How To Draw Figure Drawing – Honestly, my nemesis. My ambition is to be able to quickly draw human figures in my sketchbook, as in everything else.
With that thought in mind, I’m forcing myself (and you!) to break the process of drawing the human figure. I want to understand what techniques and tools I need to use to develop my own method to understand this difficult subject.
How To Draw Figure Drawing
I feel happy the fact that I am on the same page as the great artists who have been struggling with this field of drawing for centuries. For example, Van Gogh began his prolific artistic career by painting figures in static positions. In the first two years of his career, he spent everything on painting. As you can see from the picture on the left below, they struggled with issues of proportionality.
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The head is drawn too big, as are the shoes and hands (this is a problem with me). Compare the image of the earlier sketch of the carpenter on the left (Carpenter, 1880. Rijksmuseum Kroller-Muller, Otterlo) with the sketch of the old man sitting in a chair two years later (Old Man Reading 1882, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam) Here he clearly sees ratio problems made by Took two years of practice! Perhaps therein lies the first lesson to be learned moving forward for consistent practice. (By the way, I love discovering the stories of great artists because we learn so much about the journeys they took to get to the famous works of art we know, love and respect.)
In theory, drawing a human figure should be no less difficult than drawing anything else. All drawings are based on proportions. Landscapes, sketches or still life, buildings and street scenes and people! Drawing people depends a lot on correct proportions – perhaps more than any other drawing.
For example, have you ever found it difficult to draw human heads? I will! He wonder why. In response to the question of why, we emphasize the features, not foreheads and hair, because it is where our daily attention is when we communicate with each other. We need to retrain our minds to understand the science of proportion dispassionately. That’s why you often see me pulling head last in my pictures! I need the rest of the body to measure the head size.
Therefore, for beginners in drawing the human figure, the first lesson should focus on simple shapes, and then on proportions. The American artist Burn Hogarth said about this
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“There are three types of shapes in the human form: ovoid shapes – masses of eggs, spheres and barrels; Shapes of columns – cylinder, cone; Spatula shapes – box, plate and wedge blocks. Exactly!
I will learn how to use simple shapes to start and then use them to build the concept of proportion.
I want to show you how to put everything together from scratch, from the stick man I mentioned at the beginning of this post!
Yes. Believe me, gluing and drawing men is an important part of learning how to draw the human figure. Especially if you are a beginner.
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In 1912, the surrealist artist Marcel Duchamp’s painting “Nude Descending the Stairs” outraged the art world. I remember seeing this painting when I was 19, and I was similarly offended that what looked like a bunch of cardboard people had become such a sensation, especially from studying artists and Renaissance master of form and human form. And his semi-abstract nudity had an extraordinary sense of movement. Duchamp shifted the focus from the artwork and managed to capture the ideas behind it. We can still say that it is human shape and form.
Why should this image be included in this article and what does it have to do with stick figures and drawing the human figure? For me, this painting represents not only the deconstruction of the human anatomy, but also its reduction to its basic forms. Not particularly clearly transcribed. However, the result of genius is that the unknown descent can still be recognized as a human figure.
To me, stick man is as basic as you can get. Anyone can draw a stick man, and this is usually the most popular comment I hear: “I can draw a stick man.”
I’ll show you how I use a stick man as my starting point and then create a man figure in the video below.
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One of the first things I noticed about stick figures is that you quickly find out what kind of person you can finally create. You can represent with your stick man or other cartoons. I seem to move between the two in my sketchbooks. I like to get as close to accurate as possible and combine the image to capture it.
If you are thinking of this idea and feel artist’s block coming on, or if you are a complete newbie at all of this, take out a magazine and draw the stickman shape you see on the page on the -a human figure with a marking pen. . . I’ll show you how to do this in my Sketch from Scratch online course.
An important thing to consider when drawing a human figure is that you have to find ways to demystify it. Everyone develops a different approach, and I’ll share mine. In the video that accompanies this article, I walk through a very simple 3-step approach. Take human form. Use a photo or magazine, then look at the picture and imagine how you would draw a simple stick figure to represent the picture.
Try to do something for them. I’m going into the water to swim. If you have more time, practice lots of stick drawings on the page. Doodle them on the page. Keep it simple. Play with them over and over on the page. Draw a page of different stick men in different positions. Seriously. When I first started, I would find children’s comics and bedtime stories and make the characters in them into stickman shapes. I was fascinated by the movement, shape and strangeness of my stickmen. Importantly, it gave me a sense of action and also took care of the short circuit or perspective. The main difficulties we all face when drawing a person.
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Remembering what I said earlier in this post, now start filling in your stickman using shapes and blocks, remember to add curves for legs and basic filled shapes. Don’t worry if you are writing over or around the actual person of the starting stick. This exercise is designed to get used to building layers around a stick figure. Once you have reviewed the second step of this process, quickly sketch shapes and forms on the page. At the end of such an exercise, you can dispense with the need to draw a stickman to help you.
For those of you who have followed me for a while, you will see that I recommend marking as part of your regular sketchbook.
After the stickman stage, I filled the page with balls, triangles, circles and lines to practice as Burne Hogarth advocated.
Fill in several pages with different shapes. On a new page, then go ahead and make some of these shapes look like the human body, as I’ve done below. Use reference photos of people. Practice drawing cylinders to start thinking in 3D. I used baby squares for the arms and triangles or rectangles for the legs. You can even trace a magazine image with a marker pen to get a sense of proportion and shape.
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To encourage you to put this methodology to work, I’m going to look at a page of numbers that I plotted as a time frame. (You can see I’m rubbing my second head drawing – it’s something I’m still practicing to get right.) Again, notice how I draw the figures using rectangles and shapes. I always find it useful to see shapes in a drawing. I even use this method, despite the difficulty of reducing and determining the perspective of the figure sitting on the rock.
Look beyond your literal understanding of the scene—the girl sitting on the rock—and just look at the size and spacing of the shapes.
Whenever you get stuck, always think about the shapes you see first. My confidence grew from my practice of drawing people in shape blocks! My brain automatically identifies shapes visually.
I recommend that you set aside two pages of your sketchbook and draw some figures. It could be
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