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February 25, 2013
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Methods or drawing bodies?

:iconratchetjak:
RatchetJak Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2013
Well I admit that I do have some difficulties drawing out bodies. I mean, I do have a method and it gets me through well enough to produce a pose and such but generally, I do have a hard time so I was wondering what you artists do for drawing a fullbody, pose, etc.

I start but drawing the head and detailing it, then I draw a box-like object for the torso and a smaller box for the hips. Then i usually fit in everything. It works sometimes but it kind of makes my anatomy kind of wobbly at times. :/

So yeah, what method do you use? All examples are appreciated. :)
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Devious Comments

:iconyunonglu:
YunongLu Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2013
I sketch out the whole body by making a stick figure. Then adding shapes for the body+head. Then adding details in, it helped a lot for porptioninng.

Also studying the anatomy and learning to draw the real human body will help you a lot!
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:iconratchetjak:
RatchetJak Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2013
Ah sounds good! I think I'll try gathering a few stock poses, then try the stick figure meets shapes method. Thanks!
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:iconnarutokunobessed:
narutokunobessed Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2013  Student General Artist
Its actually best to study anatomy. Its a way to under stand the body differently, but in a scientific and accurate way. Really notice how the feet and arms actuall bend forward a bit while standing.

In a way, from those anatomical studies, you can come up with your own shapes and stuff. Sometimes a good shape is a comparison from real life such as the toes are like cars, the head and skull are eggs, the rib cage is an egg, the neck is a coat hanger, etc. The slope of the toe is a wind shield, the nail is the hood, and the fat on the sides are like fender. The car analogy is something that figure modeling taught me.

Its the same way with hands, only they are longer and not stubby.

Sometimes some drawing techniques are to draw boxes. It helps alot so you see all the perspective of the body as like some structural building and see that its a 3D form.

Or you can start with the contraposto lines which every one is talking about the lines for the torso, chest or neck.

Its also important to be loose, or do alot of gesture drawings, or basically getting the directions of the pose. Try posemaniacs, pixellovely, and quickpose, and do the timer. Its to get the basic form, not to be a complete picture.
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:iconratchetjak:
RatchetJak Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2013
I liked the car analogy and you are right, I'm currently taking those into suggestion with my next drawing. And I do use posemaniacs already but I'll give those other sites a try as well.
Thank you for the advice/tips. ^^
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:iconhexcodewhite:
hexcodewhite Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Not only should you work with gesture drawings/draw anatomy from observation, you should also consider expression. Watch movies and study the way that people communicate to each other by the way they're standing or the way they're sitting.

Pull up Posemaniacs and use their 30-second drawing tool. Set it to something like 60 seconds and just draw gestures over and over again. You'll begin building a small library of poses and images in your head, and you'll be learning by doing - the best way!
Watch some movies and take some screenshots of dynamic body language. Examine how people slump over when they're tired or bored, or how fluid their body is when they run. Considering body language helps "wake up" your drawings of people and keeps them from looking dull or lifeless.
**Practice gestures first and get comfortable with those before you look up body language; little easier that way. :)

Good luck!
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:iconratchetjak:
RatchetJak Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2013
That's a lot of good advice! I'll try that. I really like the movie idea. Sounds very fun so yes, I will give that try. Thanks again for the advice. :)
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:icondebit:
Debit Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Gesture drawings become important in more complicated poses. In this instance, you may have to start out with an arm, a leg, or the spine before the head. Boxes and circles have a limitation in that they cannot lay out the directions of the limbs, spinal contours, and the distribution of weight as well as lines and curves.

The hands and the feet are perhaps the most complicated to learn how to draw.
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:iconratchetjak:
RatchetJak Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2013
Yeah I know. I tried starting a drawing with the shoulder line but it felt to odd. I'm just too used to starting out with the head shape first. :/
And oh man, do I know how hard hands are to draw. They've plagued me forever...
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:icondebit:
Debit Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Even when drawing a more complicated pose, I think the head (the length of the head, to be more specific) is still useful as a 'measuring stick' to set relative proportions. Other 'measuring sticks' include the length of the upper arm, which roughly corresponds to the length between the shoulder and the waist. If foreshortening is involved, then this needs to be compensated for.

