How to Draw Feet with Structure – Foot Bone Anatomy

Hey welcome to Proko, my name is Stan Prokopenko. If you’ve been following my Anatomy for Artists
course from the beginning, you’ve learned how to draw almost the whole skeleton. We’ve worked our way down the body, all the
way to the foot bones. The foot is challenging to draw for a number
of reasons. It’s flexible – much more than you might think
– and contorts itself into different forms for every pose. It’s asymmetrical. You have to keep track of what’s medial and
what’s lateral, which can be confusing if you don’t have a way to simplify. And finally, the foot will, very often, be on
the ground. That means you have to be confident about
ground planes and perspective so your figures aren’t magically levitating Superheroes. I mean, you can get away with that once or
twice, but eventually it gets suspicious… Fortunately, the bones are a great way to
study the foot. Since the foot is so bony, knowing the inside
anatomy directly helps you draw the outside surface. This lesson will focus on the overall design
of the foot, and the form, proportion, and mobility of the individual bones. Strong, Flexible, and Springy The foot bones are a lot like the hand bones. Their distal sections have near-identical
designs. But the proportions are very different. The hand’s three sections are organized from
small to large for maximum dexterity. The foot is organized from large to small for
maximum stability. You’ll notice a similar naming scheme too. Instead of carpals, the foot uses a “T” like
“Toes:” tarsals, metatarsals, and phalanges. There’s another design difference as well. The foot is built with arches. This design allows the foot to bear the weight
of the body. Have you ever tried to squeeze an egg? It’s surprisingly difficult. But it’s no match for my muscles… The arches distribute the pressure and make
it strong. It’s why we use arches for doorways, bridges,
and other structures that need to be strong. A foot’s arches make it strong enough to bear
the weight of the body. Another benefit of this design is shock absorption. Your foot flattens when it hits the ground
– it literally spreads out so it’s wider and longer and flatter. When you lift it up again, it springs back
to its tall arched form. That flexibility lets us adapt to uneven surfaces. Artists can take advantage of the foot’s flexibility,
and even exaggerate it to show springy, tall, skipping feet; heavy, squashed standing feet;
and even twisted feet. The form of the foot is made of 3 arches,
but This 3-arch form of the foot is kinda complicated. So we need something simpler to start with. The height of the foot is about 1/3 the overall
length. It’s also about equal to the width of the
foot. So, you can start with 3 equal boxes and you’ll
have a pretty good proportion guide. Within this container we can draw an elongated
pyramid-like form with toes in the front and blocky heel in the back that extends past
the ankle. Then we can apply those 3 arches and some
other stuff that makes the foot more real. But we went through that too quickly. To be able to simplify the foot like this,
we need to dive in and first learn the complex forms that these simple forms represent. Let’s start with the tarsals. Those are the ankle bones. Seven bones in two rows. They take up almost half the length of the
foot. Even though they look like stacked bricks
glued to each other, these bones are not static. The joints between the tarsals invert and
evert, and flex and extend. However, there is one bone that’d rather just
sit there – or stand there. The calcaneus is the heel bone. It’s a huge, blocky bone – the biggest bone
of the foot. You can feel it on the back of your foot,
below the Achilles tendon and above the soft padding of the heel. The calcaneus bears most of your weight, so
it makes sense that it’s offset towards the lateral edge of the foot, which is the flatter,
more weight-bearing side of the foot. On top of the calcaneus is the talus bone. It’s a wheel that the tibia and fibula grab
onto to form a hinge joint. This wheel shape makes it easy for the foot
to bend up and down but difficult to rock side to side. That side to side motion happens at another
joint – between the talus and calcaneus. The last bone in this row is the navicular. It’s named after a boat because it has a boat-like
shape. The concave plane of this boat is the socket
to the ball-in-socket joint that it forms with the talus. The head of the talus is the ball. The important thing is this bump right here. You can see it on the surface of the side
of the foot especially during inversion. The second row of bones is easier. There’s four bones here: three of them are
