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Learn to Draw the Human Figure - Parts of the Body

Figure Drawing Lessons - Part 2


When starting out on figure drawing, artists traditionally had to draw from casts - a foot, a hand, a face - before being allowed to work on a real figure. A great deal of time was spent studying small details. You might be keen to tackle the big drama of the figure study, but spending time working on the detials will make your major drawings much more successful. This is particularly useful for students who have access to a life class - time spent working on hands and feet when away from class will allow you to get maximum value out of time with your model.

Structure of the Human Head
Learn how to draw the classic proportions of the human head. Everone is a tiny bit different, but once you need to get confident with the basic structure before you tackle detail. Just read page one of this article to start with. For more detail on the technique, take a look at the Ron Lemen tutorial link near the bottom of the text.

Homework:Practice constructing heads using the method shown. Don't get too involved in detail, just work on constructing a three-dimensional nose, and placing the eyes and mouth in correct alignment with the plane of the face.

Learn to Draw Hands
The complexity and mobility of hands can make them a daunting subject, often the most clumsily drawn part of a figure drawing. Read this lesson for a simplified approach to drawing hands. Spend plenty of time practicing hands - you have your own to practice on! Fill pages with hand studies like these.

How to Draw Eyes
Apprentices in the Master's studio would spend hours (when not painstakingly grinding pigments) doing studies of eyes. Read this article, then ask a friend to pose (or use a mirror, or magazine photos) and do your own page of eyes from every angle. Practice drawing pairs of eyes, especially at an angle, being sure to align them correctly on the face.

Learn to Draw Hair
Hair is an important part of a person, and poorly handled hair diminishes an otherwise well-drawn figure. This tutorial focuses on quite detailed pencil drawing, but the principle of looking at the darks and lights works equally well when handled briskly, or when using charcoal. Try it and see. (Be sure to read all 3 pages.)

That's all for now! More figure drawing lessons will be online in May 2004.

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