Drawing the Human Figure

Getting started sketching and drawing from life.

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Books about figure drawings and drawing.Books Learn to sculpt.Sculpt

Links to other pages on the web with information about learning to draw are listed at the bottom of this page.

Human Proportions from a 1928 book by Victor Perard, instructor at Cooper Union, NYC

New - Animation from John Everard's book "Artist's Model"

Learn figure drawing Make a contour drawing

The first challenge is to make the sketch proportional. Start by locating the major dynamic lines. Position of the head in relationship to the neck and torso, locate the limbs and their joints so that everything is proportional. Make sure that the length of the torso is proportional to the head and limbs. Artists will hold a pencil or brush in front of the model to measure various features,marking the length of a limb or torso by placing their thumb on the brush to transfer the proportion to the drawing.

In the first drawing the major lines are sketched in and joints marked by dots. The axis of the head is established and the head divided into sections for eyes and mouth. Notice that the head is directly over the leg which bears the weight of the body. How to draw a standing figure Human body proportions

Next, make a contour drawing. Using the framework created by the major lines of the body that you drew, carefully observe and draw the contours of the body. Pay as much attention to the negative spaces as to the positive spaces. For instance, the triangle created by the elbow, upper arm, forearm and torso is as important a shape to creating accurate proportion as is the shape of the arm.

At this stage you can begin to place the major features, kneecaps, belly, breasts, hair, tendons and bones surrounding the neck, fingers, eyes, ears, nose, etc. Again, pay as much attention to the space between features as you pay to the size and shape of the features themselves.

Work out all the placement and proportion issues before you begin to shade the drawing.

How to draw figures Learn life drawing

Now that all the proportions are established you can begin to shade the drawing which will give it life. Begin by shading the shapes of the figure. I begin by observing the direction the light is coming from and going through every part of the figure and shading that part of the limb, head or body which is on the opposite side from the light to give a general form to the whole drawing.

At this stage also begin to show the shape of the form by the direction of your shading marks. You can begin to show the hair by the same means, making marks which mimic the direction and flow of the hair.

Notice that shading is not just a routine coloring of every shape, but rather careful observation of how the light falls, or doesn't. Some forms are completely in shadow, others totally in light. Some are half in and half out of the light and these neutral forms (the top of the chest for instance) give dimension to the other forms.

Once the general shape of the figure is established, finish the drawing by modulating the shadows and light. Some shadows receive almost no light and are shaded heavier and darker. Others receive reflected light and are lighter. Shading to show the way light flows around curves (the legs for instance) should have a soft edge.

Finally add the cast shadows, in this drawing the shadows cast by the chin, breast, arms onto the stomach and left leg onto the right leg. These final details add life and dimension to the drawing, by completing the interplay between light and shadow they complete the illusion and give atmosphere to the drawing.

2 men wrestling

man walking

Brighton School of Design - The Figure

Brighton School of Design - The Face

Brighton School of Design - The Imagery of National Myths

The Loomis Project a complete how to book on-line.

How to make Pen and Ink Drawings from stills.

Gerry Alanguilan There are lots of ways of drawing and this is just my way of doing it.

Julie DillonFemale figure drawing tips.

Artist Resource, Bay Area drawing Groups


Totoro Sensei's Makeshift Anime Drawing Class

Life Drawing an online guide by Robert Gomez


humananatomy.com search results for life drawing

Drawing & Painting VidBook Guide: Free multimedia drawing and painting lessons for beginners and more advanced artists.

Drawing the figure

Master Class in Cartooning Figure Drawing Lesson #1 of 3 - Fiasco Comics

sanford-artadventures.com Art products and resources for creative individuals from beginner to advanced

Teemu Mäkinen about drawing a human body.

Female Figure Drawing by Julie Dillon.

Self Portraits by Elizabeth Lopuise Vigee Le Brun.

Tips, tricks & the trade Ruud van Gaal.

