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Throughout the ages, contrapposto has been considered a beautiful way to display the human form. It was used in ancient Greece and Rome, and after that, in the renaissance period, it was founded as an artistic theory.
Let’s see how we can use contrapposto to create some beautiful lying down poses, that will make your characters more attractive and engaging.
You can find parts 1, 2 and 3 here:
Note: Throughout this lesson, I will be referring to the sides of the body as viewed from the character’s POV, not the viewer’s. So the “character’s left hand side” will be on the right as we are viewing it. Left and right are very important here, so I wanted to make that clear before we start!
How to use contrapposto on a lying down pose
First, let’s take a look at figure 1. This is a figure lying totally straight on the ground, with no contrapposto. Can you see how unnatural this looks as a pose?
When someone lies down, it is much more natural to relax in to the surface below them, creating a pose like we see in figure 2. Here the waist relaxes down to meet the ground, and the shoulders and hips tilt in towards each other like in the above image.
This is not so much of a balance issue, like with other contrapposto poses, where the shoulders and hips tilt to balance the character according to gravity – this time the shoulders and hips are almost forced to tilt, because of the position of the waist.
So this may not be your “classic” contrapposto pose, but it does follow the same rules. Like with sitting poses, the hips tilt up on the side opposite to the centre of gravity.
Tips for drawing great lying down poses
Lying down poses will often look a bit sexy, and that’s thanks to the inbuilt contrapposto that occurs when we draw a natural lying down pose.
PRO TIP 1
Make sure to raise the character’s bum along with the hip.
PRO TIP 2
The waist is relaxing down to meet the ground on the inner side, so make sure to emphasise the curve of the waist on the outer side. There should be more of an “hourglass” shape than usual on this outer side.
Key contrapposto point!
Remember, in standing poses, the hips raise on the opposite side of the body to the one the character is placing their weight on. However, for sitting or lying down poses where the centre of gravity has shifted, the hips tilt in the opposite way to how they would in a standing pose.
When the upper body is raised, we get an even deeper “hourglass” dip at the waist.
When the body is twisted like this, the angle of the hips and shoulders are emphasised, which also emphasises the S-curve of the body.
Here, the force of the body leaning on the floor allows for a stronger twist. In general, the more the body is curved and twisted (while still looking natural, of course!), the more attractive the pose will look.
Here the character is lifting their upper body, creating a deep curve at the waist, and making their bum stick out more.
If we look from behind, it’s easier to see the way in which the bum and hips have been raised. We can also really see that strong S-curve moving down from the shoulders, through the back, and down to the hips.
That brings us to the end of today’s talk on lying down poses. Be sure to use contrapposto in your work, to create more dynamic, attractive poses!
Read more about contrapposto here: