5 Tips to Drawing People for Beginners

5 Tips to Drawing People for Beginners

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For artists who are just beginning, drawing people can seem like a big step. This is why it is so important that you take it. Though it is not guaranteed to be easy, learning to draw people is a right of passage.

Even if you choose not to stick with it, you will be glad that you took the time. This is an excellent way to refine your craft overall. You can build valuable skills that will help you in the long run.

Many people are intimidated by the idea of drawing people. However, it is not as impossible as you might think. Just like with any kind of drawing, you will need to practice.

This can help you to become a better artist and is a fun thing to experiment with. There are many different ways to draw people, so remember to make it your own.

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1. Consider Your Art Style

No two people have the same art style. For beginners, there is generally a period of drawing like other people. This is an effective way to learn. Mirroring the art styles or other artists is great for helping you practice drawing what you see before you.

This can help unearth your style and can give you plenty of practice. However, art style can have a significant impact on how you draw.

For people who prefer to draw portraits, their people will likely have very specific traits. They will likely have more definition and more real-world focus. However, for a person who is drawing anime, the people will likely look completely different.

While both are correct in their own right, comparing them isn?t necessarily fair. When you begin to draw people, think about what kind of people you want to draw as a start. This will help you to stay true to brand and manage your techniques over time.

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(Left) A more realistically rendered style (Right) Anime style drawn by the super talented and my fellow illustrator @jennifer.greive

2. Think About Face Proportions

Face proportions can make an image of a person realistic or unrealistic when you draw them. A key to drawing people successfully is getting these proportions done correctly. Making sure that a person?s eyes are not in their forehead can help you end with the image that you want. Learning the relationship between key facial features can lead to more realistic drawings.

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Sketch showing how to place the eyes correctly on the head. Know where the brow line, eye line, and centerline fall on the head to accurately place the eyes.

From an artistic perspective, learning to manipulate these is also a valuable tool. Artists tend to make eyes wider and more vulnerable. They can also highlight key features to make a point. This is especially effective when you are drawing in a more original or cartoon-like capacity. It lets you spotlight what you want to on your characters with purpose.

3. Start with Basic Poses

Before you can learn to run, you must first learn how to walk. Drawing people well means learning to recreate body poses. However, some are simply easier than others. You will want to start with basic poses before you jump into anything too crazy.

It is easier to draw someone standing than it is to draw them in a complex action pose. Consider these basic poses as a starting point for your process.

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By getting a strong grasp of basic poses like the standing position and sitting position, you?ll be able to draw more variations of poses easier.

Learning the way people hold their bodies naturally will help you to understand them in more complex settings. If you know the way a person?s hair falls in a certain way, you have a better idea of what motion can do to it. This is true with other body poses, so start small and build your way. This will help you solidify the basics, which will strengthen your skills over time.

If you enjoy these tips and want 10 tips to help you draw people, click here.

4. Sketch Out Body Poses Before You Begin Drawing

A great way to perfect drawing people is to practice with their body poses alone. Before you put your character into an obscure position, sketch out what their body pose is. This doesn?t have to be what you carry into a final draft. However, it will help you work out some of the more technical details before you move forward with the drawing.

Roughly sketching body poses is a great way to familiarize yourself with drawing people. It is helpful to learn the basic shapes and positions a person might be composted of. This will act as a basis for your process when you begin more complex drawings. Knowing how your person will be formed will help you to visualize where the details fall.

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Start with stick figures to ger down the pose you want. Next, add form and shape to the figure. Then refine. You?ll do a lot of erasing in this process and that?s okay!

5. Analyze Where Shadows Naturally Fall

A point of particular interest when drawing people is the use of shadows. For most images, shadows will define the image as much as the details will. Using shadows effectively can change the tone of a drawing and make it look more realistic.

Unless someone holds a flashlight in your face at a perfect angle, you will have shadows. To make more realistic drawings of people, you must understand how lighting impacts the source and work from there.

Shadows are a great tool for bringing realism to any drawing. It shows your audience that you know how the person would look in reality. This is a great way to help your subject interact with the world around them.

It can also help you to add more depth to an image by implying there is more than the traditional surface. This is a great way to practice a valuable drawing skill. Shadows are always going to be a relevant part of anything that you decide to create.

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(Left) Figure with no shadows (Right) Shadows added. Notice how much life and impact you get by adding shadows to your figure.

If you enjoy these tips and want 10 tips to help you draw people, click here.


Drawing people can seem like a scary thing to do, but you are absolutely up to the challenge. With any kind of new art technique, there will be a period of learning and total failure. Your job as the artist is to never get discouraged and to keep practicing.

Even though your first few attempts might be complete disasters, over time you will learn. Don?t be afraid to mess up and continue experimenting until you find what is right for you. There is no right way to create art, so don?t force yourself to do it someone else?s way.

You are more capable than you might think, so don?t shy away from the hard stuff. You can skip hands and feet for now, but come back to them later. Practicing the various techniques involved with drawing people is a great way to become a better artist.

Over time, these skills will help you to refine your craft and may lead you to your art style. Try any of these tips to see if it helps you, and it doesn?t try something else. There are always more ways for you to learn and grow.

What is the toughest thing for you to draw?


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