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A Step-by-Step Guide On How To Draw A Person (Video Tutorials + Tips For Budding Artists)

Illustration of a male person — photo used in the "How To Draw A Person" blog post.​

Did you know that there are 206 bones and more than 600 muscles in the human body?

While these numbers might sound intimidating when it comes to drawing a person, we’re here to break down and simplify the process for budding artists like you!

We asked the BioWars artist Gonçalo Lopes to create a video tutorial to help you learn how to draw a person with ease.

To better follow Gonçalo’s instructions, make sure to download this how-to-draw-a-person sheet.

And if you’d like to learn how to draw your character in 3D, once you tackle the basics, check out this tutorial:

In addition, we also created a step-by-step tutorial with pictures explaining the process of how to draw a person. Learning how to do it can come in handy when creating your own comic book characters, whether they’re fully human or hybrid creatures with superpowers.

We’ll cover the step-by-step process of how to draw a human, plus share the tools you’ll need and expert hacks to help you along the way.

Let’s get started!

Read the Biowars comic book!

How To Draw A Person: Tools You’ll Need

While a pencil is a fundamental tool for any artist, a regular pencil isn’t enough to help you draw a realistic person.

Why?

Because a regular pencil limits your shading ability and only allows you to reach certain darkness.

Here are the tools you’ll need to draw a person:

  • H pencil: Used for drawing the lightest lines, like basic shapes and outlines
  • HB pencil: Used for simple sketching or when drawing more intricate details
  • 4B pencil: A great choice for darker shading or when you need to make your drawing more realistic
  • Kneaded eraser: Used to highlight and blur edges while erasing highlighting mediums such as graphite
  • Ruler: Used for drawing straight lines
  • Sketch paper: Perforated paper used for practice drawing – a lighter version of drawing paper

Meet the characters from the Bioverse!

Using The Grid Method To Get Accurate Proportions

Creating and maintaining accurate body proportions may be the most challenging part of drawing a person.

In fact, a 2016 study found that non-artists draw the eyes too high when they base the position just off of observation.

You can use the grid method to get the proportions right even if you’re just starting out as an artist.

The Grid Method

The grid method consists of vertical and horizontal lines on your paper that form a grid of equal ratio.

A grid allows you to see the proportions of your drawing in real time and breaks down your drawing into smaller segments. The grid ensures that the area you’re working on is placed in the correct section of the canvas.

For example, a grid can help you determine if one arm is longer than the other arm.

Illustration of the grid method. Image used in the "How To Draw A Person" blog post.

The grid method consists of horizontal and vertical lines that ensure your drawing achieves all the right proportions.

How To Draw a Person In 9 Steps

From ensuring accurate body proportions to adding final touches, here are nine steps to follow when drawing a person.

Step #1: Measure The Height Of The Person

To define the height and dimensions of your person, draw a vertical line using your ruler, then divide it into eight equal sections.

For example, let’s say the figure you want to draw is 16cm tall.

To find the midpoint of your figure, use your ruler to make a mark at 8cm. From there, you can start dividing your vertical line into eight horizontal sections, which would be every 2cm.

Once you have eight equal sections, you can start allocating a body part to each section:

  • Section 1: Head
  • Section 2: Arms, torso, shoulders and ribcage
  • Section 3: Arms
  • Section 4: Arms and pelvis
  • Section 5: Thighs
  • Section 6: Knees
  • Section 7: Lower legs
  • Section 8: Feet

Sectioning this way helps ensure your body proportions end up looking realistic.

Male basic proportions. Image used in the "How To Draw A Person" blog post.​

Segment your figure into eight equal sections to get accurate proportions for each body part ​

Step #2: Draw The Head & Map Out Facial Features

Now that you have each section mapped out, you can begin drawing your person. Start from the top and work your way down.

Draw an upside-down egg shape on your paper and divide it into quarters by drawing a vertical line down the center of the head, which will divide the two halves of your person’s face.

Next, draw a horizontal line halfway between the top of the head and chin. You can draw the eyes here later on.

To mark the eyebrows, add a line midpoint above the eyes.

To mark the nose and ears, add another horizontal line, halfway between the line that separated the face into two and the bottom of the chin.

For the mouth, add one more horizontal line between the nose and chin.

Want to learn how to draw a face? Check out our tutorial!

Step #3: Draw The Ribcage & Pelvis

Once the head has been drawn and a body part is allocated in each section, it’s time to draw the ribcage and pelvis.

