Drawing human figures for beginners

Drawing human figures for beginners DEFAULT

Week 4: Construction, pose, proportions, muscle structure, hands, feet, hair and clothes


I hate drawing people. Stick figures are always just so easier, right? Well, that’s just because I didn’t know how to draw people.

Honestly, with a few key pointers on figure drawing… you could go from stick figures to a regular Michaelangelo. Alright, maybe not… BUT a week of a brief introduction to figure drawing could definitely upgrade your stick figure drawing skills.  Check out what’s in store below!

If you are just joining us, this is part 4 of our 4-week series on the beginner’s guide for how to draw. Check the other guides out here!




Figure drawing has not changed over the past centuries. We humans still look the same so the techniques and tips are the same. I found the best resources to actually be some older publications. No need to reinvent the wheel, right?

Andrew Loomis’ “Figure Drawing For All It’s Worth” is a really meaty, technical guide for figure drawing. Like, seriously meaty. I would say it would be a great resource if you really want an in-depth study into the human figures. It’s available as a free download here.

My absolute favorite guide to figure drawing is this 100-something page book– “Drawing the Head & Figure” by Jack Hamm. Seriously, don’t judge this book by its cover! Hamm’s book was published in the 80s which is very evident as soon as you see the dated hairstyles. Just don’t mind the hair tips in this one.

Besides that though, this book is refreshingly straightforward and a highly recommended book for beginners as it is mainly consists of illustrations. Hamm covers figure and head construction, basic lines of the figure, head patterns, angles and comparison, movements, proportions and simplified figures. He also covers facial features, torso, neck and shoulders, arms, hands, legs and feet.


This specific lesson will help you build a strong foundation for pose and construction for your figures… and it actually starts with improving your stick figures! It also involves some super basic anatomy. No need for us to recall anything scientific from your high school anatomy class, I promise.

The Beginner's Guide to Figure DrawingSTEP ONE: So we start with the stick figure. Which pretty much just has 4 main parts to it, right? The head, the body, the arms and the legs.

STEP TWO: With the stick figure, we can actually make a few modifications to help us put our figures into different poses. We can break up the arms and legs by adding elbows and knees.

STEP THREE:  We can even take it a few steps further and add 2 things that are also important to the way we move…the shoulders and pelvis.

DrawStuffRealEasy’s video demonstrates this concept well. On Air Video also has a great demonstration on construction and pose using a photo of a model.

Now that we got that done, we can practice posing our figures. Try drawing your stick figure in a variety of poses –running, walking, jumping jack, throwing a football, sitting down, etc. If you are having trouble with these and they just don’t look right to you, look up photos of people doing this action and use those to help guide you as you construct your stick figure.


Now that your stick figure can do all sorts of things, we should probably make sure it’s proportional. There’s an easy way to do that. However, do remember that these just act as a good starting point. Not all people will follow these proportions as everyone is constructed differently.

The secret to a well-proportioned human body is to remember magic numbers as well as the alignment of our joints. A person’s height is typically 7-8x the height of their head. Many guides on figure proportions use the same method or varying methods. From what I’ve seen, the magic number for males is generally 8 while females are generally 7.

Figure Proportion Drawings

Envato – In my opinion, this is one of the best guides out there. Very thorough but easy to read with clear pictures to help you understand the method.

Mr. Otter Art Studio – This video has a great demonstration that utilizes the same method. However, the magic number used in this video is 7 (body height is 7 head heights). Often times, females follow the 7 head rule where males follow the 8 head rule.

Remember those stick figure poses you made earlier? Let’s try applying this new model to them. Remember your proportions and how each body part relates to each other. Follow the guides I referenced above to create a well-proportioned person.

DAY 3: drawing STRUCTURE

Understanding muscle structure is imperative to more realistic drawings of figures, but it actually also helps if you are just drawing cartoon figures. Even in simplified cartoon figures, a strong knowledge foundation of muscle structures will help you convey certain poses and action of these characters. Just think of the saying, “you must master the rules before you can break them.” Or something like that.

There really isn’t a quick and dirty guide I can give you on drawing muscles because there are literally SO many of them, but here are a few great resources you can spend day 3 on.

Envato: This online guide briefly goes over the muscles and body fat. It was definitely a trip down memory lane for me with flashbacks to Anatomy 101. It is a wonderful guide.

