How to Draw People

You can effortlessly learn how to draw people when you follow the drawing lessons included in this section. These free art lessons will teach you the basic proportions, balance and movement of the figure, study of figure drawing, and many more. By watching our videos with drawing tutorials you will find that drawing people is not as extremely difficult and challenging as you probably believed, and in a matter of a few classes, you will feel as a real artist. Learning to draw the human figure, will allow you to use it as a basis for portraiture, illustrations, comics, cartoons, or even figure painting.


>>> VIDEO with practical explanation available HERE very soon <<<


When you learn to draw people, it does not matter if on your first attempts you could not achieve the result you were expecting. We ALL go through the same stage. The important thing is to continue your practice, without being too critical with yourself. To learn figure drawing requires studying fundamentals, since a poor drawing comes from inaccurate knowledge, lack of observation and practice.  From now on, start at getting new interest in observing persons; because an excellent way of learning to draw people is at observing them in different public places, like parks or even better at the beach. In these places, people gather together, usually not wearing a lot of clothes –especially in summer-; they feel relaxed, they play, run or talk with family or friends. Pay attention at what they do, how they move, what expressions they have on their faces; and particularly at the movement of their bodies (Now, be careful at glancing people in this way: do not exaggerate your observation or you could run the risk of being misinterpreted!…) Take with you some paper and pencils and start drawing pencil sketches. An excellent method to get your practice!


To facilitate how to draw people, we need to simplify the human figure in basic geometric shapes. This is why for centuries in art we use lay figures -with their easy and geometric contours- as dummies of the human body to represent the position and movement of people we want to draw.


Let's begin to learn how to draw people with this step by step female figure drawing:

1st. Stage: You just need paper, HB and 2B pencil and an eraser.
Use your pencil HB for these early stages. To simplify our work, we start with a basic structure for the body by simply drawing geometric figures, as if we repeated the forms of the lay figure: For example, as shown in the picture on this page, we used an oval for the head, a cylinder for the neck, an oval or rectangle for the torso, for waist a half oval. Another oval or a rectangle (or even if you want, you can draw a trapezoid) to the hip area. Half ovals for the joints of the thighs to the hip. Two rectangles or cylinders for the thighs and two half ovals for the knees. Another two narrower rectangles or cylinders for the calves, two small circles for the ankles and two triangles (or trapezoids) for feet. Always remember from the beginning of your drawings: draw your lines lightly, watch your pencil pressure. This allows you to erase what you do not need or correct any errors.

Note that we have divided the figure in 7 ½ heads from the crown to the base of the foot. So we take the height of the head (from chin to crown) as a basic measure we carry along the body to have the proper ratio. This measure is usually taken to draw the female or male human figure, something you'll see more detailed in the video drawing tutorials.
You may find it strange to note that I've drawn several parts of this figure as being "transparent", this is a drawing technique that is used only at the beginning of the work and lets you pinpoint those parts you cannot see because of the body position or perspective. Draw three equidistant horizontal lines near the area of legs and feet. Two of them, are located under each foot; they represent steps. Copy this sketch:

Drawing tip: it is highly recommended in the early stages, to draw objects as transparent, or as if you saw them with "x-rays". So you can sketch each part with the right form and proportion, especially that one that you cannot see by the position of the object.


2nd. Stage: We erase the "transparent” lines. We sketch facial features: a line slightly tilted to the right in the middle of the oval of the head marks the position of the eyes. In the middle of this line intersects another: is the nose line. Below is another smaller line that marks the position of the lips. Added three new lines a little below the previous three horizontal, they represent the thickness of the steps.



3rd. Stage: We erase all lines not needed anymore, "cleaning" the figure. We define the torso to include the breasts and give shape to the fingers. Draw face features, eyes, nose and mouth. We also give the hair shape.



4th. Stage: Include all the details, "dress" the figure with its clothes and shoes. Draw the toes, the nails on fingers and toes. Now, use your pencil 2B when start shading to give soundness and third dimension to our figure. This drawing has a light source from the right, so shadows are sharper left of the figure. We check all areas if they are done, and voilà, we finished our female figure drawing!

Drawing tip: When you start your figure drawing, it is not essential to include all the geometric shapes that are in this exercise. You may want to sketch only the most important, such as those representing the head, torso, hips, arms, legs and feet. When developing practice, you will draw a simpler preliminary structure.


“I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people”
Vincent Van Gogh


Please, for more drawing people lessons click on these following links with video tutorials:

  • How to draw faces 
  • How to draw eyes 
  • How to draw hands 
  • Pencil drawing of a skull