Drawing Human Figure

Requested by livvie :3

Drawing Human Figure

1. Basics

1. Sketch a basic stick-men-like figure. It’ll be the structural base for the character.
Note the basic difference between the male and the female here. Men have broad shoulders and the rest of the body is pretty rectangular. Women have smaller shoulders and bigger hips, making the waist more evident. If you want to make a more feminine guy, give him less shoulders but no more hips! A more masculine girl would have wider shoulders and less evident waist.
A couple of useful proportions to remember:
- The forearm’s length is the same than head + neck.
- The elbows are placed right at the waist.
- The wrists are placed around the pubis area.

Practice drawing this kind of figures in different positions! They’re really useful for planning poses and illustrations in general =3

2. Add some shapes This will be the guideline for the body of your character.
This is the part where you add the flesh to the bones and make your structure look more like a body… or a doll… or something like that.
Look at your body or at anybody else’s body. It has curves. Some are slight, some are more evident. AVOID drawing straight lines when drawing the body! Look at anatomical references if you’re not sure where goes what.

3. Naked body
Add the face, hair and draw how your character would look like if naked.
Again, look at references if you’re not sure about what goes where.
Sometimes, as in my example, the structure loos wonky when drawing the naked body… If so, then fix the things that should be fixed until your character looks like a normal person (or the type of person you want them to look like)
Why to draw them naked first? Because you can put the clothes on and see the shapes they should adopt and where the basic folds should be.

4. Final Add clothes and details!
If you’re drawing on paper, you might want to do this step in a new piece of paper. If you’re drawing in the computer, use a new layer for this.
If you have an action pose, where your characters are in motion, you might want to take an extra step before this one and sketch how the hair and clothes should be moving,

2. Thinking in 3D

Now,  you’d want your characters not to be just static 2D figures, but to be placed on a 3D environment, where you can look at them from different angles and positions… Perspective! Ugh, that gives a headache to half the people I know, me included Dx
Well, then you have to take your stick figures into 3D shapes you can play with.

The easiest shape is the head. Think of it as a sphere. Then draw two lines on your sphere: one vertical and one horizontal; those will be the axis of your face.
The vertical axis divides the face in two, while the horizontal axis shows where the eyes should be drawn. Then just add the rest of the elements, and don’t forget to add the jaw, that’s not included in the sphere!

Now let’s make our 3D-ish stick-figure-doll. You can use boxes, spheres and/or cylinders. The one I tend to use when planning drawings is the one in the picture.
Once you have your doll, with some basic notions of perspective you can put it into different angles and positions.

Easy, huh? If you’re having troubles with this, you should check specialized sites on perspective and such.
BTW; this is just a very BASIC approach to drawing, so I do recommend to go look at drawing books and such to learn the proper way to do it. And look at an awful lot of references.

Now, the only thing left is to play around with the doll, moving the arms and feet around (if you have an actual jointed doll, that helps a lot to figure out stuff like this), and then flesh the doll out into a humanoid character.

3. Fixing your drawing

The last tip I have is how to fix a drawing of yours, structure-wise. You may have noticed that when one draws (especially without a structure as a base), if you mirror your drawing, you would be able to see a lot of imperfections, the usual ones being the eyes being misplaced or the head being shaped weirdly, etc; things that you don’t really notice when looking at the original drawing. Well, a good drawing is the one that when it gets flipped or mirrored doesn’t have mistakes like that.

On Paper:
- Pick the piece of paper you have your drawing on and place it on a lightbox/table or on a window.
- Flip it! You should be able to see your drawing on the other side of the paper, but mirrored.
Normally, if you didn’t use any structure to draw, some parts of your drawing will look weird.
- Now pick either a colored pencil or a graphite pencil and draw the structure your drawing is supposed to have. Draw some lines for guide and redraw everything that looks weird. If you’re drawing with graphite, try to do it softly.
- Flip your drawing again. ou should be able to see your doodles on the other side of the paper. Now erase your drawing on the parts you fixed and redraw them using the lines on the back of the paper as guides.

Digital:
- Flip your drawing horizontally and lower its opacity to, say… 50%.
- Make a new layer on top of it and use a light and bright color (light blue, magenta, pink or green, usually) to draw the structure, guides and redraw everything that looks weird or out of place.
- Flip horizontally both layers
- Now put the fixing layer (the one with color) below your drawing layer. restore your layer’s opacity to 100% and lower the oter one’s opacity.
- Erase and redraw all the things you fixed when the drawing was flipped, using the color lines of your fix layer as guide.