Stick to Figure: This 2nd video of a 3 part series teaches you how to move from stick figure to human figure by using simple three-dimensional shapes. The third part of this series helps you understand the body’s contouring.

Drawing Muscle Structure

Select a few poses of people in action –rock climbing, dancing, shooting a basketball. Focus on the muscles that are used during these actions and focus on the lines that the muscle creates on the body. Practice drawing a few people using three-dimensional shapes to first help guide you to form the body.


DAY 4: drawing HANDS & FEET

When I was younger, I drew people who always had their hands tucked into their front pockets. Actually, I probably still do that now. I hate drawings hands.

Hiding the hands is a huge disservice to your drawing. These can be just as expressive as a person’s face. Drawing good hands takes practice and again, a good grip on human anatomy.

Just like your stick figure (from Day 1), hands are more than just five straight lines for fingers. Your hands are composed of 27 bones, 14 of those are in your fingers. The small bones and joints of your hand are important to focus on if you want a good depiction of the hands for your drawing.

Many resources out there just give you a step-by-step on how to draw hands in a specific pose. I think the best guides are those who teach you the basic principles of drawing hands so that you can draw them in any pose.

Envato : I love this guide. It starts at the basic anatomy of construction of the hand and how you can utilize your knowledge of it to draw great hands. Highly recommended!

Art of Wei: This is another great video from this Youtuber. He also focuses on hand construction.

Draw with Jazza: This video is a quick and simple guide to drawing hands. He also has a longer, more detailed video if you want a slower and more comprehensive video.

Pick 5 different hand positions and draw them. You can use your non-drawing hand as a guide or you can search images that depict the hand position you want to draw. Pick a variety of hand positions, not just similar ones. Try a flat hand to start and work your way up to a more difficult positions.


To me, the feet are even worse than hands…but thankfully, I could always hide them in a nice shoe. Even if you only draw shoes on your figures, it’s actually really important to get a good grasp on drawing feet too. It will allow you to draw the feet/shoes in a realistic position in relation to the legs and the body.

Envato: If Envato had a great guide for drawing hands, then it makes sense that they also have a great one for feet. Again, they start with the basic construction of the foot and go from there.

Draw with Jazza: Just like his video for drawing hands, Jazza also provides a quick and simple guide to drawing feet.

Draw the foot in different positions – a front facing view, side view, back view, top view and bottom view.


DAY 5: drawing the FACE

Ahh yes, the face. Not only are proportions important to making sure the face looks right, but learning the details of each component of the face can be quite a challenge. Eyebrows, eyes, noses, mouths, and we’ll even throw ears in there. With some quick tips, you can easily level up the drawing of your faces but of course, I have also provided some resources I have found to be extremely handy.


Envato: Envato’s human anatomy drawing series is amazing. The part on drawing the face is one of the best ones in my opinion. It starts with proportions and follows with great tips for the eyes, eyebrows, nose, mouth, and ears as well. I recommend this as the only online guide you need to reference to but I’ve provided some videos for those who prefer those. Envato also has an advanced guide for facial features that I also highly recommend.

87tors: This quick video teaches you how to draw a face utilizing basic proportions. Remember though, proportions may be a good starting but real people will not always follow these rules.

Jescia Hopper: A 10-minute video that looks at the shapes and anatomy needed for drawing realistic eyes.

Draw with Jazza: A great video if you aren’t looking to draw ultrarealistic eyes. It is geared towards drawing eyes for comic and cartoon characters, but still has very informative tips for eyes in general.

Draw with Jazza: I really like this video from Jazza because he goes over different drawing styles for noses exploring both a cartoon approach as well as a realistic one.

Lips & Mouth

Draw with Jazza: Again, Jazza has some great thorough how-to videos for facial features. This one is just as good as the others.

Proko: Proko’s video goes over more of the anatomy and structure of the ear so that have a better understanding of its construction before drawing.

Draw with Jazza: This is a shorter one from Jazza that teaches you how to quickly draw an ear.

Practice drawing faces in the correct proportions. Once you are comfortable with this, you can go outside the box a bit and alter some of the proportions to create more unique faces.


