How to Draw a Person

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You can learn to draw people.
You can learn to draw people. (Image: draw portrait pencils image by PinkShot from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>)

Are you a budding artist, or do you have some past drawing experience and want to get better? You can learn how to draw a person, both male and female. You first should focus on a full-body drawing, then move on to drawing faces.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper
  • 2B pencil (varying leads help with shading)
  • Eraser

Choose whether to draw a man or a woman, and select your style--realistic, cartoonish or something in between.

Establish the proportions of the drawings by setting the height of the person. Generally, people are six heads tall, so draw what you want the person's head size to be and then duplicate it five more times, drawing lightly on the paper so it will be easy to erase later.

Determine the type of person--skinny, muscular, heavy or average--and lightly draw in shapes to get an idea of what the body will look like, using squares, rectangles and cylinders. Again, use a light touch to get an idea of what the person's body type will look like while you are drawing the person so you can go back and erase later.

Indicate where the eyes, ears, noses, hands, elbows and feet will be. The elbows of a person, when they are just standing with their arms at their side, generally are at the waist. Pay attention to where the feet point.

Delve further into the details of the person you are drawing--big ears, small ears, big noses, small noses, wide faces, lean faces. Young, old, middle-aged? Male, female? If you are drawing a male, the lines should be a little thicker; if you are drawing a female, go lighter on the lines and give them more of a curvy touch to add femininity. If the person is older, go with heavy lines; if younger, go with a lighter touch.

Add shadows. If you are drawing from a subject, squint your eyes and pick up the depth of the shadows.

Draw the hair as a mass and add definitions. This also works with drawing clothes in terms of picking out where to highlight the folds on a person's elbow on a shirt and other things.

Sign your work.

Tips & Warnings

  • When drawing shadows, pay attention to the angle of the light.
  • Don't be afraid to erase. It rarely will be perfect the first time you do it.
  • Consider investing time in taking classes. Many are inexpensive and offered in many places.
  • Work on drawing basic body shapes first and then slowly include clothes.

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