figure from the front, but it’s more obvious here:-

One head down, and we draw the whole butt, with the exception of a little small part:-

The next head gets us slightly below the middle the thigh, a bit above the knees:-

We get to the rest of the thighs, as well as the knees themselves. The shins start here as well:-

The next head comprise the rest of the shins, which gets bigger at the back. Which is another things we couldn’t notice on the frontal view.

The last half head is the feet. This is where we can see the whole figure now:-:-

The Male Figure Proportions From The Back

Now it’s time to get to the back view. For the 3rd & last time, we will repeat the same steps we did with the previous 2 views. Some parts that appeared in the frontal & side view never appears in the back view, like the chest, and we get to see some other parts, like the full butt & the back. Despite these differences, the back male view is quite similar to the frontal views in many ways.

For a starter, we have the head from the back. We drew it first as usual.

Similar to the frontal view, the 2nd head goes right below the armpit, but rather than seeing the armpits, we see back lines:-

And as usual, the next head gets us to the middle of the waist:-

One head down covers the whole butt, with a little that’s not shown here:-

The next head gets us below the middle of the thighs, you probably started to take note of that now, since it’s the same for every view:-

This head covers the knees, and it’s where the shins start. Notice how the knees look different from the back, compared to the frontal & side views:-

The head before last covers the rest of the shins:-

And last but not least, the last half head is the feet:-

The Male Body Proportions Using The Local Measuring Method

The proportions demonstration we did above is useful to learn how the body is measured using the head, which is useful to draw certain types of poses, but it’s less useful in case the limbs are bent or in a different position. One of the ways we could deal with those poses is what I call the local measuring method.

With this method, you simply study how many heads each body part is. For example, the arm, as a whole, is about 3 heads total (maybe a bit more). Each of the arm & forearm is about 1.5 or a bit more heads

The thighs, with most of the hips, are about two heads

You can have as many proportions as you want to help you with your drawing. As for the arm & hand, there’s going to be a dedicated lesson to it later on in this blog :>

So, How Am I Supposed To Learn Or Practice The Male Body Proportions From This?

I advice you to memorizing & embrace the proportions mentioned in this post, as well as any ones I didn’t mention but you noticed myself. That’s what you need to draw the basic human body. They will save you a lot of time, since you will draw the human body a lot if you plan to draw humans in any way, shape or form.

It’s worth dedicating the time for it for that reason, that time will be given back to you in time. Either by making it easier to create accurate figures, or when you draw the figure much faster (unless you don’t plan on drawing humans, which makes me wonder why you’re reading this post :> ).

Once you’re good at proportions, you should be able to answer questions like:-

    • How many heads is the length of the thighs, including the hip?
    • How about the length of the arms?
    • What’s the shape of the shin when it’s drawn from the side.
    • What’s the length of the hand compared to the forearm, assuming the arm is extended?

These questions are important because the ones you will ask yourself while drawing a figure, trying to guess the right proportions can waste a lot of your time

When drawing the figure of a younger male should be different, since the proportions is different. It can be confusing at first, but drawing more variations of the male body will get you used to it. The first variation is always the hardest.

I plan to revisit the male proportions more once I get to write about perspective, since drawing the male figure in perspective is a totally new animal :>


I am aware that male body proportions I presented here is not enough to learn to draw it in all the, but it’s a very important step, one that’s an achievement to master. So don’t downplay it just because it won’t allow you to draw however you want.

I plan to talk about anatomy in more details in the future, the anatomy posts I will make will compliment the proportions posts I am making these days.

I hope you found this post useful. I made sure I repeat many of the things I mentioned when I discussed the female body proportions, since such repetition can help you memorize at least some concepts.

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I am an anime artist, and huge fan of digital art. I love drawing with pencils too. But I rarely do that anymore nowadays. Since some aspects of digital art can be tricky, I try my best to explain the concepts as easily as possible.

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