DAY 6: Drawing HAIR

Honestly, hair is just important as any part of the body. It can sometimes tell you a lot about a person. The four main things to focus on while drawing hair include volume, flow, values (shades), and texture. The depth of the detail you give to these elements will depend on whether you are trying to achieve a more realistic drawing or a cartoon portrayal of a character.

Drawing Hair

Easy Things to Draw: This video has a few helpful tips on how to draw hair that can really improve your skills.

Draw with Jazza: I just love these videos from Jazza. His video on how to draw hair does not fall short.

Draw 10 ovals to represent a person’s head. On 5 of these, draw 5 hairstyles for men using the tips learned from the resources. On the remaining 5, create 5 different female hairstyles. Try drawing your own hairstyle for one of them as well!

DAY 7: Drawing CLOTHES

Drawing clothes can probably be whole monthly immersion in itself (ahem, fashion illustrations). It requires understanding the folds in clothes as well as how to draw the textures of varying fabrics. Clothes are whole ‘nother ball game because you really need to understand the fabric’s weight and material to be able to draw them appropriately.


We covered textures in week 2 but we really focused on surfaces and anything non-fabric-related. When creating the texture of clothes, you’ll need to have a good understanding of the material and how the light hits the fabric. Silk is made of a thin thread creating a smooth, light fabric that is very reflective under lighting. Wool, on the other hand, is made from a heavier material and can appear rough when examined closely.

Paper Wing Comics: This video gives a few great tips to use when drawing different types of fabrics.

There are different types of folds that can exist in fabrics. As long as you know how the fabric folds, you can use the right method to recreate it in your drawing. Clothes will generally require more than 1 of these types of folds to look realistic. Thinner fabrics will fold easier, creating numerous more folds than thick fabric. Soft fabrics will fold rounder so you should draw softer curves instead of harsh lines for your folds.

Digital Tutors: An awesome online guide for the 6 different types of folds you should know when drawing clothing.

Draw with Jazza: Jazza demonstrates how to draw clothing by concentrating on how the fabric folds and how the clothes hang on a person’s body. Great video covering both thin and thick material as a loose and tight fit.

On your drawing for day 2 of this week (proportions), draw some clothes on your figure. You can select the clothes you are wearing so that you have a reference to go off of right where you are sitting!

Well, my curiously creative friends, that wraps it up for the first month of this hobby. However, drawing opens up many doors to different hobbies within this skill set. Because of this, we’ll be dedicating one more additional month to drawing. Next we’ll be the exploring different types of drawing rather than just learning the basics.

Well, that brings us to the end of this 4-week journey of learning how to draw! I hope you’ve learned some great basics that will help you build a strong foundation if you decide to pursue drawing further.

If not and you didn’t think drawing was your thing, no worries! We explore a different arts & craft hobby each month here so you can find a hobby you like. If you liked this guide and want more, join our mailing list (below or sidebar).

The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Drawing
The Quick Beginner’s Guide to Drawing Supplies
Week 1: The Beginner’s Guide to Drawing Basics: Part 1
Week 2: The Beginner’s Guide to Drawing Basics: Part 2
Week 3: The Beginner’s Guide to Perspective Drawing


Sours: https://www.thecuriouslycreative.com/topics/beginners-guide-drawing/figure-drawing/

Draw a figure in under five minutes

Sketching a five-minute pose is a lot of fun because it offers just enough time to capture a strong sense of the pose, but not enough time to overwork (or overthink) the drawing. Keeping things simple and being economical is a recurring theme throughout the five-minute process.

The main thing to remember for a successful quick pose is to keep the gist of the subject, so we'll build it up bit by bit, adding tone right at the end. Want more? Check out our roundup of how to draw tutorials. But for now, let's get started!

01. Construct the torso

(Image: © Chris Legaspi)

Once the gesture is established, separate the torso into rib cage, abdomen and hips. Then, indicate the openings for the limbs. Next, group the muscles using simple forms. Finally, suggest planes to give the torso structure.

02. Define the limbs

(Image: © Chris Legaspi)

Start the limbs as long, tapering rectangular shapes that flow from the torso down to the fingers or toes. Next, add cross-sections to indicate their position and direction of movement. Finally, use simple ovals to add muscles and indicate kneecaps and elbows.

03. Simplify the anatomy

(Image: © Chris Legaspi)

Starting with the torso, group the upper-back muscles (which surround the shoulder) into simple forms. Where visible, emphasise hip bones, knees and elbows. Finally, emphasise the parts where muscles overlap, as this creates the illusion of more detail and brings the drawing to life.

