Andrew Loomis's "Flat Diagram"—Part III

A huge "thank you" to commenter roxy rock!  She reminded me that I never completed this series of breaking down the diagrams in Andrew Loomis's "Figure Drawing for All It's Worth" with Part III.  So here it is!

First, a summary of Part I and Part II:

1. Loomis divided the standing male human figure into 8 horizontal divisions, each representing 1 head height; and a bisecting, vertical line (the standing female figure has slightly different proportions. See below for the pages showing the male and female proportions.) The width of the diagram is 2 1/3 heads wide. NOTE the vanishing point (on an invisible horizon line) that's highlighted in yellow.

2. The dashed lines extend from the standing diagram to the edges of a diagram that is in perspective. NOTE how all vertical lines extend to the vanishing point while the 8 head horizontal divisions are re-created in proper perspective.

3. By applying the standing diagram's anatomical divisions to the perspective diagram, the figure is correctly drawn in perspective.

4. This diagram is an alternative method of making a perspective diagram of the Flat Diagram. It's more of a freehand version of the first method while using the same anatomical divisions.

That's the summary of those sections of this page.

The final diagrams on this page involve applying the perspective drawing to a figure that's bending.

1. In this diagram, Loomis applies the Flat Diagram to the upright portion of the body. For the bending portion of the body—the portion that's in perspective—he uses the perspective diagrams that he explained on the rest of the page.

2. This diagram shows two bends of the body. By applying the Flat Diagram to the upright portions and the perspective diagram to the foreshortened parts, your figure will be accurately drawn. (I added the lines from the diagram to the vanishing point.)

I think the 3 keys to understanding this page are: 1) accurately create a male or female Flat Diagram with all of the proper anatomical divisions; 2) determine your horizon line and vanishing point and 3) project your vertical lines to your vanishing point. Once those 3 steps are down correctly, you just have to divide your diagram correctly using midlines, diagonals and intersecting lines.

Here are Loomis's proportions for the standing female and male figures. Note the differences:

That completes this series. I hope I explained this clearly. If you have any questions, additions or need more clarification, PLEASE post a comment below. And become a follower of this blog, too!

I'll continue to dissect this book and other Loomis books since they're all full of great drawing instruction.



  1. Thanks for posting this! I've been working out of this book and, though it's incredible, I sometimes find myself getting stuck due to slightly conflicting examples, lack of information, or simply my own misunderstanding. My question is about a different page in the book: page 46. I understand the arcs in perspective but I can't figure out how he got the size of the figure in the bottom half of the page that is laying down in a "snow angel" type of pose. My idea when drawing the lower half of this page was to take the height of the standing figure and draw that horizontally on the ground on the same plane as the other 3 figures (standing left, seated middle, standing right). When I did that and traced the edges to the vanishing point I got half of the size of his snow angel figure. In other words, if you finish extending his lines for that figure to the horizontal line on the ground where the other figures are placed, the total width is 16 heads! I'm baffled! ha

  2. Thanks for the comment, Richard! Although I don't have any more expertise in this area than you--I'm just trying to figure these diagrams out and then share what I've learned--I'll try re-creating the page 46 diagrams and will post the results on Thursday. See you then!

    1. Awesome I'll definitely tune in on Thursday. In the meantime, I'll do some work on the flat diagrams. Thanks again!

    2. You're welcome! Your question is forcing me to figure this out, too.