How to Draw People

Three Methods:Draw People in a SceneDraw People in ActionA Single Person (Male)

Drawing a person may sound difficult, but it's really a simple process if you approach it systematically. The easiest way to draw people is with the Ball-and-Socket technique, a method in which the artist sketches several conjoined ovals to form the body parts of the human figure and draft the figure's pose. It may seem basic, but many professional illustrators routinely use this technique to make their artwork, and this technique is both versatile and easy to learn.

Method 1
Draw People in a Scene

  1. Image titled Draw People Step 1
    1
    Sketch a scene.
  2. Image titled Draw People Step 2
    2
    Sketch the wire frames and positions for your characters.
  3. Image titled Draw People Step 3
    3
    Sketch the body shapes needed to help you build the figures' bodies.
  4. Image titled Draw People Step 4
    4
    Sketch the details for the faces, clothes, features, etc.
  5. Image titled Draw People Step 5
    5
    Refine the sketch using a smaller tipped drawing tool.
  6. Image titled Draw People Step 6
    6
    Draw the outline over the sketch.
  7. Image titled Draw People Step 7
    7
    Erase and remove the sketch marks.
  8. Image titled Draw People Step 8
    8
    Add color to the drawing.

Method 2
Draw People in Action

  1. Image titled Draw People Step 9
    1
    Sketch the wireframes to create the pose for your people in the scene (sketch different colors to prevent confusion between figures).
  2. Image titled Draw People Step 10
    2
    Sketch the body shapes needed to help you build the figures' bodies.
  3. Image titled Draw People Step 11
    3
    Sketch the details for the faces, clothes, features, etc.
  4. Image titled Draw People Step 12
    4
    Refine the sketch using a smaller tipped drawing tool.
  5. Image titled Draw People Step 13
    5
    Draw the outline over the sketch.
  6. Image titled Draw People Step 14
    6
    Erase and remove the sketch marks.
  7. Image titled Draw People Step 15
    7
    Add color to the drawing.

Method 3
A Single Person (Male)

  1. Image titled Draw People Step 1
    1
    Start with the upper body first. For the head, sketch a circle, and then add a sharp curve at the bottom of it to form an upside-down egg shape.
  2. Image titled Draw People Step 2
    2
    Draw the neck next. You can usually just draw two short, straight lines roughly ears-width apart.
  3. Image titled Draw People Step 3
    3
    Draw a horizontal line perpendicular to the base of the neck but very lightly. This is a guideline for the figure's collar bone. It should be about two to three head widths in length.
  4. Image titled Draw People Step 4
    4
    At either end of the collar guideline, sketch circles that are slightly smaller than the circle you drew for the head earlier. These will be the shoulders...
  5. Image titled Draw People Step 5
    5
    Draw two ovals slightly longer than the vertical length of the head, so that they are attached to the underside of the shoulder circles. These will be the upper arms/biceps.
  6. Image titled Draw People Step 6
    6
    Draw the torso at the points where the bicep ovals meet the shoulder circles. This can be achieved by drawing a kind of upside-down trapezoid shape for the chest, and two vertical lines for the abdominal trunk. Beneath that, draw an upside-down triangle for the pelvic area.
  7. Image titled Draw People Step 7
    7
    About half a head-length above the upside-down triangle, draw a very small circle; this is the belly button. To ensure your figure is proportionate, adjust the bicep ovals so that their bottoms are even with the height of the belly button. Draw a guideline if you need to.
  8. Image titled Draw People Step 8
    8
    Sketch two circles that are slightly larger than your shoulder circles, so that they are each halfway inside the pelvic triangle. These are your hip joints.
  9. Image titled Draw People Step 9
    9
    Draw two long ovals (the same length as the torso) beneath the hip joint circles. These are the thighs.
  10. Image titled Draw People Step 10
    10
    Draw two smaller ovals for the knees, half-overlapping the bottoms of the thigh ovals.
  11. Image titled Draw People Step 11
    11
    Draw two more ovals beneath the knees for the calves/shins.
  12. Image titled 12 feet Step 12
    12
    Sketch two triangles at the bottoms of the calf ovals. These are the feet.
  13. Image titled 13 forearms Step 13
    13
    Go back up to the biceps and draw two more ovals beneath them for the forearms.
  14. Image titled 14 hands Step 14
    14
    Draw two small circles on the ends of the forearms for the hands.
  15. Image titled 15 Draw a smooth outline, add body details, and add clothing Step 15
    15
    Draw a smooth outline, add body details, and add clothing and accessories.
  16. Image titled Complete Intro 25
    16
    Finished.

Tips

  • Don't rush things, but be prolific. Draw often. Practice makes perfect!
  • Get in the habit of sketching lightly. This will make your eraser marks less obvious, as well as put less strain on your hands. You can always go back and darken your lines later, once you're satisfied that you've sketched out what you want.
  • Don't draw the body first. Instead, focus on the shape and size of your characters head. From there on you will be able to better continue the drawing based on the heads proportion. Drawing a body first makes figuring out the head size more challenging.
  • Long thick strokes are harder to control than shorter light ones. Instead, use a feather motion to create the line you are looking for.
  • Start out using a pencil. If you make a mistake, you can just erase and try again.
  • Take time to make sure that you're seated in a well-lit and comfortable place. If your body's uncomfortable, your mind will have trouble focusing, and you'll never get the results you want.
  • Visit the library or a bookstore and look at some art books. The internet is also a fantastic source for examples of professional artwork form around the world.
  • Try to get inspiration from your friends, family or simply the internet. Try to look outside for inspiration if you are struggling.
  • Plunge yourself into the figure-drawing world. Find artists whose art you enjoy, and practice emulating their techniques. If you'll watch a pro football player to see how professional football is played, then why not watch a pro artist to see how professional art is made?
  • If you can't get a feeling for how the characters would look in a specific scene, try making the pose you're trying to achieve, this could make the vision more real to you and you can focus more on whatever you're having trouble on.
  • Always keep trying. If you need to erase a lot, it's fine. It just means you're fixing your mistakes, which is the proper thing to do.

Warnings

  • You may find yourself getting frustrated. If this is the case, take a break and come back to your drawing later.
  • Don't be disappointed if you don't believe that your drawings are good. Not everyone has a talent to be able to draw, but you will get better with practice.
  • Don't feel like you have to draw it exactly like the drawing. Get messy, and make mistakes, that's how you learn!
  • Some people may find nude figures or adult subject matter offensive. As an artist you have the basic freedom to draw whatever you want, but be mindful of whom you are drawing, and where.

Things You'll Need

  • Pencil or pen
  • Eraser
  • Paper

Article Info

Categories: Drawing People and Features