Art Lessons: Learn How to Draw People

When learning how to draw people, this diagram of a human skeleton is a very useful basic structure. Use it for any type of figure drawing, whether from observation or imagination.

Start by visualising where this skeletal structure is positioned in the person you are going to draw.

Sketch the skeleton stick man very lightly, as a guide. Check the relative sizes and positions of each part of the body and adjust your drawn guidelines to be as accurate as possible.

Then flesh it out using light oval shapes to represent the body.

Finally add the clothes or costume and the details. Because the shape of the clothes depends on the form of the body underneath - which in turn depends upon the position of the skeleton - you will finish up with a much more realistic drawing by understanding and using these "How to draw people" guidelines:

The Proportions of a Human Figure

figure drawing, proportions, stick man

Use the length of the head as a measuring unit.

An average person's height is 7 or 8 times the length of their head. (Marked by the short dotted lines)

The skull is egg shaped. The dotted lines show the middle of the face and the eye line (half way down the skull).

The spine (including the neck) is the only flexible part of the skeleton diagram.

All the straight lines represent bones. When drawing figures in different positions, keep the shoulder and hip bones as straight lines (they don't bend where they meet the spine.)

The joints (elbows, knees, shoulders and hips) are shown by black dots.

Elbows come just above the waist

Wrists come below the hips

Hands are as big as a face

Feet are as long as a head


Anything that is pointing towards you will look shorter - like the foot on the right.

How to Draw Superheroes:

If you are drawing a comic book character - a superhero can be 9 times the height of his or her head! A male super hero's shoulders are often broader and his hips narrower than usual - but the other proportions tend to stay the same.

Next: Find out How to Draw People: Faces

Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.