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Kanji de Manga Vol 3 cover image

Next, let's move on to the arms. The arms consist of three basic sections: the upper arm, the foream, and the hand. Each can be represented in prelimiary sketches by oval shapes. Now, I know some people don't like using the shapes; you do not have to do it this way, this is just one possible way to go about sketching arms. Some books recommend using cylinders, but it's better to use flat ovals because they more closely match the shape of the arm. It isn't shown here, but if the arms are held loosely at the side, the hands should come down to the middle of the thigh. The elbows should be at about waist length.



Kanji de Manga Vol 3 cover image

Once you have your basic shapes of the arms down, you can refine them and make them look more realistic. This is a little more difficult. ^_^ When drawing the arms, don't make them straight and flat; arms have muscles, after all. ^_^ Never draw a straight arm as just a long cylinder (unless you are doing a super-deformed/chibi pic). ^_^ The arm starts at the shoulder. Notice how the shoulder bulges out slightly, then curves back down. The arm tapes slightly inwards until you reach the elbow. 

At the elbow, the arm widens again just after the elbow where the biceps are (as shown in the topmost picture here). The elbow itself can be a little daunting to draw. Remember that the arm doesn't just start curving in the other direction; there is a joint, and it should be shown (as in the top and bottom left pic). There are more examples below.



Kanji de Manga Vol 3 cover image

Here are some more poses for arms, this time showing how the parts of the arm overlap. It is sometimes easier to visualize the overlapping or foreshortening if you use basic oval shapes first, but again, you do not have to use them if you do not want to. Notice how in the topmost picture, the arm that is moving away from us tapers and grows smaller the further away from us it is.



Kanji de Manga Vol 3 cover image

These poses are a little more difficult to refine. It is very important that you pay close attention to the way each part of the arm is facing, and how the elbow is to be positioned. Try to imagine the arm as two different shapes stuck together: the cylindrical upper arm, and the forearm, which is sort of shaped like a bowling pin with a bump on the bottom. ^_^ That should help you in determining the position of the elbow.


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