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How to Draw a Person

Drawing a person can be challenging, even for experienced artists. Getting the proportions of the human body right can be tricky, and sometimes it’s just hard to know where to start. Fortunately, whether you want to draw a realistic person or a cartoon, there are some simple tricks you can use to sketch the basic outline of a person. Then, you can make minor adjustments depending on what kind of person you want to draw.


EditDrawing a Realistic Person

  1. Draw a vertical line and divide it into 8 equal sections. Each section will be equal to 1 head length, which is the length of your person’s head from top to bottom. Generally, adult figures are 8 head lengths tall, so marking this on your paper at the beginning will help you keep the proportions of your drawing right.[1]
    Draw a Person Step 1 Version 3.jpg
    • Draw horizontal lines to divide up the vertical line, and keep in mind that the top horizontal line will be the top of your person’s head and the bottom line will be the bottom of your person’s feet.
    • If you want to draw a child, divide the vertical line into fewer head lengths since children are generally shorter than adults. For example, use 3 head lengths for a toddler, or use 6 for a 10-year old.
  2. Sketch rough outlines of the different parts of the body. Use the head lengths you marked on the paper to help you with the proportions. Make sure you include rough outlines for the head, arms, body, and legs. Don’t worry about making the shapes precise yet since this is just a rough sketch.[2]
    Draw a Person Step 2 Version 3.jpg
    • The outline of the head should fall within the top head length section.
    • The outlines of the person’s body and arms should start in the second head length section and extend down to the fourth section.
    • The outlines of the legs should take up the lower 4 head length sections.
  3. Connect and refine the outlines of the different parts of the body. Trace around the outer edges of the body to connect the different outlines so they flow together seamlessly. At this point, you can start adjusting the proportions of the body to make it look more masculine or feminine, depending on what you’re going for.[3]
    Draw a Person Step 3 Version 3.jpg
    • If you want to draw a person with masculine features, broaden the shoulders, chest, and waist, and also take in the hips so they’re narrower. In general, use more angular lines as you define the outline of your drawing.
    • To draw a person with feminine features, narrow the shoulders and chest area, and broaden the hips and thighs. Try to use rounder, softer lines to outline your figure.
  4. Add in smaller details, like the hands and facial features. You should also sketch the outlines of the feet, hair, and knees. If you’re drawing a person with feminine features, add breasts and round out the hips and thighs. For a person with masculine features, define the muscles on the stomach, chest, and arms.[4]
    Draw a Person Step 4 Version 3.jpg
    • At this point, the person's body should be finished.
  5. Draw clothes over the person’s body. You can get creative with this part. Try drawing different styles and cuts of shirts, pants, shoes, and accessories. For a more feminine look, you can draw a dress or a skirt over your figure. To draw clothes, simply sketch them where they would naturally fall on the person’s body if they were wearing them. Then, erase any parts of the body inside the outlines of the clothes since those areas would be covered up.[5]
    Draw a Person Step 5 Version 3.jpg
  6. Erase any unnecessary lines and shade in your drawing. Go in and erase the vertical and horizontal lines you drew at the beginning to mark the head length sections. You should also erase any outline sketches from earlier that don’t belong in the final drawing. When you’re finished, shade the clothes, skin, and hair to make the person look more realistic and three-dimensional.[6]
    Draw a Person Step 6 Version 3.jpg

EditDrawing a Cartoon Person

  1. Draw an oval and divide it into 4 equal sections. This will be the head of your cartoon person. Make the head bigger than you would for a realistic-looking person since cartoons usually have exaggerated proportions. Use a horizontal and vertical line to divide the oval into 4 equal parts.[7]
    Draw a Person Step 7 Version 3.jpg
    • The horizontal and vertical lines in the oval will help you draw the face on your cartoon person later on.
  2. Draw a cylinder for the neck and a rectangle for the torso. Draw the neck so it’s coming out of the bottom center of the oval. Then, draw a rectangle coming off the bottom of the neck to make your cartoon person’s torso.[8]
    Draw a Person Step 8 Version 2.jpg
    • If you want to draw a cartoon person with feminine features, make the top of the rectangle narrower and the bottom of the rectangle wider.
    • To draw a cartoon person with masculine features, broaden the top of the rectangle and make the bottom narrower.
  3. Draw cylinders for the arms and legs and circles for the knees and elbows. You should draw 2 cylinders for each arm and leg and have 1 circle in between each pair. The circles will be the outlines of the joints in your drawing. You can position the arms and legs depending on what your cartoon person is doing, but generally, the arms should extend out of upper corners of the torso and the legs should extend down off of the bottom.[9]
    Draw a Person Step 9 Version 3.jpg
  4. Outline the hands and feet. Draw an outline of a hand at the end of each arm. Then, draw the outline of a foot at the end of each leg. Don’t worry about making them precise. You can go back in later and fine-tune them.[10]
    Draw a Person Step 10 Version 3.jpg
  5. Draw the face and hair. For the face, draw the eyes on the horizontal line and the mouth and nose on the vertical line. Since you’re drawing a cartoon and not a realistic person, exaggerate the eyes by making them bigger than the rest of the facial features. When you draw the hair, have the hairline start slightly lower than the top of the head.[11]
    Draw a Person Step 11 Version 3.jpg
    • Get creative with the hairstyle you choose. You can give your person a simple short hair hairstyle, or you can try drawing long or curly hair.
  6. Draw clothes on the cartoon person’s body. Just like with the hair, it’s up to you what kind of clothes you want to draw. You can try drawing a short or long sleeve shirt, shorts or pants, a dress, a skirt, or any other outfit you’d like. Also, don’t forget to draw shoes and include any accessories you want your cartoon person to be wearing.[12]
    Draw a Person Step 12 Version 3.jpg
    • After you draw the clothes, erase anything that’s inside the outlines of the clothing pieces since those parts of your cartoon person’s body would be covered up.
  7. Smooth out the lines in your drawing and erase any unnecessary lines. Trace around the outside of your drawing to connect all of the outlines you drew earlier. Then, go in and erase any lines that fall within that outline, including the horizontal and vertical lines on the face.[13]
    Draw a Person Step 13.jpg
    • After you erase all of the background lines in your drawing, you’re finished!
  8. Finished.
    Draw a Person Final.jpg

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