How to Draw Dragon Ball Z Poses (Lesson 1)
In these tutorials, I will go over how to draw Dragon Ball Z-style bodies. You should be able to use a lot of the stuff here for drawing the bodies of other styles of characters, too. I didn't make up these poses, I took them directly from other DBZ pictures, so you may recognize a few of the more common ones. ^_^
We'll begin with a basic, Dragon Ball-ish pose, and then work our way up to more complicated poses. Start off with the head, torso, and waist. The head is the same shape as in my other DBZ tutorials, just a circle with the lower half of the face added. If you like, you can draw the face first. The only reason that I didn't draw the face first here is because I didn't want to retrace the face that many times. ^_^
The torso is usually relatively large, and wider than the waist. As shown in this picture, the distance from the top of the head to the bottom of the neck is the same as the distance between the bottom of the neck and the bottom of the torso. Also, the distance from the center of the head to the edge of the head is about the same as the distance from the edge of the head to the tip of the shoulder. Hopefully that will help you get the proportions right. I usually add extremely basic muscle definition, just to get a more three-dimensional look and help with the placement of the other forms. Make sure you draw all this very lightly, because you'll be erasing it and drawing over it later.
Next, sketch in the basic shape of the arms and legs. Don't worry about the muscles or clothes yet, we'll add those later. Right now, just use sketchy ovals, circles, and cylinders to get the proportions. Use cylinders for the arms, ovals for the legs, and circles for the shoulders, joints and hands. This method may seem awkward at first, but it is a great help in determing the proper length and size of the various parts of the body.
In this picture, the arms don't go straight down. The elbows are pulled back behind him, so that his forearms are level with his waist. Thus, the arms will not be drawn as long as if they were hanging limply at his side. Foreshortening the arms isn't all that difficult, if you think of them just as cylinders. Notice here that with both arms, the top part of the arm slants inward, since it is moving away from you. The lower part slants back out, since his fists are coming towards you. These angles are further exaggerated by the little arrows on the sides of his arms.
DBZ legs tend to be short and stumpy and don't really taper down as much as other characters' legs. Just be careful not to make them too short, or they will look weird. ^_^
Once the arms and legs are in place, you can begin drawing the details over your rough sketch, such as clothing, hair, and muscles. Folds in clothing can be difficult, but just try to see which way the cloth is being pulled. For example, his pants are very loose and baggy, so it bunches up around his knees and ankles; the folds curve inward and down towards his feet. The material of his belt is stretched around his waist, so the folds are more horizontal.
The way Dragon Ball Z muscles are drawn reminds of a normally proportioned person with flesh-colored water balloons stuck to his arms. ^_~ The muscles are always very big and round, and are shaded to look like they protrude a great deal, like balloons. This is more prominent in Super Saiyajin characters. The point of this is that it might help you to think of the muscles as individual ellipsoids when drawing them. ^_^
Erase all the unncessary lines, leaving only the outline. Add the face and hands, as well as extra details on the muscles and clothes. Clean up your sketch as best as you can.
You may now color or shade your picture with a meduim of your choice. Make sure to make the muscles look very round, and make the shadows on the clothes very dark and contrasting.
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