How to Get Better at Drawing Bodies

4 min read

How to Get Better at Drawing Bodies

So you ace at drawing architecture, flowers, and landscapes but aren’t sure how to go about the human body. Don’t worry; you’re not alone!

Check out these practices if you want to know :

how to get better at drawing bodies!

  • Set up your workspace

You will draw figures best when you don’t have anything around you that distracts your sight or thoughts. 

Preparing your workspace before starting your drawing session is an excellent way to make sure you get rid of distractions.

First, make sure that you have everything you need in front of you. Charcoal sticks, charcoal and graphite pencils, paper, and kneaded erasers are standard body drawing tools.

If you use an easel, set it up at a good position and height so that you won’t have sore shoulders and arms mid-session. 

  • Start simple

Overthinking is one of the reasons why beginner artists find it overwhelming to draw figures. 

When you look at a model, you will see many muscles and bumps everywhere in their body. And while it might be tempting to grab an anatomy book to get your drawing right, it won’t be of much help.

Instead, draw simple shapes like squares, cylinders, and spheres to establish the basic structure. You can then draw the more complex shapes and add dimension as you sketch along. 

Copying contours and shading before drawing the structure will result in a lifeless and dimensionless drawing.

  • Learn the skeleton

If you don’t know the human skeleton, you will have difficulty placing the muscles in the right direction in your drawing. It is easy to notice this mistake even through a fully-fleshed body.

I understand that memorizing the skeleton is not fun! But if you think about it, muscles and other body parts have a more complicated form than the skeleton itself. 

Regardless, it will be easier for you to draw the body and place the muscles accurately when you know how it works and where the bones are.

Don’t skip on learning the skeleton, and it will immensely help you draw better bodies for the rest of your life!

  • Try not to enhance the muscles too much.

Making a good body drawing means making it look as human as possible. And that’s not going to happen if you overemphasize the muscles. 

While muscles are essential to make the figure realistic, making them the focal point will make your figure look skinless!

I’m sure you would want the viewer to see emotion, action, and personality in your drawing. To achieve that, it is a good practice, to begin with, a gesture drawing. It provides a blueprint for the kind of action you want the drawing to portray. 

  • Take heed of the proportions.

You will draw a realistic body better if you concentrate on its proportions and get them accurately. And it shouldn’t be a problem if you have excellent observational skills and ample knowledge of anatomy. 

However, keep in mind not to be too rigid. Adding dynamics and personality to the figure will make the drawing more interesting than just getting the proportions right.

In other words, use proportion and anatomy on your drawing only enough to support the central gesture drawing. 

Every detail you add to your drawing should cohesively create a figure that portrays that attitude, personality, and energy you want it to show, even if it means changing the anatomy or proportions!

  • Use different shapes to draw other figures.

One common mistake artists make while drawing figures is using the same structure to build all of them. 

When you draw a figure, you would want to think about its shape according to the subject. For example, you wouldn’t want to use the same structure for a male and female athlete and a sumo wrestler!

Figure out the types of simple shapes suitable for drawing the body you have in mind. 

For example, if you want to draw someone with a rounded head shape, you would initially like to construct a simple sphere. And if they have square-shaped heads, you first need to draw a simple box shape.

  • Change the game

As you draw more and more figures, you might notice that you’re going back to the same drawing style over and over. But, if you find yourself always drawing bodies with lines or always using charcoal to shade them, it’s time to change!

Artists that find shading difficult can try using intense lights. For example, you can place bright lighting on the model’s body to compel you to notice the shadows.

If you think you are great at proportions, you can change the game and try drawing from an extreme perspective. 

Leaving your comfort zone and trying new things will enhance your skills and improve drawing figures. 

  • Review your drawings

Once you complete your figure drawing, look at it from a critical point of view and find areas for improvement. You can also ask a critique, mentor, or friend for help. 

If you notice anything that you think you should correct, start working on them. And I’m not just talking about your recent works! Find drawings from days or months ago to review your work, look for mistakes, and correct them.

  • Give yourself time

Learning anatomy isn’t an overnight process. Instead, you know as you practice.

Take time when drawing a figure and give enough attention to every part of it. It is essential to understand that you cannot learn and apply everything in a day. 

You will need to review your work and add details to every area as long as you remain an artist! 

  • Practice in different ways

Drawing from pictures, drawing from a model, using only your imagination, drawing from sculptures, tracing anatomy, or drawing from master copies are some ways you can practice when drawing figures.

Doing this allows your brain to access information in different ways and helps you get better at drawing the human body.


In conclusion:

When you are good at drawing anatomy, you can create figures that look real and those that have actual volume and mass. However, remember to use anatomy to add movement to the body and not divert from it.

Now I’d like to know what you think of my post!

Which practice do you think will benefit you the most? Or do you want to share a tip that you swear by?

Let me know in the comments right here!

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