Figure Drawing Tips

By: Karen MacLean

Figure Drawing Tips

Figure drawing is the drawing of the human body in the various shapes that a human body may take.

There are several elements that you can learn and you can combine them effectively, so that your art looks great. You can learn figure drawing so it doesn't look like various parts of the body have been put together haphazardly.

First Things first!

First and foremost, when drawing a human body you need to organize your figure and determine your proportions. This is important as the human body is proportionately built; generally one side of the body is the same size as the other.

Where to start?

• Begin by measuring the body with your pencil and hand. In figure drawing, you will grip the pencil in your fist with your thumb remaining free.
• Stretch your arm out in a relaxed position with your thumb and pencil pointing straight up.
• Close one eye and measure the distance from the top of the head to the chin.
• Next, move the top of your thumb down and line it up with the bottom of your last measurement.
• Repeat the process and count the number of head lengths that make up the distance from the top of the head, to the back of the heel. This provides you with an overall length of the body in relation to the size of their head.

You can use the same process to determine the width.

Head Length!

Most humans are between six and eight head lengths in height. Of course, this will vary depending on the height of the person in your figure drawing.

Shadow and Texture!

Next you need to add shadow and texture to your figure drawing. The best way to understand this is to consider Chiaroscuro.This is how you apply light and shadows to give the figure drawing a sense of solidity.

Artists of the Italian Renaissance developed this formula for applying light and shadow. You have the ability to create an illusion of depth by applying simple shadow and light rules.

Highlights!

In a highlight, the point that is closest to the light source will receive a more concentrated area of light. Highlights are best seen on reflective or glossy surfaces. When something is lit, we see more of the light side than we do shadow.

Shadows!

A shadow is an area that is darker, but not necessarily dark. It is the opposite side of what is lit. The core of the shadow is the darkest point of the shadow. Reflected light should be used as often as possible. This helps to define the back of an object and to create a 3D effect. A cast shadow gives a sense of space.

You will always need to consider where your light source is from, so that you are able to apply these light rules properly in your figure drawing.

Keep It Simple!

If a figure drawing seems to be complex, you can make it simpler by breaking the subject down into the basic geometric shapes. Using a three dimensional mannequin that is made of rounded cylinders, ellipsoids and spheres will aid you in this situation. Imagine how the body fits around these basic shapes and then build on to the figure with muscling and softened edges.

Try it! Practice It! Perfect It!

About the author:
Karen MacLean wrote for the website How-to-Draw-Now.com, which is not online at this time.


How to sketch & draw people - Gesture Drawing



For other articles and videos on this topic, please follow the links below:

Life Drawing - 10 Do's and Don'ts of Drawing a Nude Model

Life Drawing - 10 Do's and Don'ts of Drawing a Nude Model

Russell Steedman gives us some advise about how to conduct ourselves during a life drawing session with a nude model.

How to Draw the Figure - 9 Common Mistakes - Part I

How to Draw the Figure - 9 Common Mistakes - Part I

Miriam Slater, an experienced figure drawing artist, has learned from her mistakes and tells us how to avoid some common ones.

How to Draw the Figure - 9 Common Mistakes - Part II

How to Draw the Figure - 9 Common Mistakes - Part II

Miriam Slater, an experienced figure drawing artist, has learned from her mistakes and tells us how to avoid some common ones.

Drawing The Fashion Figure

Drawing The Fashion Figure

Not all figure drawing is the same. In the case of fashion drawing, a more stylized figure is required and the proportions change.

How to Draw the Human Figure - Getting the Form Right

How to Draw the Human Figure - Getting the Form Right

Setting time limits for yourself when drawing, is a good way for producing ideas that you can later develop into finished drawings.

Drawing The Human Figure - Tips For Beginners

Drawing The Human Figure - Tips For Beginners

Knowing human anatomy is essential to drawing the human figure in its proper proportions. Get your tools ready and practice.

Drawing Figures - Basic Steps to Drawing Successful Figures

Drawing Figures - Basic Steps to Drawing Successful Figures

Having a standard approach to figure drawing can help you create better artwork. It is almost like having a checklist to help you.

Drawing the Human Body - The One Thing You Need To Know

Drawing the Human Body - The One Thing You Need To Know

Paying attention to the muscle structure of the figure will help you draw a more realistic human body in action.

Drawing the Human Figure - How to Get Started

Drawing the Human Figure - How to Get Started

Draw everywhere. That is the best way to become proficient. It is the quicker way to learn, but books give you the confidence.

History of the Nude

History of the Nude

Creative artists have drawn the nude since they learned to make marks with burnt sticks. Here is a bit of the history of the nude.

How To Draw Figures: Human Figure Drawing Tutorial

How To Draw Figures: Human Figure Drawing Tutorial

Learning to draw the figure from books can give a framework of what it is you are looking for when you actually draw from the model.

Figure Drawing Tips

Figure Drawing Tips

Measuring with a pencil is one of the best know artist's techniques. Karen MacLean gives us a step-by-step guide.

How To Draw People - How To Use Proportions When Drawing People

How To Draw People - How To Use Proportions When Drawing People

Learning the proportions of the human body is the first step towards drawing more realistic figures. Here is what to look for.

Proportions and Measuring in Drawing Faces and People Made Simple!

Proportions and Measuring in Drawing Faces and People Made Simple!

Measuring in freehand drawing consists of looking for proportions and relationships in a human figure or in a face.

Make Money As a Life Model

Make Money As a Life Model

Do you need to make money quick and have absolutely nothing to your name, consider making money as a life model. You certainly need nothing to get started.

How To Draw People - How To Use Gesture When Drawing People

How To Draw People - How To Use Gesture When Drawing People

Getting the gesture right can bring a drawing to life. The gesture is what makes a figure interesting and different. Use gesture in your drawings.