The past weekend I decided to go back to basics and do some human figure studies in my sketchbook. I want to get quicker at drawing the female figure in interesting poses because, for the longest time, I drew very stiff and boring bodies. I really admire comic book artists because they have to know how to draw pretty much every pose imaginable super fast!
I initially started learning about human body proportions around six years ago, when I came up with the idea of giving a Fashion Sketching Extracurricular class at the school I was working at. Even though back then I was focusing much more on creating templates that my students and I could use to design clothes on, I learned as much as I could about proportions of the human body and how to go about drawing one. I learned that even though in reality there are a million different body shapes and sizes, there are certain measurements that have to be kept in mind when drawing a believable human figure. Usually, realistic (adult) figures are around 7.5-8 heads tall whereas the fashion figure is elongated to around 9 heads tall. There are also other measurements that have to be considered like arm length, shoulder width, feet size, etc.
With this information in mind, I took out my ruler and created templates that I could use to start practicing an over-simplified skeleton of the human shape using simple lines and shapes. You can find a lot of different ways of drawing this skeleton, and in my opinion it doesn't really matter how you do it, as long as it represents realistic proportions and it allows you to visualize your drawing so you can eventually work from it.
By taking time to practice drawing this skeleton and (when your ready) using it to flesh out your humans, you'll eventually be able to develop an eye for what looks right in an artwork and what doesn't. After some practice, you'll be able to draw any pose that you see in pictures or real life and you'll become faster and faster!
The sketches below are recreations of what I used to start practicing all those years ago and an empty template that you can use to practice yourself! If you have never tried this before, I suggest beginning with the forward view. When you've got that down, start moving that skeleton around more and more! What would it look like dancing? Sitting down? Kicking a ball?
Once you can do this, it will be time to look into how to draw each bodily element!
Drag these .jpgs onto your desktop or download them below to use them as you'd like!
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