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life drawing 5 by algaegoblin
'Life Drawing 5' by algaegoblin

Do you know how to sketch human figures but do you want to refine your anatomy skills? Or do you not know anatomy at all and you are tired to trust your imagination? Did you notice you create disproportions in your drawings?
If you are aspiring artists and you already have your own style, you might as well believe you have no need of a guide, but you are wrong. Before exaggerating human proportions and begin to have your own style, you first have to know the basics. 
This little guide is the result of an accurate research and 5 years of high school of art, and it's created for all those who want to learn something new or just make a useful review.
For those who have already studied art, my suggestion is to go to step 6 or trying to repeat all steps in Digital format. 


First of all, if you want to learn faster you should draw using traditional tools.  It may seem a stupid or banal rule but it is not. 
You will need a piece of paper and a pencil, preferably a medium-hard pencil or HB ("H" stands for "hardness," while "B" stands for "blackness"). If you  have already familiarity with this hard drawing medium you could obtain different soft pencils instead: B, 2B and 4B will be fine. A putty rubber and a white rubber from a good brand will work fine. 
However, I'm not here to describe which tools are better for drawing traditionally, and for me a hoe would work fine as well: it's the passion that counts!

My tools by thepunisherone

 Now that you have a pencil and F4 paper (F2 is less thick and if you erase often you could ruin it, that's why F4 is ideal) you can start your work. You can also make out with A4 paper which is thicker than normal,  otherwise you will pass the sheet if you use a hard mine (or if your hand is too heavy, if you know what I mean...). 
Well, now that you have the tools, sharpener included, get in a bright spot of your house, preferably on an inclined surface (otherwise your future drawing will look in perspective, and you may not be happy with the result!) and copy the hand your not using for drawing. Try not to erase too much. Try to grasp the structure of your hand through many sketches in which you should only draw the outlines of your hand and fingers, you should forget about the shading for a moment. 
Fill the paper with these sketches of your hand in different poses and please include your wrist if you can. Continue your workout every 2/3 days (preferably daily) for 2 weeks, what am I saying?  Do it until you could see significant improvements! 
Write the date on each work you have done and keep them carefully without rubbing them. The first step to be a good artist is to give value to your works. When the hand really looks like a hand and not a mass of sausages then you're ready for Step 2.

The result will be similar to this, only the folds of flesh and contours of the hands should be visible.

Hand proportions work this way...
Hand Tutorial -Tips+Reference- by Qinni Hand Tutorial 2 by Qinni


So now we better move to the second point. Ok guys, do you remember your own hand? That hand you copied so many times, that fist, that cramp that came while you deformed it? Here you are, you should repeat the procedure but this time you will not have to copy only the outlines of your fingers. You must work hard and point on your hand the dramatic light of a lamp, because this time you should draw your hand and shade it. 
If you are drawing using a HB  pencil then shade using a B or 2B. You will realize soon that it is not so difficult to find the darkest points: the hard part is not to make the whole drawing uniformly black or uniformly gray and creating well balanced halftones. 
You may find some difficulties, yeah right! all normal, because in fact you're seeing your hand in colors (as long as you're not color blind) and you're just simplifying your hand colors using the greyscale instead. So, don't give up! It was hard for everyone at the beginning.
Repeat this exercise every 2/3 days until you can see a clear difference between the first hand  (remember to write the date on the drawings!) and the last hand you drew. Are you satisfied with your improvemente?  Good, because you will have more fun following STEP 3. 

These are practical examples of a good result.
Hand anatomy by Elthenstorm 


Since you are already conversant with your left hand (or right that it is) and you say you know it by heart (if you say so...), now I'm asking you to take your colored pencils and do an experiment. This time I'm asking you NOT to do a preliminary sketch in pencil of your drawing: just draw one or both of your feet, using colored pencils only on semi rough paper F4 of different colors (I recommend a white, a grey, a blue and a black for a good start). Again, do not stop until the result satisfies you. Write the date on the work because now the interesting part begins.
The result should be similar to this, of course in colors.

