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How to Raise Arms away from Your Fashion Figure Bodies

Arms can go any which way in fashion drawing. A few fun options include bringing one or both arms above the head or having them cross the body.

Take a look at fashion magazines to get some ideas for arm placement. You often see models with their arms covering their foreheads, resting on their heads, crossing over or in front of their bodies, or lying behind their heads.

To draw a pose with an arm over the head, try these steps:

  1. Begin with a front pose where the torso isn’t tilted. Include armholes and a neck.

  2. Add a head. Then draw an arm with an elbow circle raised to head level.

    Place the elbow circle about level with the middle of the head and slightly beyond the width of the shoulder. Angle one line from the shoulder to the circle, and then angle another line that ends at the head. To show how the arm rests on the head, add a short line to represent where the hand will go.

    Note: You can draw both arms bent over the fashion figure’s head by following this step for both arms.

  3. Sketch the second arm so it’s bent away from the body with the hand resting on the hip.

  4. Draw cylinder shapes over the arm lines to create the arms.

    Leave the circles between the cylinders to indicate the elbows.

  5. Outline the woman’s torso, arms, neck, and head.

    As you finish the arms, add a small hand resting on the head. Erase the circles, trapezoids, and center front line.


You can make the arms more interesting by moving them away from the body and leaving the hands free. Think of a hula dancer, for example.

When you have an arm going across the body, it looks more natural to draw both arms going toward the bent side of the torso. To see why, stand in front of the mirror with your body matching the bent torso the figure shown.


Move both of your arms across the body in one direction. Then move them in the other direction. Which side feels less awkward? Bringing the arms toward the bent side of the torso feels better and looks more like a fashion pose.

Here are the steps to draw a pose with one arm going in front of the body:

  1. Draw a tilted torso with armholes and a neck.

  2. Starting with the upper shoulder, draw an arm that goes across the body. Use a circle for the elbow.

    The arm line should tilt down slightly to cover the other shoulder. Place the circle for the elbow in front of the other shoulder.

  3. For the other arm, draw the straight lines and a circle extending away from the body.

  4. Draw cylinder shapes over the arm lines to create the arms, keeping the circles to represent the elbows.

    Include short lines at the ends of the arms to represent the hands. Draw the head to show the overall balance of the torso.

  5. Outline the woman’s torso, arms, neck, and head.

    Erase the circles, trapezoids, and center front line.

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