Female Anatomy for the Artist

Female anatomy can be a handful to sculpt. However, it can be greatly improved just by following some simple rules.

When I first started sculpting, I found my biggest hurdle was trying to get the human proportions correct. One problem I still struggle with is making sure the torso is long enough.

Everyone struggles with something.

So how can you make anatomically correct dolls?

The Female Body


Firstly, you need to understand some basic rules for the female anatomy. Let me illustrate:

You can't really say that a female doll will be 6 inches or 12 inches tall, because every doll can be a different size. So instead, we will measure in "head lengths".

Depending what you feel is the ideal body proportions the female body can be 7 heads tall, 7 1/2 heads tall or 8 heads tall, depending what preferences are.

This means that if you measure how large the doll head is, you can then calculate how tall the doll needs to be to be in proportion.

In the sketch I've done, the figure is approximately 7 and a half heads tall. Using this method, you are able to calculate the correct proportions for the female figure no matter what scale your doll is.

Using the drawing as a guide, you can also determine how many heads each section of the body takes up.

For example, the body can take up approximately 2 1/2 heads whilst the legs can take as much as 3 and a half heads. This helps you ensure the legs you create aren't too short for the body. Using this basic concept, you have the building blocks for any female figure.

If you're anything like me you rather having important information in point form. So here are some facts about female anatomy that I have accrued through the years:

* Adult Females can be 7 heads, 7 1/2 heads or 8 heads tall.

* Because women have narrow shoulders, the shoulder width on either side of the head is 3/4 head width (sometimes 1 head width but I find it looks nicer for female sculptures to have just under 1 head width).

* The legs are approximately 3 1/2 heads tall.

* When the hands a dropped by the side of the body, the finger-tips reach half-way down the outer thigh.

* The naval (belly-button) is located just above the hip bone, or just past half-way down the whole body section.

The Female Face


The face can take longer to create than the rest of the human body. So many muscles are at work in the face and this can make it tricky. There are 6 main rules to being able to pull off a realistic face...

1. The eyes are located halfway down the head.

2. The more symmetrical a face is, the more attractive it is.

3. The top of where the ears join the head is in-line with the corner of the eyes.

4. When looking at the face from the front, the distance from the outer corner of the eye to the side of the face should be half an eye width.

5. The corners of the mouth should be approximately in-line with the pupils.

and most the most important rule for learning female anatomy...

6. Always use a photo reference!

The Importance of Referencing


To this day I still use photo references while sculpting my dolls. It is very difficult to get female anatomy to look correct without it, and this is why:

When we look at people from day to day, our minds take in important details that help us distinguish one person from the next.

We take in eye shape, unique moles or scars, overall body shape and hair colour. Our brains are made to filter out any "unimportant" information, such as general anatomy, as this is relatively the same for everyone.

However, these details that our minds block out are the details that we need to recreate.

This is why many people who sculpt from memory tend to make vital flaws in the female anatomy, ESPECIALLY when it comes to sculpting the face.

Without photo references I would be bound by the limits of my knowledge, which is determined the appearance of my first dolls. If I kept sculpting without ever using a reference, I would have kept creating the same flaws. I would have never improved my abilities.

I know it is tempting to just start creating, but to drive yourself to improve, you really need to study photographs with sincerity.

This can take effort, but you will be able to locate errors in your creations faster, which means you will learn to fix them.

Soon you will be creating anatomically correct dolls and awkward looking dolls will be a thing of the past.

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