Drawing People Effortlessly


In Simple Steps: One Step at a Time

Line Drawing of young boy playingLine Drawing of young boy playing with Frog

Drawing people is one of the more challenging areas of creative goofing off in class.

Anyone who has doodled during a boring history or chemistry class understands how much fun sketching can be.

Trees, houses, fences, and flowers are all fairly simple to reproduce using a pencil, paper, and a classroom seat that’s not too close to the front of the room.

However, sketching people requires a lot more finesse if the subjects aren't meant to look like dinosaurs or trolls. Knowing how to render eyes, noses, and mouths in the right proportion and place can make the difference between an insult and a compliment to the subject being drawn. Properly executed shading turns a two-dimensional doodle into a portrait of a living, breathing person. This one technique transforms random doodling into art.

Drawing or sketching people is actually pretty simple with a little guidance. For example, faces tend to fall into categories of fairly uniform shapes—diamonds, ovals, squares, and so forth. Bodies, limbs, necks, and heads can be drawn to normal scale using some simple arithmetic developed by Leonardo da Vinci, perhaps history's smartest person. Who knew that arms and legs aren't cylinders but parts of cones that are connected together?

Cartoon of Wife Showing Painting to HusbandCartoon of Wife Showing Painting to Husband

Using these simple tips and a few others, drawings of people can take on a very lifelike quality, good enough that the subject looks ready to step out of that pencil sketch on the last page of a geography notebook. If the subject happens to be the teacher, a good sketch could mean the difference between humiliation and triumph to the unlucky student who gets caught doodling in class.

A talent for drawing people doesn't have to remain a favorite goofing-off activity. This is a skill that can be used in illustrating the school newspaper or yearbook. It may even lead to success as a sketch artist and a means of earning some spare cash.

In conclusion, drawing people using some tried-and-true formulas and rules will improve nearly anyone's technique. Not all sketchers and doodlers will become the next Leonardo. Learning a new skill well can be a source of pride and satisfaction that pays off in many ways in the years to come


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Your website is beautiful and exudes with goodness—-here is all the info, free of charge, just go and play with it, free your creativity. It would be the perfect site for our 10 year old, who is a keen (and very good) drawer in the sense that she truly enjoys it and will do it in her free time just for fun.

Vardit Kohn
The Hague