Feet proportions works this way...
+TUTORIAL-Feet drawing guide+ by goku-no-baka


Now that you have experimented with various techniques and you quite understand how your hands and feet are made, you need a model for understanding how the face works. 
Ask one of your friends, your parents, if nobody wants to pose for you then use a picture (but it's always better to do life drawings first!). As tools you will need a ballpoint pen, preferably black or blue, and a white smooth paper (A4 copy paper is fine too). Now make a copy of the person in front of you (face, neck and shoulders), and remember well that you can not/must not erase this time! Yes, I'm evil. Try to do several sessions of the same person until the drawing is really similar to the original and recognizable from others. 
Begin with a front and profile view, then try out 3/4. 
'Portraits 2' by ArandaDill

The proportions of the human face work this way...
Face Proportion by endzi-z Profile Proportion by endzi-z


It 's time to understand how the human proportions work. A tip? Never stop taking references from the human figure (as long as you're learning) or you will make a lot of mistakes or exaggerate many anatomical features without even noticed it! 
Now use your live model of choice, or look in fashion magazines and copy a full human figure in different poses, focusing on lines, shading, dynamism and execution speed.
To improve your speed you should first start with 15 minutes poses, then reduce the time to 10 minutes and 5 minutes at last. Use a timer: leave the drawing unfinished and start another one when the time elapses. 
Do many of them, every day. 

The results should be something like this...
Life Drawing Collage 4 by travelingpantscg
'Life Drawing Collage 4' by travelingpantscg

figures 8 by Luthie13 .Life Drawing 2010: 5 Mins. by hino-kitLife drawing 2010 by jeffsimpsonkh
Figure Workshop 13 by JerrySabatini Figure Set 1 by ethician
Figure Studies: 1 by beavotron life drawing: 5 minutes by scaragh
figures 3 by Luthie13 figures 5 by Luthie13
some figure drawing by Luthie13 some more figure drawing by Luthie13
Figure Drawing Collage by JillJohansenFigure studies. by RoscoeFink
Life Drawing Collage 3 by travelingpantscg
life drawing 042511 by bigbigtruckLife Drawing at CDA 3 pt2 by reiq

If you didn't understand how the anatomy works, you can study some good tutorials for the human body...
Arm Anatomy by Azot2014 Trunk Anatomy by Azot2014
Man Anatomy by Azot2014
 General Body Tutorial by shark-bomb


The time has came. It is time to finish something guys! You should be really excited: you reached execution speed and some anatomy skills but you lack accuracy.
Use your awesome live model again and ask him to pose for a longer session (2/3 hours minimum). Use the tools you like the most, sit comfortably, tools in the hand and start your session.
Here are some good results you may find inspiring.
Prenda XXVII by napoleoman old man_figure drawing by michalivan
12hr figure drawing by infernovball Life drawing:  A sitting by thienbao

I really hope you will find this journal useful and I really hope you enjoyed the journey. ^^ 
Ps: Sorry my English is not my mothertongue. 

