Recently, I was looking for a three-legged compass to divide segments according to the Golden ratio. This came to my mind as I was helping my student with the fibonacci series, which converge to the Golden number or PHI.  In the end I found this one that you see in the image:

SmileLine Golden Section Divider

It is manufactured by a Swiss company for dental prostheses.
There were other models from other manufacturers for artists, but they were bigger and they did not adapt to the type of drawing I’m doing lately.  I needed one that was accurate enough as my  drawings practically fit in a DIN A5.

I am not going to expand on the Golden Ratio in the Histoyr of Art, as it is a well-known topic. I had felt for a long time that my drawings of human figures had proportionality bugs, heads too big that turned my characters into children or giant feet as if they had some genetic malformation, it was something unbearable to the eys, something like a shrill.

So, I decide to fix this bugs and enhance my drawings skills.

As an anecdote, I remenber that the sales man representing the Swiss supplier asked if I was a dentis because they only sell for that sector. I said no! I am a cartoonist, he was quite puzzled and asked me if t his instrument was used in this field. I admit that I was also surprised.

Now, with my new instrument, I could go through the History of Aat, look for pictures of Greek sculptures or painters of the French neoclassicism and take as many measures as possible. But, I knew it was going to work since from the Antiquity in all the schools of art until the 19th century the artists were trained in the management of this proportion.

What really interested me is what has remained of this proportion in our contemporary culture. So, I decided to study those fabulous girls drawn by the Italian artist Milo Manara. His girls are still shining in the  Bande Dessinée galaxy, where there are extraordinary cartoonists, but the girls of Manara still have that something, like the girls in Martini ads.

Miel from the Parfum of Invisible

Miel from Milo Manara in the Parfum of Invisible.

Miel, Il profumo dello Invisible © Milo Manara

I made several cuts from my Manara comics files and came to the following conclusions:

  • The navel divides the head and heels into two segments in a golden ratio.
  • The navel, the groin and the knee are in two segments in golden ratio.
  • The groin, knee and heel are located in two segments in golden proportion. Being the Ingle-Knee segment shorter than the Knee-Talon segment.
  • The groin, navel and clavicle are also in a golden proportion.

Already in this first phase, a variation that introduces Manara against the natural proportions of the human skeleton,
is in the lengthening of the tibia and fibula:
Manara lengthens the leg to make it match in divine proportion against the size of the thigh.
We can visually verify that in reality, that proportion is not met,with the thigh and leg being approximately the same size.

And here comes the most interesting part that is the relationship between the distance from the navel to the groin to the width of the waist and hips:

  • the distance from the navel to the groin is equal to the width of the waist
  • the width of the hips is in golden proportion with the segment that goes from the groin to the clavicle.
  • the anchorage of the hips is in golden ratio with the segment that goes from the groin to the clavicle.
Now, we move to place the clavicle that is in golden ratio with the navel and the pelvis Examining the trunk as a whole, I reach these conclusions
  • the distance between the two heads of the humerus is equal to the distance of the heads of the femur.

Finally, it is necessary to define the width of the head in relation to these measures. I have observed in Manara that the distance between the two cheekbones is in golden proportion with the shoulders.

With all these considerations, we can now build a Manara Manikin, joining the legs to the trunk. As a corollary, it is true that the groin divides the body into two halves.

We now go to study the heads of the girls in Manara.
This is where most idealism introduces the Italian to achieve that sensuality effect:

  • The horizontal that links the center of the pupils,
    the center of the mouth and the chin, are in golden proportion.
  • la punta de la nariz esté en proporción áurea con el centro de la boca y los labios
  • the tip of the nose is in golden proportion with the center of the mouth and the chin.
  • the corner of the eye and the lacrimal are in golden proportion with the corner of the eye and the center of the face.

It should be noted, also, that the girls of Manara always have their jaws facing outward, their eyes more separated than normal and the nose is reduced to its minimum expression,  approaching the structure of a feline. With these aesthetic criteria, Manara has made a living drawing fabulous girls. Bravo!

I could continue taking references and measurements, and we will always find two segments that work in golden proportion. The lesson that I hold is that we must take care of  proportions in the general construction of the manikin in the first strokes, that is, the definition of the rib cage in relation to the pelvis,
the size of the head and the measurement of the legs.
Respecting this proportion, the figure fits and works.

In another post, I will talk about the distortion, because as in everything, there are great works of art that do not comply with this canon of proportionality.

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