Spending a few semester in figure drawing classes is the most straightforward means of learning how to draw people using near-realistic proportions. Books (left-brain activity) on figure drawing do not make much sense until you have had first-hand experience (right-brain activity) in some figure drawing.
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:iconratchetjak:
RatchetJak Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2013
Yeah, I'm hoping the drawing class I plan to take will have include figure drawing as well. But nevertheless, thank you for the advice. :)
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:iconerick-fm:
Erick-FM Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
maybe try to thing of it more as a 3d object even if it is a 2d drawing, think of the muscles that are there, the bones, and how they function
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:iconratchetjak:
RatchetJak Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2013
Oh I actually do that. I think of the objects I use in my method as 3D and it helps at times. :)
But sometimes, my method can be tricky so I was just asking to see what other methods people do that maybe I could experiment with myself. ^^;
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:iconerick-fm:
Erick-FM Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
have try drawing simple lines structures for poses first and then adding muscles?
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:iconratchetjak:
RatchetJak Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2013
I'm sorry, I got a bit confused... Were you asking if I draw like a line-stick structure for poses, then adding in the flesh/muscles? Because if so, then yes I do that. :)
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:iconerick-fm:
Erick-FM Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
no, I added that later, first advice is to think about tridimentionality and second about drawing itself
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:iconratchetjak:
RatchetJak Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2013
I'm not familiar with tridimentionality... :o
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:iconerick-fm:
Erick-FM Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
me neither at first but it helps to start thinking that way, then you'll understand why colors change an lights appear, how muscles look in different angles. It also helps to take photos of the poses you want to draw or build a figure.
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:iconratchetjak:
RatchetJak Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2013
Ah I see. Well I will try to add that type of thinking to my art. :)
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(1 Reply)
:iconmisaera:
misaera Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2013  Student Digital Artist
I used to draw boxes/cylinders and stuff as a "skeleton" for the human body, but after a while I found that those methods make my pose look stiff (it just didn't work for me), and also I gradually got to the point where I didn't need to draw such extensive guidelines any more (to speed up my drawing process).

At the moment I just draw an action line [link] then start with the shoulderline, then head, torso, and the rest of the body. I find the neck down to hips the hardest part to draw in a dynamic pose, as when I do it it's either a/messed up anatomy or b/stiff as a rock.
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:iconratchetjak:
RatchetJak Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2013
Starting from the neck down huh? Yeah, I'm hearing it can help with proportions so I will try that with my next picture I plan on doing today. :)
Do you still use the shapes or you don't feel you need to anymore?
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:iconmisaera:
misaera Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Usually not. I only use the shapes when I'm stuck on a really weird perspective.
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:iconratchetjak:
RatchetJak Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2013
Ah okay lol
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:iconsiegeonthorstadt:
siegeonthorstadt Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2013
enough practice wins everything. draw the bodies the way that *you* want them to stand in, rather than how they *should* or would stand in the real life, and in the end it with enough practice it will all come together
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:iconratchetjak:
RatchetJak Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2013
Oh I know. :aww:
I'm just trying to find other ways that I can try out. I'm really hearing some cool advice. :)
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:iconyusakujon3:
YusakuJon3 Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
   Most of what I learned about drawing bodies came from Stan Lee's How To Draw Comics The Marvel Way.  There were illustrations by artist John Buscema which gives you important step-by-step diagrams of how it's done, from using a stick figure for basic posing and composition to the final steps of "fleshing out" details over a simplified arrangement of building blocks used for the figure itself.  He also showed alternate methods for drawing which involved scribbling lines that would be erased once the final steps were completed.

   My general method is to make the figure stand about 7.5 heads tall.  For younger children, the proportions are larger (5 or 6 heads), although "superheroic" proportions tend to be exaggerated (8 heads), but the rules are somewhat subjective depending on the style being used.

