Drawing Hidden Body Parts

Depending on the pose, particularly various seated and reclining poses, you will find that partial sections of the body such as upper or lower limbs will be hidden from view. When the entire limb is outside of our view, the artist can ignore it, simplifying the piece. However, when it is only partially visible, we must draw the visible portion by imagining the whole. If not, there is a great potential for the visible section to be ill-proportioned and out of line with the portion of the body out of view.

To ease the process, many artists will draw the contour line of the part hidden from view (in essence, as if the model were transparent), only to erase these lines once the visible portion has be rendered using them as a guide. As you advance in your drawing, you will be able to perform this process mentally using your well-honed observation skills.

Below is an example of drawing hidden body parts to ensure proper proportions and alignment of visible parts.

Other pages of interest

Quick studies
Sketch types
Contour sketches
Drawing the human body
Drawing hidden body parts