How to Draw Figures by Emilio Soltero

Fantasy Art Resource Project, how to draw the sexes.

Tachihohe how to draw anime faces and bodies.

Polykarbon.comHow to draw anime figures.

Paul Wilkinson drawings and a list of how to draw sites.

Drawing the Human Figure An Internet Hotlist on Figure Drawing created by Laura Krajewski.

A Guide to Drawing Materials and Techniques. Lists information on drawing materials by Michael Miller, a professor at the NYU School of Continuing and Professional Studies.

Basic Anatomy for The Artist Art School Online with Roger Elliot.

Constructing The Figure From Life Where to Begin

Wannalearn.com links

San Francisco Art Institute by photographer Gabriel Moulin

Mayara Draw for windows, shareware program

Life Drawing and Online Guide

Art Advice Index


Creativity and Inspiration

Drawing the Figure Matt Wilson

Anatomy and Figure Drawing for Artists Highly Recommended Books - Hand Picked to save you valuable searching time.

The Book Palace

links to Muybridge Animations

Nude descending the stairs animation

Pouring a bucket of water over another

Animation of Dancer


Man tipping hat

Opening parasol

Walking, with high heeled boots on.


Walking - pelvis cloth

The Eadweard Muybridge Bequest at Kingston Museum.

fredart.com gallery, lessons

Animation :earner's Site

Drawing in Charcoal Nude models Herman Pekel

Artists Interactive Video

Andrew Loomis at Bud Plant Illustrated Books

Fiasco Comics

Art School Online an illustrated guide to drawing realistic human forms.

The Animation Learner's SiteDrawing Lesson #5: The Human Figure (2)

Portrait Art Tutorial

Why Draw a Live Model? 44 pages, 20 color and 11 b&w images. Published by Crown Point Press, 1997.

Posing the Nude Figure, written and illustrated by Giovanni Caliendo

Tips, tricks & the trade Ruud van Gaal.

How to Draw Figures by Emilio Soltero

Fantasy Art Resource Project, how to draw the sexes.

Tachihohe how to draw anime faces and bodies.

Polycarbon.comHow to draw anime figures.

Paul Wilkinson drawings and a list of how to draw sites.

Basic Anatomy for The Artist Art School Online with Roger Elliot.

Sharon: A Sculpture Of A Dancer

Virtual Pose:For professional and student artists, the Virtual Pose ® series is the next best thing to working with a live model

Redefining beauty

Tom Burton /The Orlando Sentinel


Constructing The Figure From Life Where to Begin

Artcult, Nude Paintings

ART & ARTIST By Razen Manandhar Nude painting and sexual domination

The paintings of Sasya and Buddhi Thapa depict various aspects of women -By SANJAYA DHAKAL

The Life and Arts of Kuroda Seiki

Apathy Drawing Links Page

artcult, a selection of nude paintings 1850-1950

Innovative Artmore

Emily Bartlett-Glenn

A brief survey of the history of drawing

Are you ready to inspect those Jackson Pollock masterpieces for stick figures hiding among the splats and splatters?

The Simulation of a Virtual TV Presntor Nadia Magnenat Thalmann, Prem Kalra

A figure drawing studio experience


How to Survive the Workshop Experience: by Jenny Hamilton

The book, HUMAN TOPOGRAPHY Distinctions of Age, Gender and Ethnicity for the Artist By Linda Cushing

The Bookrack, Anatomy



Links to Books about ART - DRAWING & PAINTING (1)

Of Course You Can Draw By Will Sharp, Woodcarves Magazine

The Animation Learner's Site Drawing Lesson #3: The Human Figure (1)

Artist Designer Jobs, links to learn to draw sites

Classical Life Drawing Interactive video

Vancouver Institute of Media Arts

ABC Dessin - Peinture

Today's Cubicle

cubicle croquis lecture,vol.1-1

Project Real Woman

3D Poser models

Poser 4

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