   To aid in making the figure's movement look realistic, I use some photographic references.  This helps to see what the major muscle groups are doing in relation to how the figure is moving (crouching, reaching out, jumping, etc), and how the clothes the subject is wearing may stretch and fold in response to the movement of the body undereath.  They also aid you in getting the highlights and shading correct (for instance, if the subject is being illuminated from behind).

   Finally, nothing beats practice.  It's one of the reasons that I've taken to doing what I call "traffic light sketches".  A quick sketch will help you pick out the pose that you want, and also enables you to spot areas which need improvement.
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:iconratchetjak:
RatchetJak Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2013
Thanks for that. :) I have seen the book before but never got it. ^^;
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:iconeienart:
Eienart Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2013
I do an extreamly ruff sketch of how it should look first. Mainly just a pose. For people who have a hard time doing anatomy, use reference for this step & do some reading on different facts too. Depending on you style you may want too adjust the proportions to you likings. IE 'realistic humans are about 7 heads tall.' for some of my characters they'll be 6.5 heads tall. After some time it will become automatic. After the pose then go for the detail =)
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:iconratchetjak:
RatchetJak Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2013
Ah I see. Yeah, I'm trying to go for a more cartoon like approach like :iconzombidj: or :iconoowhiplashoo: I love how simplistic yet unique type of anatomy on their characters. ^^
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:iconeienart:
Eienart Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2013
awesome! Those as your reference will be perfect =)
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:iconratchetjak:
RatchetJak Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2013
:)
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:iconjakkrobbit:
JakkRobbit Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2013  Student General Artist
I make a gesture of the entire body, usually starting at the shoulders or the spine. I bet I'm the odd man out in this, but the head is normally the last thing I rough out. I used to make my heads way to big, and drawing the body first helped me fix that. Of course now, I sometimes make the heads too small, but that's an easy fix. I feel like an oddly shaped head on a decent body is easier to fix than an oddly shaped body with a decent head. Actually, this short video is a good example of how I draw most of my people. [link]

I draw a lot of gestures for studies (not as many nowadays, but I did them almost daily for about 2 years). That helped me a lot with drawing bodies.
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:iconratchetjak:
RatchetJak Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2013
Shoulders first huh? That's actually not a bad idea...
I'll try that. i do make the head too big most of the time and I really need to work on that. Thanks for the advice!
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:iconpix3m:
Pix3M Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2013   Digital Artist
I think I should throw this out there because my medium allows this kind of workflow. I slather colors around to get the basic shape of what I'm drawing, then I start adding more colors and eventually add outlines: [link]

You'll have to download a codec to view the video, but it's a crazy awesome codec if you ever make speedpaint videos and want to use a nice lossless codec.

I rarely draw anthro-esque dogs (prob third time, I drew MLP diamond dogs), but I felt I had a good enough understanding of the very basic shapes that makes up any body that I don't even need guidelines to draw. Heck, if you do take the time to watch that speedpaint video, you'll notice that I started introducing outlines only after I blocked in all of my shapes.

