Draw people – the male figure


Draw people – the male figure. It is time to put to good use what you have learnt in these tutorials figure drawing and drawing the human figure.

In this tutorial I will take you STEP by STEP through the creation of the proportioned male figure seen in a front, rear and side view. We’ll start with a simple vertical line and move on building all the elements necessary to construct a proportioned human drawing.

Draw people – Let’s get started

So we will be drawing three male figures standing, one seen from the front, one from the rear and a side view. If you want to know how the final result is going to be go to the second part of the tutorial.

To start off draw three vertical lines well spaced from one another, like in the image below. Simple enough so far, but it’ll get a bit more complicated soon 🙂

We are going to draw a male figure based on a eight heads subdivision as you can see here so I want you to divide the lines in eight identical parts each. It is convenient to start from the middle, divide the main line in two and each half in two again and in two each resulting subdivision until you have exactly eight same length segments on each main line.

Now remember that each segment represents one head so by doing this you have not only determined essential landmarks but also determined the size of the head of your character.

Draw people – body width and bones

At this stage before moving into drawing the bones of your character you have to decide how wide your character shoulders are going to be. The wider the more athletic and heroic the look.

A reasonable measure is 2 and a half heads for the frontal and rear views and approximately one head for the side, as I have drawn in red in the image underneath. So go ahead and carefully determine the width of your character.

You’ll notice I started the red box at approximately one head and one third of a head. You’ll see why in a second.

At this point you have almost all you need to start placing the bone structure of the character however there are first another two critical landmarks that I encourage you to find. One is the level of the shoulders which is approximately at one and a third head down from the top. The second landmark is the hip level which is approximately at three and a half heads from the top.

Notice the other landmarks. The chin is exactly at one head, at the level of the second head there are the nipples of the chest and the navel is the the third head. At this level you’ll also have the elbows. The middle point coincides with the crutch and at the level of the sixth head you have the bottom of the knees.

As shown in the image below, take note of these points and start building the simplified skeleton of the character starting from the head.

Draw people – building up volumes

From this point onward it should become easier because we have already determined all the main landmarks of the body. Draw the bottle shaped chest volume. It looks like an elongated ball if you want. It starts from the SHOULDER level and ends approximately at the bottom of the third head.

Look at the sketch below for reference. Connect the hips to the middle point. This does not correspond to any anatomical structure but it is a very convenient way to figure where the legs should start.

There is not a simple way to represent the complicated structure of the pelvic bone so for now we are going to be happy just approximating its shape using the aforementioned trick.

Finally draw the shoulders using two balls. These should fit snuggly within the body width box we have drawn before.

In this next image start placing the main joints of the arms and legs using the landmarks created before dividing the line in eight parts. Elbows at the level of the third head and wrists at the level of the midline.

Knee just above the sixth head line and ankles just above the bottom line.

I have drawn in RED the position of the FEMORAL bone inside the leg for your reference. We won’t use it here because I think it is confusing instead we will immediately draw the cylinders of the arms and legs that have pretty much the same shape from every direction.

Draw people – Complete the drawing of the male figure

Once the joints are established (easy!) it is time to build the cylinders of arms and forearms, and the legs and forelegs. Do the same also for the side and back view.

I have already tried to give the cylinders a more organic shape but you do not have to, you’ll work on the organic shape as a final pass of the drawing. Moreover learning the proper shapes of the body parts is a different chapter altogether. The point of this tutorial is to allow you to draw a proportionate male figure from scratch using only internal references.

Draw people – making it organic

The final step consists of re-tracing your puppet to give it an organic look. Now as I said this is a completely different skill set however it doesn’t hurt trying. Obviously you’ll have to delete the construction lines and try to keep a fluid drawing motion approximating the forms of the body. Use the image below as a reference.

This is the first step in the direction of learning how to draw people, we hope you found this tutorial helpful. Feel free to upload your result drawing and leave a comment below.

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Vince is the founder of the Drawing Factory. Everything you see here which is not marked differently has been done by him. Besides a great love for drawing Vince is passionate about everything related to art and he has a mission to make you a better artist!