Once upon a time (nearly 2 years ago to the day) I posted 9 figure drawing lessons for kids (and adults if they want to join in) and people still come looking for them. You can find them all here. Please keep in mind that originally I was doing these real time and life was rather hectic. If you decide to work through them feel free to leave a comment or email me if you ahve any questions or just want to share:
Tag: figure drawing
Once you practice putting it all together in a sketched skeleton you can begin to add shape. Some artists sketch in circles and ovals for the belly, arms, hands, legs sop they have the general shape there before they add details. Other artists add the drawing right on top of the skeleton. It is up to you which you decide to use but I suggest you try doing it both ways.
Take a skeleton which is drawn VERY lightly–so you can easily erase it, and using light lines draw the general shapes . For instance a belly is sometimes rounded and other times more rectangular. Think of the drawings of children who are just starting to draw–often they will draw hands that are a circle with 5 6, 7 or 10 lines coming out. 🙂 You want to think in terms of shapes in order to draw in this manner.
Take some time adding shape to your skeletons, try different shapes and see how they people turn out.
We will, God willing, be out of town next week but I will try to get the lesson posted anyway.
For this week we are going to review all that you have learned then next week I will explain how to develop that into a full drawing.
When beginning, consider the age of the person you are drawing–if you want a small child the head is bigger in proportion to the body than a teen or grown up.
Next consider where the joints will show be, draw a very light skeleton, using ovals for shoulders and hips, all at the angle they would naturally occur.
When laying out the face, remember that the eyes are at the center, not at the forehead, or the nose–unless you are trying to exaggerate to make a point (for instance, drawing an ogre you may want all the facial features squished towards the bottom half, or drawing an elf the face may get spread upwards.)
Also keep in mind that, in general, a face is 5 eyes wide at the ears, and 7 eyes tall. This will help you position the features on the face, even when you don’t have a face to look at when drawing.
Review what we have learned and practice making sketches for various people using skeletons.
Look at another person (either in real life or in a magazine.) Look at their body parts–they have a head, shoulders, arms, legs, hips, feet, so on. Look at all the joints (where the body bends). Some joints just bend back and forth other joints rotate (go around). Move your own body. Which parts bend back and forth? Which parts rotate?
When you draw a person’s body you have to pay attention to what each of those joints can do. You also have to remember to draw even the bits you don’t think about.
When I draw a person I draw a stick figure first. No, not a stick figure that is just two arms, two legs, a body and a head. If I did that my people would have no hips and no shoulders. Instead I draw an egg shape for the head (with the point where the chin should be), a line for the spine (which I curve in the way a spine would), a flattened oval for the hips and shoulders, straight lines for arms and legs, with circles for joints, hands, and the heels of the feet.
I draw this lightly as a sort of frame to which I add everything else. This way I have the basic proportions down, as well as where each joint should be. For years I refused to do this even though my art teacher told me to. I insisted on doing it my way (I am stubborn). And for years all my drawings had the proportions off. The head was always the wrong size, the shoulders to wide or too thin or angled wrong, one arm would always insist on going where it didn’t belong and my people never looked natural. Finally I figured out that my teachers were right. If you draw very light (or use good drawing paper so you can erase easily) drawing in a skeleton of sorts will help your whole drawing and your people will suddenly move right.
God gave you a skeleton with bones and joints and your muscles and skin need that skeleton in order to be shaped right and move. If you didn’t have a skeleton you would be a big blob. Getting the skeleton right in your drawing will help the person you are drawing look and move in the way God created people to look and to move.
This week all I want you to do is practice drawing a skeleton–not a real skeleton , just an artist’s skeleton. Use what you know about proportions to figure out height but now keep in mind where all the joints are as well as the shoulders and hips. (Some artists also add in the rib cage and possibly a ball for the stomach–I usually don’t unless I really need it.)
If you missed lesson 2 that is all right, you can go back and look at it here and either do that this week or continue on to this one which will clarify lesson 2.
Last week I talked about how artists measure people in heads. This is a difficult idea to grasp (it took me years to get it figured out and even now it isn’t an exact science.) There is a bit of a trick to it that I didn’t mention but which will help you “get it”.
Let’s start with a picture in a magazine–choose one where the person is standing up straight and tall. Now get a scrap of paper at least as tall as the person in the picture. Measure the persons head then make a another tik mark for the head, and again till you have something similar to a ruler. Now figure out how many heads tall that person is.
This week I just want you to focus on measuring. For each individual picture make a new head ruler (since each head is a different size:)). Th emore you practice the easier this new form of measuring will get. In fact after a while you will be able to “see” it in your head or just use a pencil and your thumb to measure how many heads tall a person is.
Let me show you some examples.
As you can see, the little girls here is three of her own heads tall.
The lady in the bridal gown is 7 of her own heads tall.
The lady with the hat is 7 of her own heads tall. (An interesting note–on going through magazines I found that most models are 7 heads tall.)
I made a new “head ruller” from scrap paper for each of these. I think it is interesting how people end up being either full heads tall or a number of heads and a half (though that is usually when they are still growing.) However, where their hips, shoulders, and knees fall on this scale varies.
The more you practice measuring people using their heads the easier it will be to figure out how tall to make them and to get them in the right proportions for them.