I think what is more important is not the method, but whether you have a slight understanding of the anatomy itself or not. Whatever guidelines you learned from how-to-draw books aren't that useful unless you understand the very forms they're based off of to begin with. All I know is that guidelines are usually there to help you avoid mistakes. Luckily since I work with pixels, any mistake I make is a quick fix. =)
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:iconratchetjak:
RatchetJak Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2013
I get what you are saying. :nod:
I'm still learning on anatomy so I'm sure I'll get the hang of the guidelines at some point.
And yeah, I don't work with pixels ^^;
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:iconwondervince:
WonderVince Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2013
Hi there :)
I'll try my best to give you good advice. This is how I started 2 years ago. I used to draw everything i saw even though it was horrible. I kept going so I narrowed my drawings to bodies and it was just awful at first. But I kept practicing, all I can say is use references like real people around you or use your environment. Just draw whatever you see. Even though you will have trouble in the beginning just keep on practicing it will pay off in the long run. And they're are a lot of tutorials out there in the internet world and on DA. Here is one tutorial I found on body :) I hope I helped out. Just keep practicing and never give up :D
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:iconratchetjak:
RatchetJak Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2013
Thank you very much for your advice. I'll definitely try drawing more from my surroundings. :)
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:iconwondervince:
WonderVince Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2013
you're welcome :)
Never give up just keep on working hard :iconthumbsupplz:
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:iconratchetjak:
RatchetJak Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2013
Will do ^^
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:iconartsenseiofdreams:
Artsenseiofdreams Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
I usually draw a very simple boxy kid of person that I can set a dynamic view with, like if it was an overhead few, or view from the side. Then I try to some out the lines, and make an attempt to get everything into proportion, but that doesn't always go well right away. After I am content with the proportions, I start by drawing details like muscles or fat and hair. Even though I go over the muscles and they don't get seen it helps me to draw with the clothing over the body and helps with wrinkles and twists of the clothing. Then I add the rest of the features like face details and then I'm done!
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:iconratchetjak:
RatchetJak Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2013
That's an interesting process. ^^
Thanks for sharing. :D
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:iconartsenseiofdreams:
Artsenseiofdreams Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
no prob! hope it helped in some way! :D
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:iconratchetjak:
RatchetJak Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2013
^^
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:iconwaldemar1:
Waldemar1 Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2013
This is the basic stickfigure. You can see the head, torso, arms and legs. You can't do much with this one, except practising the proportions of these body parts.
With this version you can do something more. You get to decide the proportions of the arm- and leg-parts.Now this must be the most advanced stickfigure there is: I bet you never saw any kid draw it this way! Added are the width of shoulders and pelvis. In the next paragraph the importance of mastering this stickfigure will show.

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:iconratchetjak:
RatchetJak Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2013
Hmm I kind of got lost reading through your advice. Did you have a link to an example?
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:iconwaldemar1:
Waldemar1 Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2013
This is the basic stickfigure. You can see the head, torso, arms and legs. You can't do much with this one, except practising the proportions of these body parts.
With this version you can do something more. You get to decide the proportions of the arm- and leg-parts.Now this must be the most advanced stickfigure there is: I bet you never saw any kid draw it this way! Added are the width of shoulders and pelvis. In the next paragraph the importance of mastering this stickfigure will show.


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:iconglori305:
Glori305 Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2013
Did you learn how to draw bodies from a how-to-draw-manga book? Because it sure sounds like it.

Look at real person, draw real person, look at drawing, figure out what you did wrong. Look at person, draw real person, keep in mind where you made mistakes last time, and try to correct them. Repeat.

By real person, I do not mean photograph. Draw your friend, your parents, your brothers your sisters, people on the street and anywhere else.

One of the things you need to do to translate the image from your imagination to paper is you are putting a 3D object from your imagination on a flat surface, so you want to draw 3D people, otherwise, if you work from photo's you miss the flatening out process, the camera already did that for you.

You probably also have not been drawing live people, and as you draw real people, really moving, you will get a grasp of how they move, which will also help with wonky anatomy, sometimes it is not the proportions that are off (and the way you are drawing is GREAT to get proportions right before you flesh people in) but that you have them moving in such a way as to be unreasonable.

Action photos, dancers, runers, jumping, kicking etc are great for this, and the resource gallery is full of them.
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:iconratchetjak:
RatchetJak Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2013
Yeah, I originally learned how to draw bodies from a how to draw book. I'm aware that they aren't the best way to start out drawing but I was a kid lol

And yeah, I'll try drawing more from life. Thanks for the advice. :)
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:iconglori305:
Glori305 Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2013
As I said, the line/box method is good for getting proportion right, but does nothing to teach you movement.
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:iconratchetjak:
RatchetJak Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2013
Yeah well when I go to drawing more static poses, I'll try to find a method ^^
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:iconspyropablo:
spyropablo Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
first i start with the feet i get reference from them for the proportions.Then i start with legs,body and when all the body is ok i make the head and the face and then i shade :D
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