desired action of the figure should be sketched and the pro- portions marked out before reference is made to the life, and then having been satisfied that the action is possible and natural, a part of the figure at a time may be put into action and drawn carefully ; and thus will be avoided that heaviness and inaction which must always characterize drawings made entirely from life.
The points which are of most consequence in the action of the figure are the direction of the linea-alba, (which is the central line of the body,) the bearing of the pectoral muscles, and the position of the head.
As a general rule, the eye of the model should be somewhat higher than that of the draughtsman, particularly where grandeur is desired.
For draped figures where great accuracy is required, it is necessary to follow the plan just mentioned before clothing the figure; and subsequently to finish it dressed in the required costume. In doing this, the principal folds which must indicate the direction of the limbs, must be arbitrarily fixed, and then a portion at a time may be arranged accordingly and finished at once, for it is fruitless to commence a piece of drapery in the hope of finishing it at a future sitting, unless it is fixed or on a lay-figure.
For smaller figures, which may be intended for landscapes or other purposes, it will be sufficient first to make a design as the subject may require, and settle as near as possible what the costume is to be, and then having obtained an individual of the character required, which may be readily done in London, and having placed him at the distance of three times his height and in a bright sun-light, if his position in the picture demands it, to sketch him in the studio forthwith ; and in doing so, many accidental arrangements of dress will arise which will give character to the figure and materially assist both in drawing and color.
In painting portraits, some attention is required in fixing the position of the head, as an error in this respect would be fatal to the picture. No invariable rules can be made, as the arrangement must depend partly on the height of the person. The following measurements may be therefore considered as suggestive only.
In a three-quarter canvass, for a standing figure, the head may be placed at the distance of half-a-head from the top; -in a kitcat, three-fourths of a head; -in a half length, one head ; -and in a whole length, from one head and a half to two heads. A tall person would be a little nearer the top, and a short one lower down. For figures represented sitting, the head may be a little lower on each of the several canvasses named, with the exception of the whole length, in which case it must be placed three or four head-lengths from the top.