Andrew Loomis—Arcs of Movement in Perspective Analysis II

Continuing a dissection of page 46 in Andrew Loomis's "Figure Drawing for All It's Worth"—

The Andrew Loomis—Arcs of Movement in Perspective Analysis I post ended with this image, a rough diagram of the figure before it moves:

So how did Loomis determine the positioning of the figure in this diagram?

It's based on these diagrams on page 33:

And specifically this part:

By applying the page 33 anatomical landmarks to the figure on page 46, you have a guide to positioning the various body parts in perspective. Keep in mind that the most of the body at the angle shown on page 46—torso, pelvis arms and legs—are cylinders. Remembering this will help you in conceptualizing the figure.

Of course, it's ideal to have some knowledge of anatomy to do these drawings correctly. That's why I said in the previous post that learning perspective and anatomy should come before learning to place a figure in perspective.

Please tell me if these explanations were helpful to you or if there's anything you think I did wrong or is confusing. I appreciate your feedback!

AND if you DO like these posts, become a follower by clicking on the "Follow" button on the right. Thanks!


  1. Rochelle! Thanks so much for posting about this. Serious appreciation for taking my question and making a post about it! Definitely a very helpful explanation of a rather confusing topic as presented in the book. The problem I'm still running into, however, is about how that figure relates in size to the other figures in the drawing. The size looks correct, but mathematically I'm not getting it to add up. Loomis states that from 1 figure, you can get the proportions for any other figure in a drawing so, when I drew this page freehand, I tried to use the proportions of the standing figure to help me place the snow angel figure. That's where I ran into the problem: I'm failing to understand how they relate mathematically. The figure I end up getting is half the size of his in the book.

    I'm attaching an image that shows the discrepancy I've encountered. In a nutshell I thought that since any figure with outstretched limbs inhabits a perfect square 8 head by 8 head box, I could use the height of the standing figure (which I drew first), flip that measurement horizontally and draw it on the horizontal line on which the other figures are placed, then trace those points to the vanishing point. This should give the width in perspective of the box in which to place "Mr. Snow Angel." To my surprise, however, doing this gives only half the width of Loomis's snow angel figure. Furthermore, if you were to finish extending the lines in Loomis's drawing from the vp through the box for the snow angel and to horizontal line on which the other figures are placed, you get a measurement that is double the size of the height of the standing figures. Based on how width and height should both be 8 heads, I'm not sure how this makes sense, although it looks correct. I can't figure out if I am doing something wrong or if Loomis used a different technique to place that figure in the drawing that he didn't mention.

    Here is a link to the image:

    Let me know if you have any thoughts about this or if I'm doing something wrong. In the meantime I'm going to sit here scratching my head. Maybe if I scratch hard enough, the answer will come! ha

    Thanks again for the post!

    1. Richard, thanks for the response! I'm sorry my post didn't address your particular issue. But your detailed description and your image helped me understand the issue better.

      This is my humble opinion: I don't think those two illustrations are supposed to be related which may be why your measurements aren't adding up. I read this page as being ONLY about the arcs of movement on randomly drawn figures and not about the figures being proportional to one another, unlike the figures on pages 30 and 47 where all of the figures are clearly related to each other.

      Even though the figures on page 46 have the same vanishing point, I don't think they were meant to be proportional to each other.

      Admittedly, my understanding of perspective is basic but like you, I can't figure out how those two figures relate mathematically. I think if they were meant to be proportional, we could figure it out or Loomis would've indicated as such.

      So maybe you don't need to continue scratching your head!

  2. Hey Rochelle,

    I think you must be right - there doesn't seem to be a way in which they can be related. I was just scratching my head over the fact that that figure doesn't look incorrectly proportional (one would think a figure double the size of what it should be would look pretty wrong - though maybe it does the more I look at it), and the fact that the proportions are exactly double the other figures - which seemed strangely coincidental. Also, all of the other figures on the page relate proportionally Maybe he just made that one bigger so we could see the arcs better or something. But yes, after reading your response I've ceased the scratching and resumed working on the material. Thanks again for taking the time to talk about this! I look forward to more posts.

    1. Hi, Richard. I'm glad I could be helpful and good luck with your continued studies! Loomis is not for the weak.

  3. Oh, thank you very much for this post. I was just scratching my head as well, hah, but not because of Mr. Angel but because I can´t figure out how am I supposed to determine the arcs.

    On that page 46, down there, he says "The eye alone will be enough to determine the arcs. Draw them until they "seem right"".

