How to Draw The Human Form. Simple, Just a little Practice

by Jollyon Hooley
(St Bernards, La Lucia)

Africa Adorned

Africa Adorned



All budding artists want to learn how to draw people – are you one of them?

It’s not that easy. There’s a great deal going on with the human face from muscles, skin texture, flesh tones and color, hair, veins and drooping flesh.

When we learn how to draw people, we’re learning to master the basics termed perspective, proportions, value and tone in complex scenarios.

The good news is that when you draw real people, you broaden and advance your drawing skills faster than you would while sketching fast cars or cartoon characters.

In fact, if you can learn to draw people accurately, you can learn to draw just about anything. So your starting point should be drawing people but that is far too steep for someone starting out.

So let’s cover a few basics first to get them firmly under your belt.

The Sight-Size Drawing Approach

If you want to learn how to draw people, it can be difficult to jump right in sketching them freehand. A better way to learn how to draw people is with the sight-size method. Using the sight-size method means studying an object, in this case an object and drawing it just as you see it.

The site-size method permits you to draw your image any size by moving your easel in the position for the size image you want to draw. You image will be larger the nearer it is to the subject matter. This applies to any drawing you want to do—from still life, figure drawing or landscapes.

Do you know what I mean by this?

Pick a piece of furniture, like your bed, or some other simple object, and draw it. When you’re ready to move on, choose something a little more complex. Perhaps draw your desk with all its papers, pencils and doohickeys.

Do this several times or as many times as it takes for you to feel comfortable drawing these objects. Once you are, you’re ready to tackle a human face and perhaps even a complete human body.

Your Model

Now, most of us won’t have a model willing to pose for us. And forcing our kid brother or sister isn’t a good idea since they’ll fidget far too much. Instead, use a magazine with photos.

If you don’t have one of your own, ask your parents to let you borrow one. Fashion magazines are a great source for still models, and sports magazines are an excellent place to find a challenge.

Practice, Practice and More Practice

Drawing people, particularly faces, doesn’t come easy to most people. In fact, some of the great comic book artists, such as Mark Bagley, known for his awesome Ultimate Spider-Man art, couldn’t draw worth a lick when he first started out.

But Mark stuck with it, and he practiced a lot. And when Marvel held a contest to find the next big thing, Mark was ready to show off his people-drawing skills!

I know I've mentioned drawing purely for practicing your art millions of times. Just one more time! Practice.

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