Five Tips for Drawing People

Whenever we ask our readers what they’re most interested in learning about, drawing people is always near, if not at, the top of the list. And it’s really no surprise. The human form and the human face have been the focus of some of the most iconic artworks throughout history. And, let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a good selfie?

Whether your ambition is to be the next Da Vinci or just to create a realistic drawing of your best friend, Drawing has what you need to master the art of drawing people with our new eMag, Drawing People and Faces. Here we’d like to share a quick selection of the tips shared by our artists. And for continued inspiration and instruction, subscribe to Drawing magazine.

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1: Begin With Simplified Planes
When drawing the human head, you can simplify the structure by eliminating details and breaking down the many shapes into a few basic planes. Once you feel more familiar with the head, you can build off those simple drawings. –Paul Leveille

 

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2: Use Basic Proportions When Drawing the Head
All adult heads look different, but using basic proportions to start your drawing, regardless of details, give you a consistent foundation to build off of every time you start a new work.

  • From the top of the head to the chin, the eyes are positioned approximately in the middle
  • The eyes are about one eye-width apart
  • The bottom of the nose is halfway between the eyebrows and the chin
  • The ears are positioned between the horizontal lines of the eyebrows and the nose
  • The mouth is placed between the nose and chin, about two-thirds of the way up from the chin
  • On the profile, notice that the ear is placed being the center line –Paul Leveille

3: Dig Deep
It’s important to understand the skeletal framework beneath the skin and the way it influences the topography of the human form.–Mario Robinson

 

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4: Start With Basic Structures
It’s important to think of the human figure in terms of fundamental forms, since it’s these forms that create the major masses that affect both the inside gesture and the outside shape of things. By reducing the figure to geometric shapes, you can create convincing foreshortening. –Robert Barrett

5: Build on a Gestural Framework
As with any drawing, construct the figure by roughing in the gestures. A loose gesture sketch will help you capture the overall essence of the figure. –Robert Barrett

For more advice from these expert instructors about portrait and figure drawing, get the eMag Drawing People and Faces, now available at the North Light Shop.

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