Introduction: How to Draw People

In this instructable, I will show you some basic techniques you can use to increase your drawing skill and proportion accuracy, specifically when drawing humans or something of the like. This includes tips, ideas, blabla bal. Unfortunately, this instructable does not replace basic practice and skill, and does is not intended to make drawing necessarily easier.

Step 1: Drawing From Basic Shapes

The main technique I will show is using basic, simple shapes to make up a more complex object. This is very helpful when you're planning out you're drawing. Depending on your style, there are many ways you can split something up into simple shapes. An example of this is the picture to the side. You can simply use line and spheres and ovals, or you could use mostly rectangles, or you could use both, or even slightly more complicated shapes with weird rounded edges. However you decide to do it, if it looks good, and it's efficient, and it works for you, than its probably fine. But just to give you an idea of this concept, I'll show you how I usually do it. If you look to the second image, there quick sketches of how I might plan out a random basic drawing. As you can see, it looks pretty sloppy, but that's okay, as long as it gets fixed up by the end. Your probably going to end up having to erase parts here and there anyway. This is why I always draw my guiding lines and shapes really lightly, so they erase better.

1. Ok, so I usually start with a circle like shape for the chest, and then a small line up for the neck, and then longer lines out from the sides for upper arms. Then I add a line coming down from chest and a smaller circle to represent the pelvic bone. If you're still with me, it's pretty much the same thing for the rest of the body. The only thing I do a little different is the head. Humans have jawbones, which gives their head shape an extra bump in it, a funky shape that's hard to describe. So for the head, I usually do a basic circle and jawbone like thing coming from the bottom. It might be more helpful for you to look at number one in the picture to see what this shape looks like. It's almost like a square and a rounded triangle put together.

2. Next, I start to make these skeleton lines into full shapes. The arms are like cylinders, and the legs very similar to the arms, but both are separated in the middle by a knee cap (or an elbow). For the head, I add some light guidance lines from top to bottom through the middle, and from side to side, around the top of the jaw line. These will help you position the facial features of your person in the right place.

3. After all that, you might use the eraser a little bit to fix anything that you don't like, and to start rounding out the edges to look more like a human. Then you'll darken the lines that you like just a little bit so that they're more visible, and erase the ones that don't fit, like any stray markings.

4. Next you'll finish up the planning process by adding hair, detailing the facial features, and doing some very basic shading.

Step 2: Adding Details, Posing, Action Shots, and Drawing From Different Angles

Art mannequin, pictures of self, app mannequin,

This next step is all about making your characters look more detailed and more interesting.this can be done in many ways, but I'll just go over some of the most important things to keep in mind. Throughout this whole step, if you don't understand anything and don't get anything out of it, than just remember one thing: art mannequin. Art mannequins are posable mannequins that you can use to say things like,"What would this position look like? Or what would this angle look like? What does this character look like when the light comes from this angle?" They are a very helpful tool for posing and sketching characters. After practicing with one for awhile, and knowing what many different poses would look like in real life, you may not even need the mannequin any more. Instead, you'll be able to imagine what it would look like yourself. Even if you don't own a mannequin, there are plenty of alternatives. You can one pretty cheap (it doesn't have to be big and fancy). But you can also make your own out of pipe cleaners or something. Thee are mean even simpler means, such as apps that let you pose a character, or online programs. The simplest substitute of all is just taking selfies of yourself in the pose you want. If you draw digitally, you could put the picture in the background and trace over it for better practice. Just don't spend too much time tracing; make you own drawings, don't copy off something else unless it's for practice. So here's a video if you want to know more about drawing off of mannequins. I DID NOT make this myself, but saw this online and thought it was a very well made video and could help.

(Some poses are just plain hard. Sure, once you try again and again you can draw a ordinary person staring straight ahead pretty easy. But that's just boring, and seriously, who stands like that. This is where basic shapes com in handy — if you've gotten a hang of the basic concept, you can just draw a couple of simple shapes in the right spot, and you're good. This way you're proportions will be relatively correct, because your arms will both be the same size and shape, and your legs will both be the same size and shape, etc. )


So you practiced with you mannequin, but you're wondering,"What else can I do to make my poses cool?" Well, first, think about what do feeling you're trying to get across to the person seeing the picture. Is it fast moving, heart-pumping action? An embarrassing moment? Or maybe just a boring lecture in school? Now think about what body movements and positions signal this feeling or situation. If it's heart pumping action, maybe the character is running for his life, and his he's pumping his arms really fast. Or maybe, he's just straight terrified, and his arms are flailing all over the place and his head is back and his legs are blurred because they're moving so fast. If they're bored, maybe their head is in their hands, and legs are crossed. Posing the characters body is only one part of the process of conveying the situation, there's also camera angle, facial expressions, and details.

Camera angle:

How do you decide on your camera angle? Well, this one is actually pretty simple. You can think of it kind of like certain snapshots from a movie. For a dramatic scene the camera would move slowly, but for an action scene the camera angle would change fast and be all over the place. The difference is, in a picture there's no movement. But let's say, for example, that your character is playing basketball and makes a dunk. If you want to show a really cool camera view, you could show a birds eye view from right on the edge of the basket, so you can see the players face, the ball, and the basket all real close up at the same time. It's most important that whatever camera angle you pick, it goes well with and your character's pose and they work together to convey the situation. Another important factor when picking your camera angle, is

Facial expressions:

The third factor to conveying the situation, and probably the most important one for the conveying the characters feelings about something. For the example in posing, of a character that's bored of sitting in school, his face might look angry, and red. But you could also just make his eyes wander around the room, so you can tell that he's in his own little dreamland. So, obviously, depending on how you choose to display different emotions, your characters personality can be interpreted very differently. That's why this is so important: you don't want to make you character look like the mean cranky guy when he's supposed to be the tough, noble hero. Oops, that would be bad.

So I know what facial expression I want to present, but how do I do that? What makes a face look angry, or sad, or happy? Well, the best advice I have for this one is very strange: take selfies. Since art mannequins don't have posable faces, pose your own face. Pretend you're a big angry monster, and make that face into the camera. Then trace over certain features that you think are most important to the characters expression. Then take the background picture away and see if your characters face still looks like the expression you wanted it to. If not, then put the background back and try mixing in some other details. In this stage, don't add shading details, you should be able to draw a facial expression with just lines. Here's a table of different pictures I drew of just what some facial expressions might look like. Hope it helps.

Adding details:

The last thing is actually more of a transition into the next stage. When I say details in this context , I mean the extra lines, that are small and you don't notice as much unless you look for them, because they're not border lines. Some examples of this are lines showing folds in clothing, muscle shape, hair lines, etc.. To tell you the truth, I find this part very hard, because there's no mannequin to use for this part. You could try a 3d sculpting app, but I've never tried using that for this. So in general, this is probably the hardest part to practice.

Step 3: Color, Shading and Final Details

This last step is pretty simple.

Apply the appropriate color to the appropriate area.

Add some shadows.

Add some highlights.

Take a break and eat some popcorn.

Get back to it and add a background

Then add anything you forgot.

So ya, that's pretty much it. I generally keep shading pretty simple, with just shadows, highlights, and mid tones.

Step 4: Extra Tips and Conclusion

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed, and please comment on any feedback you have on how I could make a better instructable, what you liked, or any questions you have.

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