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Mastering how to draw bodies can be challenging, especially for beginner artists. You should know the human anatomy and adhere to the proportional sizes of different body parts. In addition, you should master the basic shapes of external body parts.
Before you attend your next art class or teach your child how to draw the human body, follow this seven-step drawing tutorial for human bodies. It can help you and your art students draft simple and complex human body shapes.
What Tools Do I Need for This Tutorial?
You need the following tools for this drawing tutorial.
- Anatomy book
- 4H pencils
- 2H pencils
- 2HB pencils
- A reference image
- A flat working surface
- Putty eraser
How to Draw Shapes: A 7-Step Guide
Have you assembled all the tools for this tutorial? Well, let’s learn how to draw the male human form using our reference image.
Step 1: Use a Reference Image to Estimate the Size
A reference image offers you a great way to start drawing. Hold your image on one page of your drawing book and sketch the human body using a 4H pencil. Make the sketch the same size as your reference image to ensure proportionality.
Besides guiding you, the reference image inspires your creativity and helps you include all details in your drawing. Furthermore, it gives you a starting point for your picture and improves your ability to see and recall details with time.
Step 2: Sketch the Human Anatomy Frame
The next step is to sketch the human anatomy frame using a 2H pencil. Your frame should remain within the outline, although it can spill a little.
If you are new to drawing bodies, you may miss some details of the human frame. That is why you should study the human anatomy book before you start drawing. However, this becomes simple as you gain drawing skills.
When drawing the frame, start with the visible parts, such as the head, upper arms, medium body, and limbs. Note that the parts should be proportional for you to obtain a realistic figure.
Ensure you mark the common joints, such as the hip joint between the belly button and the limbs and the knee joint between the thigh bone and legs.
The anatomy frame helps you outline the internal structure of the human form.
Step 3: Add Geometric Shapes to Define Body Parts
The human body is symmetrical externally. You can use shapes like circles, semicircles, and egg shapes to indicate external body parts. Let’s begin with the head.
As a rule, the head forms an eighth of the human body’s height. The face, eyes, ears, nose, and mouth appear on the head, and most organs are symmetrical. To ensure proportionality, draw a vertical line in the middle of the face whose outline is circular.
Draw the ears on the lower half of the head using your 2H pencil. Next, sketch the eyes on either side of the vertical line using oval shapes and include eyebrows above the eyes. The nose and mouth should be cut across the line of symmetry.
Step 4: Adhere to the Body Proportion Rules
Human body parts are proportional. The head height forms an eighth of the body height, while the legs have three-eighths. The body trunk is thrice the head, while the other parts, such as arms and hands, are proportional to the head.
Always ensure you follow the rules of body proportions. If you fail on your first attempt, don’t worry. You can improve and keep your drawing proportional with good practice.
Step 5:Draw an Outline to Obtain a Realistic Figure
The above first steps give you a sketch of a human figure drawing. Although they are not detailed, they will guide you through adding detail to your portrait and make it look real. In this step, use an HB pencil to draw the body outline.
The HB pencil is darker and creates an illusion of a live model. Ensure you make the details of your drawing visible to simplify your work in the final steps.
Unlike the sketch, where you use faint lines, the outline should have thick lines with a bit of detail to show body shapes and contours in the entire body. For example, your outline should have visible hips and waistlines.
Step 6: Erase the Sketchline and Add Body Parts
Using an eraser, rub the sketch lines to make your drawing look neat and avoid many lines on your drawing. You can also use a sharp razor to smoothen the edges and make them look real.
Use a darker pencil to overlap parts of the sketch line that lie on the outline. A putty eraser can help remove ‘stray’ marks on the sketch without scrubbing your drawing book. It enables you to keep the drawing clean.
After erasing, add details to your drawing in the entire body. Since the external parts are visible, add more elements to them. They include hair on your head, eyelashes, and elbow and knee joints.
This step takes more time since it involves drawing and shading to make the parts visible. If your reference image has black hair, use a darker pencil to shade the head. Some darker shades along the joints and body contours make them appear more natural and real.
Step 7: Shade and Tone Your Drawing
This is the final step in drawing body shapes. You should use your 2B and HB pencils to shade your drawing. Pay attention to the light source and make the illuminated parts lightly shaded. The body parts facing away from light need a darker shade using a 2B pencil.
Ensure you follow the alignment of the joints when shading for a perfect human body appearance.
Different parts of the body vary in density, thickness, and depth. Your drawing should reflect the heavier parts, like the trunk, and the lighter ones, like the limbs. Shading and creating imaginary space is the best way to show the varying thickness of different parts.
Darker shading accentuates depth and thickness, while lighter shading creates an illusion of lighter density.
How to Draw Bodies- Practice with the Step Tutorial
Great job! You have come to the end of this tutorial. You can start by drawing simple shapes, such as human body parts before you draw the entire body. Remember, mastering drawing skills requires consistent practice.
Once you perfect drawing the human body, you can follow the same steps for animal body drawings.
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My favorite drawing supplies for how to draw bodies
- Sketching Pencils
- Kneaded Rubber Eraser
- Sketch Pad
- Erasable Colored Pencils
- Fine markers
- Sketch and Drawing Art Pencil Set
- Artist drawing set (This is great for new and experienced artists. It’s also something I give as a gift.)
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