Add a Comment:
mario9312 Featured By Owner 3 days ago
ma grazie a questa guida riuscirò anche a disegnare pose dalla mia immaginazione? comunque complimenti per la guida :)
SirWendigo Featured By Owner 3 days ago  Professional Digital Artist
Una volta che sai l'anatomia puoi metterla in pratica, quindi sì.
mario9312 Featured By Owner 8 hours ago
grazie per la risposta :)
Jenpendragon Featured By Owner May 12, 2015  New member
Thank you :) 
Hinata-Wolf77 Featured By Owner May 1, 2015   General Artist
Thanks for this.
UZUMASHI Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks a lot for sharing, it's really helpful, so I'm gonna practice now ! 
Lixiee Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2015
not done with thus tutoriol thing , im reading trough the thing before doing it and im on step 3 , but i wonder when u say ''Continue your workout every 2/3 days (preferably daily) for 2 weeks'' what do you mean? do you mean i should do it 2-3 times every day in 2 weeks or 2-3 times each week in two weeks?
SirWendigo Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
'You should draw every 2 or 3 days, but preferably daily for 2 weeks.'
Means you should practice every day, not 2 or 3 times a day, but if you do is nice anyway. :D
RoshaneIngram Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2015
Love this 
CommanderFluffFluff Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2015  New member Hobbyist Traditional Artist
amazing, thank you
GoodGuyRychard Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2015  Hobbyist Artist
this is extremely helpful, thank you for posting this, seriously.
WolfCrestSox5X Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you for this tutorial!!!!
dixiekasilke Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Nothing wrong with your English! and thanks for a cracking, re-assuring tutorial! :nod: :star:
neophobica Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Great guidelines! thank you for sharing :hug:
sebyZart Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2015   Writer
This is my bible from right now. Thank you so much! Heart 
the-absolutus Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I it come in useful, thanks.
Mabelyad Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2014
These lessons are very useful! And your english is good too! Thanks so much babe, keep IMPROVING! ;D
Mabelyad Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2014
This lessons are very useful, and your english is good too! Thanks so much babe, keep improving! :D
SuzumeMizuno Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2014
This is amazing!! Thank you so much!!
SafiriaBloodFlower Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
This seems like it's going to be really helpful :) Thanks for posting! 
VaneFox Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2014  Professional Filmographer
The idea of absolutely HAVING to use traditional is unfair.
acidarteries Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2014  Student Digital Artist
well, you don't necessarily have to. it's just a strong really do learn it faster IMO.
VaneFox Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2014  Professional Filmographer
Yeah I get that a lot. I guess I'll have to use traditional a little more. But I probs won't move past pencil and paper.
topcat-sama Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
May I ask why should one use a ballpoint pen for step 4 :? 
SirWendigo Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Because you shouldn't erase, plus you will learn how to use another medium. :)
Romanetor Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2014
j3f3r20n Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2014
This is one of the best things i've seen here in a while....Thank you so much for this, helps me a lot.
thelineking Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2014
Awesome, Thanks for sharing!
Catmanofthemoon29 Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2014  Student Artist
Amazing work, you are a master  D:
wanyabeach Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2014
great site im about to tackle anatomy
Annabells117 Featured By Owner May 26, 2014
You're a fabulous figurative artist! Thanks for sharing. 
Clareesi Featured By Owner May 17, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
You've inspired me. Thank you:)!
Sarebear16 Featured By Owner May 12, 2014  Student General Artist
Amazing and very Helpful, thank you so much!!
Amekuma92 Featured By Owner May 4, 2014
wooowww it's very helpful article.....thank you :happybounce: :happybounce: :happybounce: :happybounce: 
gottie Featured By Owner May 1, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
very good tips
Sumit92artist Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2014  Professional General Artist
A helpful article.... & a really good exercise...... Thank you so much :)
Warshin Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
Santo cielo, é una guida così dettagliata, ordinata e magnifica! Personalmente faccio schifo con l'anatomia, magari le mani e visi mi vengono ma il corpo... sono senza speranza. Ho visto che hai tradotto il tuo talento anche nei manga, il che ammiro molto. Complimenti, sono davvero felice che hai potuto sfruttare al massimo le tue doti, sia coi mezzi tradizionali che digitali.
SirWendigo Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Mi fa piacere che tu l'abbia trovata utile. :)
Sapere le basi di anatomia è importante per disegnare ma la pratica è ancora più importante.
Comunque non disegno manga.
Warshin Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
Non potrei concordare di più, solo con la pratica può un individuo migliorare le sue capacità, e scusa colpa mia, non riesco mai a distinguere disegni di gente in digitale con manga. Sono comunque bellissimi!
SirWendigo Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Grazie mille. :)
Eyra9 Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2014
Fantastic guide, I tried it out and loved it!
Diamond-Stud Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2014  Student
This is extremely helpful! :D
the-vinsomer Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Unf <3 Thank you <3
ishzark Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2014
Panjimas84 Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Eirenare Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2014
This is one of the most amazing anatomy tutorials that I´ve ever seen.

So this one goes to my folder dedicated to anatomy lessons and, well, drawing tutorials in general! ^^

Thanks for sharing this! Love it!
SirWendigo Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
I hope you'll find it useful.
Eirenare Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2014
It will be, indeed, since I need to train more drawing realistic bodies : )

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