First, draw your figure’s ribcage by drawing an egg-like shape that spans from the shoulder to the navel.

At the top of the ribcage, leave a small opening for the neck by drawing a small ellipse or a flat oval. At the bottom, form the arch of your ribcage by drawing an inverted “V.”

One-third of the way down the rib cage, draw the pelvis in a similar shape to a bucket, with the same length as the ribcage. Outline a “U” shape in the front of the pelvis to mark the abdomen, which you’ll work on later.

Step #4: Draw The Legs

Draw a short line that slants down from each side of the pelvis to form the hip joints. For the thighs, continue to draw the line slanting down on each side, slightly coming in to meet each other.

The bottom of the knees should end just above the seventh section. The seventh section should be comprised of the lower legs, including the calves.

For the feet, draw isosceles triangles as your foundation. When drawing the toes, draw a sideward “U” to represent each toe. Just remember that the big toe should be bigger than the other toes!

Step #5: Draw The Arms

Begin by drawing the shoulders with inverted right triangles connected to the ribcage. You can define the shoulders and make them look more realistic by darkening the line edges.

Next are the arms. Draw a line from the shoulder that connects and drops down to the elbow, which is located at the bottom of the third section.

For the forearms, continue drawing a line from the elbow all the way down to the wrist, which should be placed at the bottom of the fourth section.

Connect the hands to the forearms using oblong shapes that will form the fingers and palm.

Need help drawing comic book characters? Read this guide!

Step #6: Draw The Limbs

Start drawing the legs from the thigh area.

To draw the thigh, draw a curve facing downwards and form a tube that reaches the midpoint between sections five and six, just above the kneecaps.

Ensure that the thighs are thicker than the lower part of the legs or calves.

Next are the kneecaps which will serve as the boundary between the thigh and calves.

Fill in the kneecaps using oblong shapes and as you go down the calves, ensure that the tubes become narrower as they reach the ankle.

For the arms, make sure that they become thinner as they approach the wrists.

Step #7: Fill In The Facial Features

In step two, you provided a foundation for each facial feature. Now it’s time to draw them!

Begin with the eyes, then follow with the nose, eyebrows, mouth, ears and hair.

Step #8: Add The Details

Use thin lines to highlight bony landmarks of the body such as the kneecaps and clavicle, and curves to emphasize muscle or fat.

Draw the muscle in the inner thigh to indicate that it overlaps with the other muscles in the leg area.

Add curves in the inner side of the calves to show the muscles and add the curves that are positioned outside for the ankles to emphasize a bone structure.

Step #9: Remove Unnecessary Lines & Shade In Your Drawing

Use a kneaded eraser to remove the horizontal and vertical lines you used in the first step to divide the body into eight sections.

When you’re finished with your drawing, shade the skin (such as the inner calves and arms) and hair using your 4B pencil to make the person look more realistic.

Want to know what it takes to make a comic book? Find out here!

How To Draw A Person: Tips And Tricks

Here are five tips and tricks from our comic book artists to help you create a realistic drawing of a human person.

1. Start With Basic Poses

Before diving into more complex poses, you can start drawing a person in their basic poses such as standing or sitting.

If you’re ready for more advanced poses, you can start by learning how people hold their bodies naturally or how their hair falls a certain way. To do this, observe people when they’re walking, sitting or performing other poses. This can help you understand posture, facial expressions and more.

2. Practice Your Drawing Skills Using Portraits

Practicing with a portrait helps you sharpen your skills, because a still reference allows you to study the subject for as long as you need.

A portrait also helps you learn aesthetically pleasing poses, which you can implement when you’re ready to draw a person on your own.

3. Use Basic Shapes As A Starting Point

Use triangles, cylinders and spheres to set up the basics of your human body. This can help you accurately place body parts and keep sizes and proportions in check, until you can go back and fill in the features.

4. Sketch Before Drawing

Sketching can help you familiarize yourself with different body positions and also help you capture the mood and overall feeling of the pose you want.

Do you want the person in your drawing to wave his hand? Or should your person’s facial expression be sad and forlorn?

This method will require a lot of trial and error (and erasing, but that’s part of the process!

Want to create your own character? These 7 character creation software are for you!

Key Takeaways On How To Draw A Human

In order to make a realistic and accurate drawing of a human, it’s important to focus on getting the proportions right before fixating on the smaller details such as defining the muscles.

The secret to drawing a human body you’re proud of? Take your time mastering each step and be consistent with practicing.

We hope that this tutorial will help you advance in your journey of creating your own original comic book character!