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How to Draw a Person

Have you always want to learn how to draw a person, but didn’t know where to start? This article will show you everything you need to know to draw people well.

How to Draw People
How to Draw People Worksheets

How to Start

The temptation for many people when they are drawing people is to first make the eyes, or nose, or something that is relatively small.

But this is a mistake.

When drawing people, you always want to start with the biggest ideas first, and then work your way to the smaller ideas.

And the biggest idea you need to capture first, before even THINKING about drawing eyes, is the overall proportion of your figure. How tall compared to how wide is your figure?

Artists often indicate the height of the figure by marking the bottom of the feet and the top of the head.

For the width, artist sometimes use what is called a “Proportion Box”. It is a box that represents the height and width of the person.

proportion box figure drawing
Proportion Box Figure Drawing

Do you want fool-proof, step-by-step guidance on how to draw a figure? Our Yay! People Worksheets will teach you everything you need to know to draw believable figures.

Envelope Method

Once you have determined the height and width of your figure, you can get a little more specific with the shape. To do this, use a technique called an envelope.

An envelope contains a small number of straight lines that incapsulate the overall shape of the person you are trying to draw.

Envelopes are advantageous because they help you find the bigggest overall shape before getting distracted by details.

The envelope also helps you start to organize how one major point, say the elbow, relates to another major point like the head.

Look at the image below, and notice how this relatively simple envelope shape helps describe the entire person that is being drawn.

envelope how to draw a person

Major Anatomical Landmarks

When learning how to draw people, it is important that you know how to identify important anatomical landmarks. This takes both knowledge and practice.

Our Yay! People Worksheets help students learn how to identify important anatomical landmarks and practice finding them in a variety of poses.

Key landmarks to learn include the greater trochanter, symphysis pubis, sternal notch, and acromian processes.

It is important that you not only know what these landmarks are, but how to find them on the human figure. Students often mistake the greater trochanter for the hip, for example. That is why it is important to practice finding key landmarks over and over again so that you can internalize them.

(Need help learning anatomical landmarks? Our Yay! People Worksheets include dozens of examples to help you learn and practice how to find key landmarks on the human figure.)

anatomical landmarks of the figure
Learn key landmarks when drawing figures.

Refine Your Drawing of a Person

Once you have your major proportions and shape set, and your key anatomical landmarks identified, you can start to refine your drawing.

Again, it is best to always work from the biggest ideas to the smallest. The shapes of the arms and legs, for example, are much bigger than an eyelash. Be mindful of what is physically the next biggest idea when learning how to draw a person and it will help you.

how to draw a person in stages

Next Steps for Drawing People

By starting with a proportion box and envelope and then working to smaller ideas such as the individual arms and legs, you are well on your way to drawing believable people.

It can be challenging to learn how to draw people, which is why the School of Atelier Arts created these extensive worksheets to help people learn. ANYONE can make believable people that has access to good knowledge and quality practice, and that is what these people drawing worksheets provide.

Once you master drawing people, you might want to learn more about portraits in order to bring your drawing of people to the next level. Check out our articles on portraiture:

Teaching Portraits

5 Mistakes Art Teachers Make When Teaching Portraits

Yay! Portraits Worksheets

How do you draw people? Let me know in the comments below.

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