1. Home
Send to a Friend via Email

Video:How to Draw a Human Figure

with Mark Keathley

Drawing or sketching the human figure takes time and practice. Check out these drawing tips, to help you begin your human figure sketch.See Transcript

  • All Videos
  • All Home Videos
  • Drawing / Sketching Videos

Transcript:How to Draw a Human Figure

Hi! I am Mark Keathley, America’s Artist and today we are going to draw the human figure. So grab your favorite pencil and a sketch pad and a photograph of a human figure.

Study the Human Figure's Shape

Today, I am drawing a little girl walking on the beach. The first thing I am going to do is study proportions, sizes, shapes and angles of things. I am seeing the angle of her leg, this direction, the leg she is standing on this direction, an arm here, and I am making real light notes right now, because I am not sure where this is going.

Okay, I am liking the direction and the things I have happening now, so now I am going to start studying negative shapes. I have the proportions the way I like it. I have learned that about studying and getting the negative shapes accurate, the rest of it takes place, takes care of itself, the proportions and the shapes of the legs.

Sketch Negative Space

So I am not going to draw legs right now. Right now I am going to draw the space between the legs. I am going to study that real good, I have a knee here, but I am not thinking knee, I am just thinking the shape and the angles and the distance between the legs. I know that if I get that right, everything else is going to look right. I am pretty happy so far with the shape and the design of everything, so now I am going to start zeroing in on certain areas and doing a little bit of shading.

Establish Light and Dark in the Drawing

First I am going to establish my light wherever I want the sunlight to hit and it will create some shadows. Okay, I am going to shade with contours, instead of shading this way, I am going to create lines that go around the arm like this and there is also going to be some lighter ones on this side creating a highlight effect here down the center of the arm.

Whether you are painting or drawing, contour lines show you the angle and the roundness of the muscles. Again, I want to focus on when I am drawing, studying my photograph over and over, looking constantly at my photograph, studying the negative shapes, studying the light, leaving.

If I am drawing with pencil, I want to leave the light areas light, white, and I want to shade on the dark areas, and then using contour shading instead of linear shading, if I shade the contours, then the muscles and the form comes into view. And that’s how you draw the human figure.

About videos are made available on an "as is" basis, subject to the User Agreement.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.