A standing figure will take one of one 3 basic positions:
1). Straight; weight is distributed equally on both feet. An imaginary vertical plumb line (the orange line above) running from the pit of the neck to the floor will be midway between the two feet.
2). Weight is on the right leg. The plumb line moves closer to the the right foot.
3). Weight is on the left leg. The plumb line moves closer to the left foot.
If both feet are on one side of the plumb line, the figure is off balance, as in 4). A figure can be off balance, but it must be supported by an object like a wall or table, or it will fall over.
When the weight is on one foot, the hip on that side will push upwards (illustrated with the blue lines above). To compensate for the thrust up hip, the shoulder on the same side will lean downwards, causing the arm and hand on that side to lower. To compensate for the lowered shoulder, the hand on the weight bearing side is closer to the knee (illustrated with the pink lines above).
If you’re having trouble determining which is the weight bearing leg when you look at a figure, look at the hips; the higher hip is the weight bearing leg.
You now have all the basic information needed to paint credible and well informed silhouettes. After you get the basics down, take it up a notch and add your imagination to the mix – make your silhouettes as personal and creative as you can. Let go, be free, have fun!