Would you like to start drawing the human figure, but find it a bit intimidating and don't know where to start? Are you aware of how important it is to have, at least, a general knowledge about proportion and location of body parts when trying to draw the human anatomy?
Drawing any part of the human anatomy (or an entire body) is incredibly difficult and requires a lot of study and practice, especially because it entails knowledge on specific proportions. In this blog post, I will explain how I personally got started understanding proportions involved in the human anatomy, as well as how I started practicing drawing the human figure.
I initially started learning about human body proportions around six years ago, when I came up with the idea of teaching 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.
Understanding Basic Human Proportions
The most important thing to do in the beginning, is to make time to study the general proportions of both male and female bodies using both full-body photographs and direct observation in your everyday life. Notice the distance between peoples' limbs and how the lengths/widths of a specific body parts compare to others. Notice how joints align, and the range of movement they allow.
Forget about what you THINK you know about the human body, and actually arrive at conclusions by OBSERVING. Take notes. Create quick sketches.
Even though there are a million different body shapes and sizes, there are certain general measurements/proportions that are universal. For example, adult bodies are around 7.5 heads tall, the crotch marks half of the length of the entire body, the knees are halfway down the crotch and the bottom of the feet, the wrists should fall at the bottom-most part of the crotch, etc.
Because there is all this information we have to make sure to apply in order to create a believable human figure, it is advisable to start out by using a ruler and actually taking time to measure out the different parts.
Start by creating over-simplified skeletons of the human figure using 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.
These images included here are recreations of what I used to start practicing the human form and are included as letter-sized .jpgs at the end of this post for you to practice with! Start by drawing the skeleton in front view and then move on to the side view. When you've got that down, start moving that skeleton to represent different positions a human body could have. What would it look like dancing? Sitting down? Kicking a ball?
Once you can do this, it will be time to start practicing each individual part of the human anatomy! Each part of the human anatomy has its own intricacies that you'll have to learn about and practice over time, but be patient with yourself and you'll notice improvement as you go.
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Use the downloads below to practice basic human proportions and drawing the body in different positions!
Which part of the human anatomy do you find most difficult to recreate? Leave a comment below!
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