named “cuneiform,” and the last one is named “cuboid.” They fit together with varying shapes. Kinda like that puzzle for a dumb guy… Let’s look at them from the front. This is the transverse arch. It’s designed like an old stone bridge to
carry the weight of the body horizontally across the foot.. The inner two wedge in tightly between the
outer two. And those are the tarsals. Oooh, that is s a lot, so let’s review before moving
on. The heel bone is a big block. Sitting on top of it is this wheel that’s
gripped by the wrench of the tibia and fibula. There’s that boat shaped bone, and then the
second row, the old stone bridge. Now let’s move on to the next row. The metatarsals The metatarsals meet the tarsals with plane
joints. The metatarsals of the foot have the same
design as the metacarpals of the hand. They’re long and slender, with a base, shaft,
and distal head. The metatarsals are all about the same length,
except for the big toe. It’s a little shorter and much thicker. Its medial edge is actually subcutaneous;
try feeling it. Let’s look at them grouped into a simple form. It’s an extension of the arch of the tarsals
that twists and becomes flatter towards the toes. The front plane is curved forward and up,
just like the knuckles of the hand. Except on the foot, the second metatarsal
is the peak of the curve, not the middle like on the hand. Also the front plane is rounded, cause remember
the ends are joints. Each metatarsal has a round head at the end
that the phalanges rotate around. These round heads pop out when you flex your
toes. The phalanges The metatarsals articulate with the phalanges
through ellipsoid joints. Lots of wiggling happens here: flexion, extension,
hyperextension, abduction, and adduction. We have really good dexterity with our fingers,
but horrible dexterity with our toes. Try holding a pencil and drawing with your
foot… Our toes are important for both mobility and
balance, especially the big toe and pinky. Along with the heel, they create a tripod
structure, and these three points balance the whole weight of the body. So, a human foot is built for mobility and
balance. Walking upright, running, that sort of thing. Other primates like gorillas and monkeys have
feet that seriously resemble hands, because their feet are built more for dexterity. Like the fingers, the toes each have three
phalanges with strong convex curves. Each is like a bridge. A stable structure. Like the thumb, the big toe only has two phalanges. But those two are thick and strong. The other four toes are much thinner. The second toe was idealized as the longest by the Greeks. Also called a Morton’s Toe. The David, the Statue of Liberty, and all of my Artistic Anatomy books use the Greek idealization. Even though a minority, about 5-30% of people, have it. Most people have longer big toes, called an “Egyptian” foot. Some might be more squared off with all the
toes a similar length. Some people only have three toes! There’s gonna be variety as with every part
of the body. Capture that how you want, or idealize it
by using this curve with the peak at the second toe. The “Greek” foot. These three curl when at rest or lifted off
the ground. You can draw them with a horizontal line,
then a step down, then another horizontal to show the toes planted on the ground. Think of stair steps. The pinky toe is dramatically rounded, sometimes
even tucking underneath it’s neighbor. Sometimes you’ll see the pinky pointing inward
much more than the rest of the toes. And sometimes the angle of the toes changes
progressively. These subtle differences in shapes and angles
can make the toes look interesting to have more character and motion. And that’s it for the skeleton of the body… You did it! Pat yourself and get ready to put some flesh
on the legs. In the premium version of this lesson I go
into more details about the forms and motion of the foot. I’ll also demonstrate how to do each pose
in the assignment. Like answers, so you can check your work! Your assignment is to simplify the foot bones
into their basic forms. Draw from life using your own feet or draw
from the 3D models I provide you. Proko People, you’ll find still images of
foot bone poses in the description under the video. Premium Proko People, on your Premium Proko
Dashboard, you have 3D models of five foot bone poses that you can draw from any angle. You might even try drawing the same foot from
multiple angles. And if you really want to challenge yourself,
look at the model from one angle, but draw it from a different angle. After you’re done, you can rotate the camera
to match your drawing angle to check your accuracy. This exercise will help you learn how to draw
feet from imagination. You have to get feedback on your work if you
want to improve quickly. So, go to and check out our
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