    And I don´t quite understand how am I start to draw them. Yeah, it should be circle and then putting circle into perspective, so "bending" it into perspective form until it seem right. This makes sense. But even if I know what I should do, I somehow can´t put it into correct perspective, meaning, I don´t now how far should I stretch the circle (therefore arm or leg) into the far (into the vanishing point).

    Not sure if it makes even sense. But maybe I just need to draw arcs over and over again.. or better, draw hand/leg first in some perspective position and then start from it. Like on the lower left figure (with three hands). Draw default hand and then somehow put circle into perspective and draw position I want. BUT, how far should circle be stretched? I would make it more circly and it probably would be right. I´m really confused by this.

    So really, maybe I just need to draw them over and over again until I get it.. (?)

    Btw, I don´t know why, but that mr. Angel seems so right to me. Like perspectively. And I don´t know why if he is bigger than that figure closer to us, as Rochelle found out. It boggles my mind.

    1. Hi, Centurion, thanks for your comment!

      My opinion is that the Loomis books are extremely helpful. BUT the explanations and/or diagrams can sometimes be confusing which is why I'm trying to figure them out. If I'm confused, then others are probably, too. And if I can help anyone better understand this great drawing resource, that's even better!

      I think you came to the correct conclusion: the only way to understand this stuff, improve one's eye and improve one's drawing is to draw ellipses (or anything) repeatedly.

      But you brought up a good question. If you don't know how to draw something, how can you practice it properly especially if you can't get trained feedback?

      I've searched the internet for answers and I have four suggestions to help you learn to draw proper ellipses.

      First, purchase an ellipse set. Yes, it's over $100 but there's really no other way to know if you're drawing ellipses correctly than to check them against these guides. This recommended set is the one I bought:

      Second, purchase How to Draw by Scott Robertson (or search the internet for the ellipse exercises from the book.) The beginning of the book has ellipse exercises.

      Third, do the exercises at this site: You'll have to create the exercise templates either in an illustration program like Illustrator or draw the template accurately by hand and make copies. I found all of these exercises extremely helpful.

      Fourth, for $12 download all of Marshall Vandruff's perspective course here: This is a STEAL! It's 12 downloadable videos jam-packed with easy-to-understand explanations of drawing in perspective, exercises and books for further learning.

      Good luck in your studies and keep me updated on your progress!

    2. Oh, gosh, so much stuff just for perspective. Thank you, because those look really helpful. I guess I´m gonna have to draw elipses until I´m wasted, haha.

      And yeah, I really like Loomis´ book, but sometimes it leaves me with questions and no answers and it´s getting really frustrating. Especially when I´m learning by myself and don´t know if I´m doing something right or not.. and perspective is biggest hell for me at the time (with drawing legs, lol) and I don´t know if it´ll get better further in the book, after I study muscles or I should do something else... But I´m trying to keep going and see what will happen.

      I see a bit of a progress since start, that´s great, but I still feel like I´ve learn almost nothing even if I´m further than I was before. Currently I´m at the page number 48 and this gets me cause I´m not sure how to properly built those quick setups. How do I know how long it should be in perspective or how thick. I trying to mix it with what was said before in early pages, but sometimes I feel like it does not even makes sense. And drawing in perspective is really hard at the moment and some drawing feels like from a child and it falls many times flat and deformed.

      But, I hope it´ll get better, also I plan (after studying muscles chapter) to start with as well. But not sure if it´s a good idea, but I feel like I´ll need it.
      As well I was thinking about . Not sure if you heard of this site. That guy has many videos on youtube as well and he worked for many years for Disney and directed Brother Bears and worked on many big movies and I like his style of explaining things. And courses are much cheaper than on other sites. So maybe it would be nice addition after Loomis. But I love Loomis´ drawing style.

      Anyway, I might post some of mine drawings here (but not sure how, cause I don´t see this option. Maybe I need to register properly)

      And thank you again for respond and those many tips.

    3. Hi, Centurion!

      If you want to learn figure drawing and you're a beginner or are unsure where to start, I recommend the Figure Fundamentals series at and the book Movement and Form: The Youssef Drawing Syllabus by Samantha Youssef.

      Both provide step-by-step instruction that starts with gesture drawing and goes from there. I have a paid subscription to the Proko lessons but he has free versions as well. He's a great teacher and he's broken down learning to draw the figure in easy to understand steps.

      Youssef also breaks down drawing the figure and instructs how to improve one's eye.

      Regarding posting: yes, I'd love to see your work! I think you have to upload it to another site and then tell me the link.

      Enjoy your drawing and learning and don't give up!