Why would we simplify the human figure when drawing? There are many reasons to do this. One reason may be the need to draw quickly. For example, you may only have a minute or two to draw before the model changes poses so the need to simplify becomes necessary.
Another reason is that those who are new to drawing the figure find it very difficult to do. The human figure is a complex collection of forms and can it feel a bit overwhelming at times trying to draw this complexity. One solution to this is to pick and choose the elements that you are going to work on first in order to create a process that allows you to work on the drawing one step at a time.
There are several ways to organize and divide the process into simple steps. I would say that there are as many approaches to the process of drawing as there are artists. How you choose to organize your drawing process is up to you. Just remember that looking for ways to simplify the drawing in order to focus on one or two things at a time will help you troubleshoot problems and make drawing the human figure easier.
In the steps I show below I look for the skeleton within the figure, then drawn it simplistically to work out the gesture and the relative sizes of the forms or parts of the body.
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