The other way to organize your figures is to make one side of the figure squash and the other side stretch.
Walt Stanchfiled talks a lot about this in his notes. Check out all the ones posted on Animation Meat for great information on stuff about drawing.
For those of you unfamiliar with animation terms, squash and stretch are usually used to describe how forms are affected by force. When a figure runs fast, it s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-s out, and when a figure gets hit on the head by a safe it squashes down.
Squash and stretch is a part of all animation and not just in extreme actions. Squash and stretch are essential to the subtler aspects of animating as well. Squash and stretch are integral to changing a character's expression, which is the key to the "Illusion of Life" - the conceit that an animated character is a living, thinking being. The subtle change from eyebrows slightly lowered to eyebrows a little bit higher (from a squash to a stretch) can make the viewer believe that a character is having a realization and convince an audience that the character is real.
Anyway, this post is about a different use of squash and stretch. Just as we were talking about in the previous post, this is a helpful tool in terms of avoiding symmetry. Make one side of the figure squash and the other side stretch.
This is true to real life too. The way our muscles and tendons work make our limbs look this way. And when you bend over to touch your toes, you can feel the stretch that goes from your heel up your leg across your back and up to your head. And you can feel your stomach squash.
It’s a helpful way of organizing your drawing and emphasizing the forces that are happening.
Don't forget that it applies to clothing as well. Clothes are always a reflection of what the body is doing.
Most drawings have sides that alternate between squashes and stretches. As the body leans and tilts this way and that, It will lend itself to a rhythmic series of squashes and stretches on alternating sides.
Walt Stanchfield pointed out that this even applies to hair. The hair of the figure should squash on the same side that the figure squashes and stretch on the same side too. Otherwise the drawing can look disorganized or the ideas can cancel each other out.
This Alice model sheet is full of some good examples. Some are pretty subtle. I've highlighted the two most clear examples. Obviously, you can put all the hair on one side or the other as well.
I wish I had more examples to go with these last two posts, but it's very time consuming to hunt through all of my books and scan stuff for posting. Maybe I'll dedicate a post to just artwork that shows these two concepts at work sometime.
*A caveat to these last two posts: keep in mind that these last two concepts deal with drawing on a graphic level. These methods run the risks of making you think of your drawings as just lines, which can be very limiting. Every great artist learns to portray forms in space and think three-dimensionally before attempting to draw on a purely graphic level. Picasso, Mary Blair, all the great artists who pioneered the flat UPA style - all of them learned to draw in the traditional way before transitioning into a more stylized and flat style. So keep these last two things in mind while you draw but also always think of your drawings as forms in space as well.