For advanced anatomy tips, try these articles:

04. Begin the head

(Image: © Chris Legaspi)

For quick head sketches, begin with the gesture and outer shape, making sure the tilt and rotation is correct. Next, add the major planes, such as the side of the head and brow. Finally, add in the features and define the neck muscles.

05. Sketch the hands

(Image: © Chris Legaspi)

Hands can be complex, so start with either a box or oval shape, depending on how the fingers are arranged. Next, refine the shape, but keep the fingers grouped. To finish, separate the forefinger and thumb, or any finger necessary to make the hand come to life.

06. Sketch the feet

(Image: © Chris Legaspi)

The feet are fairly easily to simplify since the toes are short and clustered together. Start with a triangle shape to capture the gesture, making sure to emphasise the contact point. Next, refine the ankle and shape of the grouped toes. Finally, separate the big toe, or any other toes as needed.

07. Exaggerate overlaps in side view poses

(Image: © Chris Legaspi)

In a side view, much of the figure is hidden. To make the drawing work, emphasise and exaggerate overlaps. When available, the limbs are also great tools for creating overlaps at the torso. For more depth, exaggerate the top layers of anatomy, such as the shoulder muscles and hip bones.

08. Use overlaps in foreshortened poses

(Image: © Chris Legaspi)

Similar to a side view, emphasise overlaps for foreshortened poses. If the torso is moving away, emphasise the overlap of the hips and abdomen. If the torso is coming toward you, use the rib cage and anatomy to create overlaps. If visible, the limbs drawn with good cross-sections can also create depth.

09. Focus on contact points in reclining poses

(Image: © Chris Legaspi)

For reclining and seated poses, you can exaggerate the anatomy that makes contact with the surface. When visible, emphasise the hands making contact by adding more detail at the fingers and wrist.

10. Add tone

(Image: © Chris Legaspi)

If the lighting is good, finish your sketch with tone. One way to do this is by blocking in the shadow and filling in the shape with a suitable tone.

Related articles:

Chris is obsessed with figure drawing and painting. He loves sharing great information on art, picture-making and topics like which paint brush to use.
Sours: https://www.creativebloq.com/how-to/draw-a-figure-in-under-five-minutes
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The Basics of Human Figure Drawing

Look at a child’s drawing of ‘My Happy Family’ and you will realize that drawing the human body is not child’s play. Surprising isn’t it? We look at ourselves in the mirror, everyday, we interact with people of every size and shape and yet, drawing a perfect imitation of the human body is one of the greatest mysteries known to us all. While many artists enjoy drawing landscapes, still others are fascinated with the human form. Leonardo da Vinci was one of the masters of human anatomy in art history, having spent years of discipline learning and practicing the art. Here we will attempt to demystify the process of human figure drawing for beginner artists in a few easy steps:

Step 1: Plan the Drawing: Begin by just drawing a few vertical and horizontal lines, making a rough estimate of the proportions of the body.Measure the amount of space the head would occupy, as well as the height ratio of the head to the body height. Keep in mind, that for an average human figure, the body height should be 7 and a half times that of the head. Lightly drawing 7 horizontal lines at this stage, for the relative placement of body parts, will help to ensure that you get the proportions of the human figure correct. The armpits would form the second line below the head, the hips would be the third and so on.


Step 2: Add basic shapes to represent body parts: Use circles, ovals, triangles and rectangles to add more substance to your vision of the human figure you are drawing. For instance, if you are drawing a fat man, you could begin by drawing a big oval for his torso. If you are drawing a short girl, you can combine a series of small ovals and circles.


Step 3: Sketch an outline of the basic structure: This step is important as you need to draw the figure in the most realistic way, paying attention to the angles and curves of each part of the body. Stronger pencil strokes can be used for more definition, for instance to show angular shoulders and softer lines can be used to illustrate feminine curves of the hips.


Step 4: Finalize drawing and enhance with details: Once you are satisfied with the way your human figure drawing looks, you can use a pen to finalize your drawing. Then, add in details like clothes and accessories to bring the figure drawing come to life.


Related posts:

Sours: http://www.kokuyocamlin.com/blog/the-basics-of-human-figure-drawing.html
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