How to draw figures

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drawing a figure
Learning how to draw a figure takes time and practice
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Impress your family, friends and yourself by drawing realistic-looking figures

If you've ever tried to draw the human figure before, you likely found out just how tricky it can be. After all, there's a reason why there are so many pictures of flowers and fruit; drawing people can be super difficult.

However, if you've always wanted to, you should give it a try. With the right technique and knowledge of proportions, you can draw a figure that looks accurate -- even impressive.


Perhaps the most difficult aspect of learning how to draw figures is getting the proportions correct. If the head is too big, your person will look like a caricature. If the head is tiny, your figure can look plain silly.

Figuring out the proportions can take some trial and error, which is why you need to have a good pencil and artists' eraser, so you can get rid of your mistakes and keep trying. The head should look proportionate with the rest of the body. Starting with a stick figure is a good idea, as you can take a step back and study the stick figure to see if the head looks natural. If not, adjust. Once you get this down, you'll be able to better draw the correct size head on a more advanced figure.

Although there isn't a "set" size for a person, the average adult is typically drawn to be anywhere from five to eight heads tall. For this reason, knowing just how big the head should be is a good idea before you start drawing your figure. Children are often four to five heads tall, depending on their age.

If your figure is proportionately accurate, it should be able to be split into four equal sections. These sections are from the top of the head to the arm-pit, from the arm-pit to the middle of the body, from the middle of the body to the knees and the knees to the bottom of the feet.


Starting with a stick figure is a good way to begin drawing your figure. Once your stick figure looks like it is proportioned correctly, you can add horizontal lines for the shoulders and hips to give the figure some width. You can also change the arms and legs from lines to dashes. This change allows for movement and also helps you draw more accurate proportions.

Add circles to the spots in which the body should have joints, such as the knees, hips, shoulders and wrists. Doing so provides a basis for which to draw your more realistic figure. You can then change the legs and arms from dashes into cylinders. Seeing the figures in this way allows you to better see the proportions and the actual shape of the figure, allowing you to change anything if needed. Drawing with these shapes also makes drawing a figure in motion more accurate and believable.

Now it's time to add the details to your figures. Fingers, hair, eyes and everything else that makes a person unique can be drawn over top the figure. Use the stick figure as a guide to show you how long and thick to make these features. Use your eraser to remove the lines from the stick figures you've drawn, as well as the joint circles.

Creating the best figure you can involves using high-quality art supplies and practice, practice, practice.You shouldn't expect to draw a perfect figure the first time you attempt to draw one; it's going to take awhile. But if you don't give up and keep going, you'll draw a realistic and accurate figure before you know it.


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